Reversing Habits

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’.

10 thoughts on “Reversing Habits

  1. I have to tell you, the reason I type now more often than I write (and yes, I do still handwrite) is the speed. When a story is really flowing it just pours out of me, much faster than I can possibly write by hand. So typing is key.

    But brainstorming, that’s totally different. I need to handwrite then.

    Great post/blog…I will be reading more!

    • Thanks for posting on my blog dennis!

      I agree with you…my questions is whether maybe not only typing and writing are different ‘ways’ of writing, but whether they might also be changing our ways of thinking / expressing ourselves. As far as I can see, I think typing makes my writing style more immediate and ‘neat’. When I hand-write I think I am more articulate. Or is this just my writing style evolving over time!? Not sure!

  2. Hello Little Explorer. Writing is indeed changing. In South Asia and India, where mobile phones are in everyone’s pocket, ‘writing’ can also mean sending a short message. This has become so much a habit now that teachers find the sms ‘shorthand’ – if u cn rd lk dis – is finding it’s way into classroom writing. That’s not good, because language cannot be condensed into binary bits – it is perhaps the strongest expression of culture. Being somewhat older, I find that to collect my thoughts about some subject, if I want to write an article on it for example, I still prefer to do that with a pen and notebook, and then elaborate using the keyboard. Cheers, Rahul

    • Thanks for your contribution!

      Your comment on mobile phone language applies to Europe and many other parts of the world too for sure! But I think that is a slightly different issue to the one I was raising. Short messaging is a completely new language nowadays and I don’t think it can be considered a ‘form of writing’ even if, strictly speaking, it is. I think that maybe rather than a form of writing, it is a form of communication. Now that I think about it, I could probably write a long discussion on the difference between communicating and writing, if there’s any! However, the evolution of language is a very interesting topic and very relevant to our times. Will write more about it for sure!

  3. Hi luv!! Hey first of all thanks for coming to my site and showing your love… much appreciated my dear. Yea and umm secondly… I love this post. So true and and definitely something I’m going to experiment with myself now too. I’ve actually been thinking about starting a written journal just cause I feel like I shouldn’t share my every thoughts with the internet world ya know. Anywho, hope you’re having a wonderful weekend and thanks again 🙂

    • I completely agree with you on the point of ‘not sharing all of your thoughts with the internet world’. In fact, one of the reasons why I am not blogging as much as I would like to is that I impose a very strong ‘censorship’ on my own writings because I really do not want to publish anything private. I think a blog is a ‘window’ on the world both in a good and in a bad way – one should never forget about this.

  4. You do have a point there but like dennisfinocchiaro said
    when a story or a thought even comes to your mind and you dont want to forget it
    typing it seems faster more convenient and sometimes it becomes more natural then handwriteing which is sad

  5. I really like “writing” on paper for brain storming, putting random thoughts together! So I will agree in that way…but it just like a habit now to write on computer! Its faster in some ways.. but your losing something as well. Definitely agree though, Hand writing on paper is totally different than when on the computer… have to try writing in pen more often! nice post.

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