Monday, December 12, 2011

Can Pen/Paper and Keyboard/Technology Coexist?

In my opinion, yes. There seems to be a slight divide of pen users who seem to prefer writing in longhand but there are others who just as prefer to type it all out on a computer. Perhaps it's the period in their lives when they learned to write or type which makes them prefer one over the other but I see the advantages in both.

In my elementary and middle school days almost everything was hand written. At the time I thought it was normal to have to write everything all out. My handwriting was legible but it got sloppy when I took notes. It wasn't the best but wasn't the worst. I also preferred pencil at the time because I made many mistakes and it looked neater than when I wrote in pen.

Between the end of middle school and high school, teachers began to require that we type up our essays or assignments instead of having them turned in handwritten. This transitioned into me learning to type since pretty much all the assignments had to be turned in typed and printed. Luckily I grew up using a computer in my home so I eventually learned to type fairly quick.

However, because of the heavy reliance on computers in my later years including college (I majored in Interactive Media and Web Development) that I realized my handwriting suffered and so did my spelling. Nevertheless, I wrote papers on the computer but took notes usually with a pen and paper. Occasionally, I would type up my notes if the professors allowed it but usually stuck with a simple pen and notebook for portability and easy referencing.

Now there are netbooks (smaller version of laptops), tablets, e-readers, and other small mobile devices that many people use. However, it is still an inconvenience to have to keep it charged and carrying it around when a pencil and small notepad can be lighter and does not require any charging. Maybe one day when technology improves people will carry around small tablets with the choice of typing or handwriting notes with a stylus.

My true paper and pen paraphernalia began the summer right after graduating college. I think what intrigued me is the ability to write/take notes/draw anywhere with a pen and paper whereas taking my laptop was not as convenient. During high school and college I was fond of drawing/manga (although I only took one art class in high school and oddly enough hardly ever doodled in my notes) and wanted to make more time to explore creatively.

Now and days I've been relying heavily on pen/paper and computers fairly equally. Especially when it comes to my web comics. (You knew I was going to bring up the topic of web comics, didn't you?) Who said you only had to use one or the other? These days I write any ideas of inspiration with a pen and paper. Fleshing out the ideas if possible and let it build or incubate.

Then every so often, maybe weekly/monthly(whenever I have time) I type it all up on the computer to organize and format. This method may be used by more than just me. However, now that I realize how essential both are in my life, I understand that it would not be as easy just using one or the other. By coming from both worlds, handwritten and keyboarding, I learn that they can coexist together. This is only possible if you let them both work for you rather than against you.

How many of you prefer just pen/paper? How about just typing on a computer? Or are any of you like me, where you use both methods? What are your opinions about the divide?

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