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Author Topic: How often do you write?  (Read 843 times)

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Offline ReaganTopic starter

How often do you write?
« on: August 31, 2011, 05:43:48 PM »
By this I mean, how often do you sit down and physically put pen to paper for more than a memo or a shopping list?

Unless you're a student writing miles of notes per lecture, when do you sit and physically write for any length of time?  To what degree has modern technology replaced pen and paper and how does that bode for the future?  It's alleged that one in ten children under 16 in the UK has never physically written and posted a personal letter.  Email, texts and facebook have replaced personal correspondence almost completely.  Is that simply the price of progress, something to be applauded?  How much validity does the art of handwriting even have in the modern western world today?

I ask this because today I sat down and wrote a long letter to an old friend.  We always kept in touch by post as children and I wanted her to have a pretty envelope land on her doormat full of love and laughter.  What I found however is that my handwriting is not as neat as it once was.  I only really write in order to jot down notes and lists and this I do sloppily.  The act of writing felt laborious and unnatural for the first time in my life.  It suddenly occurred to me that I hardly ever write at all now.

Anyway, I'd be interested to know the thoughts of people here.

If I have posted this topic in the wrong subforum, please feel free to move this elsewhere.

Offline meikle

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2011, 06:37:04 PM »
I'm 22 years old and it's only in the last couple of years that my handwriting has become consistent.  When I was younger, it was borderline illegible.  When I occasionally stumble onto things from middle school, I can't read my handwriting at all.

When I was younger and teachers would tell my parents that my handwriting was so bad, my dad would usually say something like, "She's going to get out of school and never have to write by hand again.  I'm not worried about it."

The girl I dated in high school was an unstable person and wound up spending a lot of time in a ... I don't know, not a hospital, but an in-patient care kind of thing.  We wrote back and forth a lot during that time, and that's probably the last time I wrote anything on paper for someone other than myself to read.

I'm not worried about it.  If paper becomes obsolete, then it becomes obsolete.

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 07:16:54 PM »
Being a teacher, I write much more at work than in my personal life.  I write on the board, make notes, write passes, fill out forms, and hand write out classroom notes before committing them to public view.  My handwriting is actually pretty rusty after summer breaks.  ::)

Offline Xanatos

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 07:38:41 PM »
I write on my word processor almost exclusively. I do take a lot of hand written notes for my stories and such, but its done quickly and very messy. I do it, though, because I have to get my ideas down quick or my never ceasing brain will just move on and forget what I was writing about.

The way I see hand writing, is that it is a dying breed. The postal service is dying a slow death thanks to email, cell phones, face book, and the like. Without a post office, there will definitely be no more sending letters to people. Who knows if it will completely die, but why hand write when you can text? Personally I loathe and abhor cell phones, but that is a severely minority opinion in the U.S., SEVERELY, minority.

People want speed, convenience, instant gratification, speed, more convenience, and yet more instant gratification. Typing on a key pad or key board is a hundred times faster than hand writing. I don't think its possible to write faster than a good or even average typist can type. I use only two fingers to type and I can go freaking fast when on a roll; I make quite the racket as I hammer my keyboard. Imagine a person who is really good with ten fingers.

With the internet and its ability to store data, its becoming highly attractive for storing information digitally instead of physically. So the loss of hand writing isn't just for convenience, its for a practical reason (although not by much, since information theft and loss is so rampant over the internet).

Unfortunately like good English (grammar, etc), hand writing is a thing of the past. Only "old fashioned" people, like me, really even care anymore (I'm only 26, but the English language fascinates me, as an aspiring author). I know that's a broad sweep, but I believe it to be true. I think its well known, unless more people do it than I think.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2011, 07:43:07 PM »
I like writing, but most things I write, I need to present in electronic format sooner or later. Writing them on paper first is a waste of time if I need to sit down and type them anyway, especially since editing an electronic document is easier.
So, I don't write often, but I never was much interested in calligraphic writing, so this probably improves the look of my writing ;D!

Offline Saerrael

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Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 07:44:26 PM »
I'm 32. The only time I write something by hand would be when the PC is unavailable and I'm struck by inspiration.
I can't really write by hand due to my hand stiffening up very quickly (it doesn't happen when I draw, no). I have a form of arthritis. I'm very glad I'm not forced in any manner to write by hand any longer.

Offline Martee

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2011, 09:44:22 PM »
I love hand writing things. I write stuff out by hand all the time, at home and at work. I don't know why - maybe because I did a lot of letter-writing to long-distance friends when I was younger? I'm not so terribly old that technology is foreign to me (I'm 34), and I'm a touch-typist. I think I average around 55 words per minute when I'm not doing complicated transcription, which is a pretty decent speed. Technology isn't a factor, really. I just enjoy how personal a hand-written note is.

I also have a few distinct hand-writing styles I use, depending on what it is I'm writing, and three completely different signatures. Sometimes that gets me funny looks when I'm signing financial or legal documents. "No, wait, wrong signature, let me re-do that!"

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Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 10:23:54 PM »
I confess I do not write by hand as with the same frequency as I once did.  It saddens me as I had older female relatives that taught me a fine, proper penmanship from the days when teachers were given exams for their writing - and learning proper handwriting was a class, something expected.  I still have quite the grace in my signature at least to the point that duplicating it would be extremely difficult - or so I am told! :D  I once wrote letters weekly by hand on stationary, or on an ancient typewriter my father purchased for me as amusement for him.  The best gift my maternal grandmother ever gave me was an old fountain pen.  I'd asked for a computer, like all the other kids at school.  What did I get? An ancient typewriter I could hardly lift.  But I did learn appreciation for modern things as a result ... that's for certain.  XD

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Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 10:44:45 PM »
I spend at least an hour a day writing by hand.  It's only in the last few years that I've used the computer for anything more than my job but it's also in the last few years that I've been writing as an author.  Putting pen to paper is a tactile experience that brings me closer to what I write and literally puts me in touch with my stories. 

Offline Utopia

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2011, 04:31:47 AM »
I like writing, but most things I write, I need to present in electronic format sooner or later. Writing them on paper first is a waste of time if I need to sit down and type them anyway, especially since editing an electronic document is easier.
So, I don't write often, but I never was much interested in calligraphic writing, so this probably improves the look of my writing ;D!

That would probably make one of my two cents. Another half is that it is a lot easier to search electronic notes than handwritten ones - type in a query and everything more or less relevant pops up. That is a life-saver if you know that somewhere in those six 500 page books you've read in the first semester, there were one or two paragraphs on a particular subject, but you have no idea where. With my electronic excerpts, it takes me about a minute to find my notes on it, the book and the chapter. If I am lucky, I am even going to find a quote that I need, along with the proper citation. If I had to browse all of those excerpts by hand... whew.

That doesn't stop me from being the mad girl who always has pen and paper at the ready when the professor strolls in, however. I just feel that sitting there with a laptop or a notepad or whatever is a bit rude. I write horribly fast, fast enough to keep up with my rapidly fast talking lecturers, both by hand and by keyboard and while I sometimes can't even read what I have written, I get compliments on my handwriting ever so often. ("It's so beautiful!" - "Can you read it? I can't." - "...me either.")
If I am alone and taking notes on something, I am going to take them electronically. Sitting in a lecture or a seminar, however, I still prefer to write things down by hand, even though that means that as soon as I start learning for the exam, I'll write an electronic excerpt of my handwritten notes and then learn with that electronic excerpt.

The last half of my two cents? I'd say that about 80% of my poems are written by hand and then later transferred to my laptop. Those poems are written whenever inspiration strikes me and I seldom have my laptop with me on those occasions, however it is a lot easier to keep track of them all by just putting all of them in a folder on my desktop and be done with it.

Offline Lilias

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2011, 05:55:27 AM »
By this I mean, how often do you sit down and physically put pen to paper for more than a memo or a shopping list?

Hardly ever, but even tiny bits of handwriting are enough for me to maintain my familiarity, because I get a lot of them. Memos and shopping lists, but also lots of forms to fill in and envelopes to address. Such practice, besides, keeps my handwriting neat and legible (in a rather childish, unconnected-characters kind of way).

When I was a student, I did write miles of notes, and sometimes they were near-illegible scrawls that I could decipher only by context and by having been there. If I had to make do with someone else's notes, I was screwed like that. The most important part of my revising for exams was copying out my notes.

For the kind of writing I do now (roleplaying, blogging, long pieces), typing is the only efficient way. I can do 70-80 wpm, with both hands sharing the effort, and invisible corrections. Can't really beat it.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 06:39:15 AM »
That would probably make one of my two cents. Another half is that it is a lot easier to search electronic notes than handwritten ones - type in a query and everything more or less relevant pops up. That is a life-saver if you know that somewhere in those six 500 page books you've read in the first semester, there were one or two paragraphs on a particular subject, but you have no idea where. With my electronic excerpts, it takes me about a minute to find my notes on it, the book and the chapter. If I am lucky, I am even going to find a quote that I need, along with the proper citation. If I had to browse all of those excerpts by hand... whew.
You can add that one for me, too ;D! Not nearly as important in my book, I'm pretty good at searching a text manually if need be, due to lots of practice with non-electronic texts. It's still a nice perk, though :P.

Offline ReaganTopic starter

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2011, 06:41:15 AM »
When I was a student (I'm 32) I did have a wordprocessor but not a computer.  There was no point having a computer because none of the student accommodation had internet access.  The campus had a net cafe, as did the local library and I made do with one or the other.  I used to type up my handwritten lecture notes and for me, typing them up was an act of revision in itself so I never found it to be a waste of time.  Even when I was at uni in 1998 assignments had to be wordprocessed.  This actually annoyed me at the time because I have excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation.  I knew for a fact that having the checks available in wordprocessing meant that I completely lost that advantage and it seemed unfair.  One fellow student asked me once how to spell 'our' and I nearly wept.

I've decided that I want to write more often and get my handwriting back to how it used to be years ago; neat and precise.  So I've bought a journal and a fountain pen and I'm going to make more of an effort.  I don't want the skill to become lost to me.

I wonder though, whether my nephews and niece will even retain the skill until they finish their education.  I suppose that progress marches on but it will be a sad day when we all require keyboards in order to communicate.  Writing gives you an independence from technology that I think is important.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2011, 06:58:06 AM »
I write by hand almost every other day, being one of those teacher-types, but I do most of my handwriting at home more so than at work.  I do a lot of tabletop gaming and run quite a few games.  I prefer to write all of my ideas and gaming sessions down in a notebook or on loose paper rather than at the computer.  I'm an old-school DM like that.

Offline Slaven

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 09:20:12 AM »
I'm 21 and my handwriting has always been horrible. 7th grade rolled around and hand writing became a thing of the past. From then on, it was all about typed essays. Only in my math classes did I ever have to write from that time on and now I only write when filling out paper forms..My handwriting has suffered horribly for it. :P

Offline Kendra

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Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2011, 09:50:53 AM »
I've always written by hand and love it. I still write letters and adore receiving them. Whenever my nephews or nieces go on holiday I insist they send me a postcard. I love using my computer for my rp's and emails and IMs but when I am writing poetry I use my notepad and when I'm attempting to write my 'novel' I use longhand as well in my large A4 journal.

I don't think I will ever change, unless the world changes first and makes paper obsolete - they so better not  ::)
I've always been good at handwriting, when I was little I used to actually willingly practice after we were taught joined up writing at school. I thought I was all grown up and wanted to perfect it.

Unfortunately when I'm writing, I write so fast because my brain is just spilling out the plot bunny juice and it begins to look like a doctors scrawl instead of anything legible. Thankfully my letters are neat though. I hope it doesn't go out of fashion, I find it very relaxing at times.


Offline Chris Brady

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2011, 12:44:18 PM »
Once a day, every day, at the bare minimum.  Can't think of a day in which I don't want to write.

Offline Malefique

Re: How often do you write?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2011, 06:23:32 PM »
I keep a notebook in every room and I'm always jotting ideas for stories and roleplays down.  I have an electronic notebook, but by the time I've switched it on and booted it up, I've lost the idea I wanted to write down.  I also create my own crochet patterns, so I need to write those down as I work and only pen and paper will do.  And if I come across an author or a film recommended by someone online whose judgement I trust I write those down too.  My notebooks are all special and pretty, and I keep nice quality pens with them, because when I do write by hand I like it to look good.  And then I go and spoil it all by transferring it all into electronic format.  But the fact is major writing is impossible for me with arthritis in my hands unless I use a keyboard.  And my son who has motor ataxia, finds his hands can't use a pen as quickly as he can think, but on a keyboard his fingers can keep pace with his brain.  So I'm on both sides here - electronic for quantity and ease, handwriting for convenience and beauty.