Friday, October 1, 2010

Pen or Pencil?

When you sit down to write your FIRST draft of a story, which do you prefer to use as your writing instrument?  Pen or pencil?  I've always wondered what the majority of writers preferred.  I prefer using a pencil because it allows me to write at any angle- on a wall or while lying on my back.  I don't have to worry about ink fading from my pen mid-sentence.

But let's go over the advantages and disadvantages of each one, shall we?  I decided to include the advantages and disadvantages of using a computer, since I know I can't get away without a discussion on that one.  I know many of you embrace technology and don't even use a pen/pencil and paper anymore.

Advantages of a pen

  • It flows smoothly as you write, making writing feel like dancing.
  • You can see your print much better than the fading color of grey.
  • It gives you the impression of confidence.
Disadvantages of a pen
  • It is permanent so if you make mistakes, you'll have scribbles all over your paper.
  • If you are writing while laying on your back, you risk losing ink. 
  • If you are heavy-handed, the ink may penetrate or leave an impression on the other side, thus causing a distraction on the following page.
Advantages of a pencil
  • Nothing like the raw feeling of pencil on paper.  The contact between paper and pencil give off a scratchy sound of productivity.
  • If you make a mistake, you can erase what you've written.  Thus, keeping your paper a little neater.
  • The writing on back of a sheet will not bleed through or see through so it will not be distracting.
Disadvantage of a pencil
  • If you break a tip and you don't have a sharpener handy, you're out of luck unless you have a spare pencil on hand.
  • You risk marking the inside of your bag or whatever it is you carry your pencil in unless you have a pencil cap on.
Advantages of a computer
  • When you want to make changes, it's as easy as pressing a (delete) button.
  • No messy paper to deal with.
  • It's automatically saved in your system.
  • Saves you a step from having to retype what you've written.
Disadvantages of using a computer
  • You have to lug around your laptop.
  • If you don't have a laptop, you have to wait until you get to one.  So if inspiration strikes you, you're out of luck unless you have a paper and pen handy.
  • It's not always assessable.
So there you have it.  Which do you prefer to use when creativity strikes you?  Please take my poll.


  1. When I first started writing I used a pencil but space constraints plus the addition of a laptop into my environment prompted me to change. I haven't gone back. Only in the absence of my computer will I turn to paper and whatever writing implement is at hand.

  2. I love writing with pens; I'm always on the search for the perfect one. Sometimes it's just too much work for my hands though and then I go back to my laptop. Good thing we have options, huh!? :-D



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