This is an experiment. An experiment is usually a way of testing something new.
Well, technically speaking, writing by hand is not at all something new. But the novelty is that I’m challinging my ever growing habit of writing only on my computer. Whenever I feel like writing, whether for academic, work or leisure reasons, I go and turn my computer on…and I type. Typing has become so ordinary and natural to me that sometimes I wonder how it feels to hold a simple, normal, traditional pen.
Once this habit of typing everything up used to happen after having prepared or previously worked on the text on paper, but with time I learnt to think and type directly on the computer. I realised this was speeding up my work a great deal and it had the immediate advantage of allowing me to copy, paste, cut and move chunks of text neatly and quickly.
This trend is affecting everyone, not just me, and it is somewhat worrying.
Are we forgetting how to write by hand?
I wonder if this might not just be the case of simple laziness. But I doubt so: obviously we have now gone past the step of using the computer as a tool to improve the quality of our work. Now our work requires a computer, or, worse, we require a computer in order to work. Of many activities that really depend on technology, writing should not really require a computer. Maybe it is our frame of mind that has changed: we think differently when we are typing and we write differently on the computer.
Good or bad? Not sure. Surely, I can tell you …it feels good to actually be holding a pen, striking a line on text I want to remove and see the ink covering the page. I also love the feeling of smooth paper under the tip of my pen. Oh, I also love the smell of paper. Maybe writing on paper feels more real and poetical. But writing on the computer gives me a strange feeling of clarity: as if the visual clarity of the text was equal to its clarity in my mind…
So my experiment was successful: I wrote this text entirely by hand before typing it! The picture above is a proof of it! I might take this experiment as the start to set a ‘reverse-habit’.