John Naughton at Guardian asked recently: Has Microsoft Word affected the way we work?
“—has word processing changed the way we write? There have been lots of inconclusive or unconvincing studies of how the technology has affected, say, the quality of student essays – how it facilitates plagiarism. The most interesting academic study I looked at found that writers using computers “spent more time on a first draft and less on finalising a text, pursued a more fragmentary writing process, tended to revise more extensively at the beginning of the writing process, attended more to lower linguistic levels [letter, word] and formal properties of the text, and did not normally undertake any systematic revision of their work before finishing”.
My hunch is that using a word processor makes writing more like sculpting in clay. Because it’s so easy to revise, one begins by hacking out a rough draft which is then iteratively reshaped – cutting bits out here, adding bits there, gradually licking the thing into some kind of shape.
I like Word, make no mistake, it Is Very convenient—but a keyboard is less sensory for me than the pen scribbling on paper. Besides, I like using various colored pens, and notebooks of different sizes, with papers of different texture. Besides, it is easier to unhook myself from the internet, and focus on writing, if a notebook and pen is all I’m carrying.
Recently I started writing pen and paper letters to writer-friends, and that is a whole different ballgame– I like it, and have stuck to it for a few months now.
I don’t know if Word has influenced my writing in any way– I continue to write by hand almost everyday–but I’m aware I’m in the minority. I use Word for my work writing and for revising my fiction, and that is all there is to it.
Has any of you written on typewriters? Do you write with pen and paper? How is it different from writing on Word? Has Microsoft Word affected Your writing?