In this age of technology, the process of writing has never been easier. Computers make drafting, formatting, and saving a snap. Typing is faster than writing by hand (and more legible in some cases too.) And when deadlines are looming, pounding out an essay can take minutes instead of hours. Yet I would make the claim that we don’t forget the trusty pencil-to-paper method of recording our thoughts and words.

Why?

[Writing by hand] allows me to record my ideas and thoughts without concern about organization. I can write with messy abandon, randomly and freely

Well, I have to admit, I’m a bit old school. I enjoy writing by hand, using a pen or pencil to scribble my notions on paper. It allows me to record my ideas and thoughts without concern about organization. I can write with messy abandon, randomly and freely. Sometimes I feel limited when I type on a computer because I feel that my thoughts must be organized and complete before I finalize them on paper. When writing with pencil (or pen) and paper I can make notes in the margins and then skip to another section of the blank page to quickly write down another thought before it escapes my brain like a balloon floating away in the sky. I can make squiggles and arrows, circles and cross-outs. My rough drafts are exactly that – rough. They look as though they have just been through a massacre, with unwanted phrases and ideas left for dead on the page. It is only until I have all my disordered, muddled thoughts collected on a page that I feel comfortable typing my words and ideas into structured and thoughtful final prose.

There is something to be said about a neat and tidy, polished piece of writing. But sometimes it takes a bit of messiness with the help of a pencil and paper to get there.

Emily Waisanen

As a middle school English teacher, Emily has a passion for writing and reading children’s literature and sharing that passion with her students. Emily’s first picture book entitled “The Book Monster” was inspired by her own two daughters!

Learn more about Emily!