Long Hand V.S. Typed: Author John Irving Shares Some Insight

In his interview with author John Irving (embedded above), which took place on the November 3rd episode of “The Late Show” that aired earlier this week, host Stephen Colbert raised a very interesting question and potential topic for discussion, all the while still retaining the lighthearted and humorous tone that both he and show have become known for. To be more specific, Colbert brings up how Irving is known for writing his novels in long hand, avoiding typewriters and computers at all cost. He explains to Colbert that he choose to write by hand because it is significantly slower paced then typing, which he claims is a more conducive to his writing style. Furthermore, Irving says that due to the slow and systematic pace that writing by hand forces him to work at, he is able to write more comfortably and with fewer mistakes.

My question is this: While the reasons put forth by John Irving, an extremely successful novelist, are interesting in their own right, what are some other benefits of writing by hand? And while we’re at it, what are the benefits of typing? Which do you prefer and why?

With regards to typing, I’m curious to know reasons other then the obvious ones (such as “you can save”, “easy to distribute”, etc.). I want you to think from the perspective of a writer, not just a computer user.


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