Despite the fact that I have an IPad, a macbook and a PC in my house, I still find myself writing first drafts on paper. It may be my age (I know that is starting to sound like a dubious catchphrase) but I definitely view writing work up on a computer as a second stage, as some sort of best version. By the time I write anything on the PC it has already been re-worked a few times on paper. (A sign that it is my age: until recently the English exam board demanded that one piece of coursework be handwritten. The students wrote their work on the computer and then copied it out in their best handwriting. I didn’t see why the PC needed to be involved at all.)
Part of the problem with writing straight on to the computer – for me anyway – is that getting ideas down can often feel quite urgent and isn’t always perfect. The ideas are key and need to be expressed. However, often you know straight away that the wording will need to be changed or perhaps you find that you’ve used the same word a few times. But the idea, that is pressing and you need to concentrate on that or potentially lose its immediacy. On paper, it is very easy to indicate what may need to be changed later with circling, underlining and with arrows and footnotes. Not so much electronically.
And once the idea is born, it is very easy to feed it with detail as you type it up so that the version on the PC is fleshed out and stronger than the first. I suppose it is a case of old habits die hard as I first started writing when I was a student 20 years ago when all I had was a word processor which was less than user friendly and now it’s just the way I work. Even though I love my IPad unreservedly (unlike my kindle which I still sort of view as a wolf in sheep’s clothing as if one day it will bite my hand off) I can’t see this process changing.