Writing v typing

Writing by hand and typing are two quite different skills. Apart from the mechanical differences, there are also differences in the way you compose and construct the text.

When writing by hand, you have to think about what you’re going to write before putting pen to paper. If you make a lot of mistakes and/or want to move parts of you text around, you have to start again. You often need to make several drafts before producing your finished masterpiece.

When typing on a computer you can start anywhere, correct mistakes easily, rearrange your text to your heart’s content, and run spell checks and grammar checks. Quite a lot of people also print their texts out then check them, make corrects, print, correct, print, ad infinitum.

I used to write letters – on paper with a pen – to family and friends regularly. Since 1994, when I starting using email and got my first computer, writing letters by hand has been something I very rarely do. These days I do almost all my writing on a computer, apart from the odd note here and there and doodles.

So my question for you is, are texts written by hand different from those typed on a computer?

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9 Responses to Writing v typing

  1. Sam says:

    They seem to have more of a prestigious feeling about it. Receiving a letter written by hand is a big event, an emotional one, an important one. But an email, or typed letter, that’s just something that’s casual, and is an everyday experience.

    I don’t write letters by hand anymore, but on occassion, I do leave something of a hand-written note for a close friend when it’s something important, or simply something to be remembered for a long time to come.

  2. Armen says:

    When I write by hand, my ideas are not always clear to the reader. When typing, I am able to see how each sentence fits on the paper and can proceed accordingly. When having to write letters by hand, I must carefully plan out what I am to say before attempting to put it down. I am not used to communicating by hand, but I feel that it is a special way of communicating. Sending letters by mail instills a special feeling to the writer and the receiver. I greatly enjoy getting a letter or card ever so often instead of a ton of junk mail.

  3. Weili says:

    I don’t believe I’ve really written anything besides short notes ever since middle school, which was about 14 years ago. My handwriting, as a result, as suffered. Not just is my handwriting less… “attractive” than before, but I also sometimes find myself having to scratch things out or erase them.

    Speaking of spell check and grammar check, some of my teacher friends are telling me that their students, when writing, often make spelling and grammar mistakes, although their typed papers are just fine. Reliance on spell and grammar checks may not necessarily be a good thing afterall. Also, I noticed that while my Chinese READING skill has increased, my WRITING skill has decreased significantly thanks to Pinyin input method ;)

  4. TJ says:

    I agree with Sam. Writing by hand indeed has its own magic. I might “type” poems so that I can correct any mistakes, but my great joy comes when I write it by hand because I do that ONLY when sudden rush of words invaded my mind and I’m ready to write. My hand writing is said to be bad and unreadable but still I do have the joy when I write (either English or Arabic) and from time to time I try to do some simple caligraphy with Arabic. It is a joy for the eyes.
    However, for important things or important notes I tend to use typing because I’m not really ready to take any criticism about my handwriting! They expect me to do my best with a fast hand!! that can’t be! Maybe this is the other beautiful part of writing, it makes your mind slow down the pace and try to calm down as much as possible to … simply enjoy your life!

  5. Thomas Maska says:

    When I go to write a part of a story or a poem I cannot do it by hand. The motorskills involved in writing with a pen are a hindrance to my train of thought. Typing is just faster for me and takes less thought. All the time I can lose myself in whatever I am typing (even to the point where I proof read my work and think ‘did I write that?’) I will agree with Weili in that too often the younger generations rely too heavily upon the computer to do their thinking for them, and that can be more crippling than one thinks. The computer won’t correct an incorrect usage of one of the many “there”s (there/their/they’re). In order to flow better by hand I have created a few writing systems which flow rather well, my favorite being a variation on Ling’amon’ (which has a heavier Arabic influence). Emglish is just too broken up for me to write it by hand and keep my train of thought. (The computer also will not correct any of the typos [probably] seen above) : D

  6. Tirobir says:

    One interesting thing is that I can learn other languages quite well and my ability to grasp spelling, no matter how quirky is strong in both my native English and foreign languages. However, I have a mild but present dysgraphia and it affects me in writing and typing equally. People sometimes notice my typos when I IM and assume I have bad typing skills. However, when I hand write I erase at least twice in every line. So, for my part, my brain doesn’t see much difference.

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  9. New Zealand Coffee Lover says:

    you can get something to type Ge’ez for you off the internet, but to be able to write and read it fluently is quite a blessing (especially for foreigners, as there are limited free resources as abyssinia certainly isn’t like liechtenstein.)