I write short stories. On paper. With a pen.
One of the obvious questions one would have come to mind when seeing me work is "Why use pen and paper?" In an era of computers and sophisticated writing software, isn't the pen obsolete? Not even close.
The mind is a mess. It isn't common to be able to focus one's attention for very long. Interest, skill and environment will contribute, but it is like putting on blinders. It is a box that dampens the mind's ability to wander, leaving only a spout through which thoughts can pour. This is fine, but it doesn't work for me.
The approach I use is somewhat the opposite. A pen isn't just about speed. It is certainly slower. I've been clocked at typing 120wpm, which I think is insane and most probably wrong. I know I can lazily type at 60, and probably a lot less on a laptop or palmtop. A pen would probably be half the speed or less compared to typing.
Writing in pen means no backspace, no copy-paste, no alt-tab. There is only the "now" of what is being written. Looking back gives no opportunities to revise earlier writing. There is no simple way to write notes for future expansion. The writing experience doesn't just slow down, the world does. A computer is unavailable as a buffer for thought, so the mind must be vastly more engaged, holding not just the current sentence, but upcoming notions. A writer new to the pen will constantly write the wrong word down, and will lose track of an idea half way through a sentence, leading to blocks of rewrites. Experience partly eliminates these time-sinks, as the mind will have ideas queued up in manageable chunks for writing. The interesting part is when the mind no longer struggles in this, and the writer's experience is almost like possession by a muse, an only occasional blessing for a typist. I suspect a typewriter would be a significant improvement to the pen, giving significant speed, better legibility and still keeping the advantages that permanent words grant.
In my case, I use a pen as a way of helping heal recently damaged hands. I don't know that it is working, but it has certainly helped confidence.
It appears I have argued myself into buying a manual typewriter.
(I bought a couple of typewriters to try writing with them. I conclude I don't like typewriters compared to pen and paper.)
2012-07-11 - My pen-typos are usually due to mental word/letter queuing mishaps, derailed by thinking.