Monday, March 12, 2012

The Computer As A Tool?

For most writers, the computer is an excellent aid to spontaneity. Words can flow more easily on a computer as you type without constraints. The knowledge that you can easily delete quiets the internal critic and frees us to write whatever may come. You can follow the thread of your thought without pause.

However, when it is time to reread your writing, it's time to step away from the computer. The computer isn't the same as the printed page. On the computer, it's too easy to overlook problems. Most writers print out hard copies of their drafts and go over them with pen in hand, taking notes and making changes. It allows them to read carefully, jumping back or skipping ahead to get a better sense of the story pacing, noting weak word choices or clunky sentences. Reading aloud or using a critique partner are other techniques that are helpful.

Computers are great tools, but they can't do everything. The finishing touches still remain within the realm of pen and paper. I use it to play with sentences and insert words to ideas I've copied down in a notebook. It's an idea notebook that I play in. Then, I transfer it to my computer. How do you use your computer?

"The difference between the right word and the almost right the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."~~~Mark Twain

"If you haven't surprised yourself, you haven't written."~~~Eudora Welty

adapted from: "Writing Fiction" by Janet Burroway


  1. "If you haven't surprised yourself, you haven't written."

    Oooh, love that quote! And it can apply to so many things.

  2. Rettakat: Yes, that quote tickled my brain with ideas and it can apply to so many different things.

    Stay yuned for more!

  3. I write on the computer in the mornings, then print out. I go over what I wrote in the evening, making notes & corrections. In the morning I correct / revise off of that. It helps get me started. And, I usually print out a work before i publish. For the same reason you said.

  4. M Pax: It sounds like you've got your own system down. That's great! Everyone has their own way of getting it done and that's what counts.