The Writing Duel: A Poem and Question

The pen in the writing duel poem

The ballpoint pen, up close and personal in a writing duel. Photo Source: By Samsara at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Which do you prefer to use when you write, the pen and paper or the keyboard? Do you mainly type out your thoughts or do you use pen and paper instead? I use both but do mainly use the computer keyboard. I find it so much faster to type than to handwrite words! Here is a poem that came from my musings:

The Writing Duel

Poor pen
Laying in the corner, hovering over
Paper and hoping for a hand to
Come its way.

Spotlight is on the keyboard,
Clicking sounds heard from the keys,
As the fingers play with letters.

Poor pen
Saunters over to the desk and
Tips its blue ink onto the white keyboard –
A hush falls over the room.

As a hand finally reaches for the pen,
Poor pen enjoys its moment in the
Spotlight.

Let round two of the writing duel begin.

 

©2014 Christy Birmingham

Who wins the writing duel in your house? Is it a pen and paper or a keyboard?

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108 thoughts on “The Writing Duel: A Poem and Question

  1. Karen

    Most of my writing is done via keyboard as well, Christy. Family and friends got used to my suddenly tearing out my little black book and a pen out of my bag, starting to write frantically – allegedly with a dreamy expression on my face.
    We can never be sure when inspiration strikes next. 😀

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Karen, Yes I know what you mean about that moment when we get an idea and just have to jot it down as we fear forgetting it! I’m glad your family and friends are used to it now 🙂

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  2. Clanmother

    I’ve started to use Dragon voice recognition to avoid problems with my wrists. It is not as easy as I thought it would be! It speaks to forging new pathways in our brain!

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  3. Cynthia

    I drifted to mostly keyboard but I’m now trying to get back into grabbing pen and paper and walking away from the computer. Great imagery in the poem. 😉

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  4. Billybuc

    Keyboard for sure, which is a complete reversal from twenty years ago…now I can’t imagine writing longhand. 🙂 It’s raining here, Christy….as long as it doesn’t stay around too long, it’s kind of nice.

    have a great afternoon

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  5. rollyachabotbooks

    Hi Christy… thanks for the though provoking poem you have put together. It is funny years ago a pen and paper were the norm. Many hours were spent in recording thoughts into journals. Many a letter sent the old fashioned way my mail. Each word carefully crafted for the reader.
    Sadly the handwriting which was once perfectly executed with swirls have been replaced with the keyboard that follows me no matter where I roam. From home to mountaintop, to river and to the far off hidden places. No matter where a device of some kind is attached or close at hand.
    Interesting you should write of this as just this morning I was cleaning out my desk drawer, 11 treasured pens and 7 ever-sharp pencils sit in a special old coffee cup reminding me of days gone by… thanks for the memories.

    Hugs from Alberta

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Rolly, What a coincidence that just that morning you had cleaned out your drawer and found twins of the “poor pen” I wrote about in the poem. Did you use any of the pencils?

      It’s amazing isn’t it how we have grown accustomed to using our technologies to write or do other things in life? It works faster for many of us and speed is of the essence in today’s world, it seems. Ah yes, letter mail. I recall that hehe.

      Thank-you for your wonderful comment and taking time to read here today!

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  6. Janine Huldie

    Keyboard and my trusty old MacBook here always for sure. I do use my iPad at times as well, but the keyboard on my MacBook definitely gets a great work (just di for the last two hours here) daily 🙂

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  7. JunkChuck

    I do most prose first drafts longhand, then edit as I type them–except when I don’t. Perversely, I much prefer to write poetry on a keyboard because stresses, meter, and syllable counts are important to me even though I write almost exclusively in free verse and it’s easier to keep track and make sound-based adjustments on a screen.

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  8. Malcolm

    Nice poem Christy!! I tend to use the keyboard because I can type faster than I can handwrite. Also, it guarantees that I can read it at a later date and be able to actually read it! Learnt to touch type about 20yrs ago, and, when I get warmed up, average 65 wpm. Really handy when typing how I’m thinking!! 😀

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  9. Andy Lawson

    I wrote my first ebook using only pen and papers (and more papers). Though it could help me better flow down my thoughts from the mind to the hand, I found that over time, my literal writing’s speed can’t match the speed of thoughts, and my handwriting got messier. Now, I’m using keyboard to write. Still, too slow. LOL.

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  10. pictimilitude

    Round two. Blue ink. 😀
    Love your poem. I still use both: I like to journal at night (though not every night haha) and then type on the keyboard because it’s so much faster. 🙂

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  11. Jane Carroll

    Cute! I do most of my writing on the keyboard but sometimes…nothing beats a pen and paper…I do most of my journaling in longhand. I always seem to have a pen nearby…just in case! 😉

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  12. syl65

    I find myself at the keyboard more than before, like you said, it’s so much faster to type. I still keep the pen close for when I have some quiet time. Thanks Christy! 🙂

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  13. "A Curious Mind"

    It depends, sometimes I’m more comfortable one way than the other, depends on my mood.
    I use both keyboard, and pen/pencile & paper.. . 😉 ❤

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  14. irinadim

    Very clever poem, Christy. Pen and paper are the winners in my house. Mainly because my typing skills are very poor. So, my first draft is always written with a pen. Then I type it up, and I make some changes as I’m typing, then I print it out and make corrections with a pen, then I go back to the keyboard.

    Holding a pen or pencil in my hand has a special feeling, I feel my thoughts connected to that piece of paper in a physical and spiritual way. Actually, I wrote a very short poem about it.

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      1. irinadim

        No, not yet. I’s only a very short poem. One sentence, I think. I could post it and put the link to your post in my post. I’ve never done that before, I should finally learn how to do it. 🙂

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  15. sumowkowespotkania

    I have to figure out how to write my comments by hand and then post them on blogs : ). This is a virtual world with all its good and bad, I still use pen in my daily life combining it with keyboard. My father, 72, uses his fountain pen ( but only when he signs).

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  16. Valentine Logar

    I write mostly in a journal first. My pens and paper get much use. I have both fountain and ball.

    Poor pen indeed though, so many young people don’t even know how to write anymore.

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  17. Aquileana

    Hi Christy,
    I prefer to use the keyboard. without any doubt. It is easier and you always have the spelling checker and rely on the virtual copy paste option (unless you want to use scissors and glue!)…
    I liked your poem. The first stanza is truly eloquent!.
    Best wishes for your day,
    Aquileana 😛

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  18. Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB)

    I actually have this down as a potential blog topic at some point in the future 😉 I would much rather type than write by hand. It all started when I was a lefty in kindergarten and my teacher tried to (not to nicely) write with my other hand. I have really horrible handwriting, so I took to typing readily and never looked back. Plus I can type faster than I can write.

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  19. authormjlogan

    I can barely read my own grocery shopping list. Writing has always been difficult for me and over the years, my handwriting has morphed into some ugly concoction that looks more like a curse than actual letters. The keyboard wins the duel for me. I can type pretty fast and stare out the window while the actors perform on a stage that is my mind.

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  20. macjam47

    Clever poem! My desk is home to many unused poems.I don’t even use them to pay bills anymore, since I do all of that online, and I do my grocery list on my iPad!

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  21. Letizia

    What a sweet poem – love the image of the poor pen : ) I do most of my writing by pen and then use the typing up as the first editing process. Love hearing what you and the others do.

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  22. lscotthoughts

    I love this, Christy, so cute and clever and you have me smiling. I empathize with that poor pen because I, too, prefer the keyboard. I love to type, just love it and I’m pretty speedy, too (if I may say so) :). However, once in awhile, I’ll sit down in our living room, pen and journal in hand and I’ll write. I’m sure a hush falls over the room at that time, also! xo

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  23. D.G.Kaye

    Love this Christy. Poor pen. I just did a blog hop about my writing process and I talk about my need to write my books on paper, not on the keyboard. 🙂

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Ah, you are a handwriter for the first draft. Interesting, Deb! I bet you find it helps to be on the computer for the edits of later drafts of the same book. Thanks for sharing your process 🙂

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      1. D.G.Kaye

        Oh absolutely. Once first draft is written, the fun is over. That’s exactly where I am now, entering my newest book into the computer. It’s overwhelming! 🙂

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  24. simon7banks

    Prose – fiction and non-fiction – by the keyboard, definitely. It’s quicker and it’s easier to do all sorts of things like scrolling back, correcting or shifting some sentences from one position to another. Foe a long piece of text, having it on the computer right away enables endless corrections or additions. It’s cheaper too, once you’ve got the computer.

    Poetry – always by pen on paper first. Something about the computer screen generates the wrong mood. Then if I think what I’ve written is worth preserving, I transfer it to a poetry notebook (if it was first written somewhere else) and then to a computer file. This gives me a good opportunity to make minor changes.

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  25. Rajagopal

    Thought provoking lines…almost pointing sadly to relegation of pen and paper to
    sidelines by the march of technology. For all we know , the day may not not be far off when a kindred soul like christy will articulate similar wailing of the obsolescent computer key board against the backdrop of sophisticated sensors capable of straightaway translating human thinking on to a futuristic screen…

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  26. cav12

    Love the angst between pen and paper and succumbing to technology. I use both, find it easier to brainstorm and plan with pen and paper/exercise book then typing the story. 😀

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      1. Timothy Price

        Voice recognition in Apple’s latest iOS and OS X Mavericks is really excellent — no training like the the old Dragon Naturally Speaking, etc. The only drawback is that you have to connected to iCloud for dictation to work. That is often a problem out here in the sticks with our stone age Internet and below average cell coverage.

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        1. Timothy Price

          I remember some years ago helping my dad train Dragon. It was painful. I use the dictation on my iPhone quite often, and it’s surprisingly accurate, but produces some real howlers when it can’t quite understand my NM accent. My wife has gotten to the level that she dictates research papers using both her iPhone and Macbook Air.

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        2. Timothy Price

          For writers, some of the goofy things dictation produces are good savers. They are often as good as what auto-correct comes up with.

          When my wife is sending me notes, she speaks my name into the phone and it pulls my email address in. Often she has to say my name several times before the program gets it right. Very early the other morning, one of our parrots was saying “Tim”, “Tim”, “Tim” in my wife’s voice;)

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  27. kyrahalland

    Keyboard for writing, pen for revisions and edits. With pen, I get writer’s cramp and I can’t write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts, but for revising I need to have the work printed out on paper.

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  28. Sue Dreamwalker

    Love the duel Christy.. there is no duel fight in the Dreamwalker Camp.. LOL.. I write my poems by hand, in a journal and then retype up .. However often my posts are typed so the pen has to wait patiently in the draw..They were the days when we had to write everything in school with our fountain pens and blotters.. .. we had inkwells in our desk tops.. Woe was the day if you spilled ink on your copy books… 🙂 .. So you learnt to write neat and tidy and keep your fountain pen in good condition.. 🙂 I still love writing by hand.. 🙂

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hi Sue, Thanks for taking time to catch up with my posts and for taking me back to the history of the fountain pen too 🙂 Blotters, I would like to try one some day… I wonder if we can still find them anywhere?

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