I love technology. I was an “early adopter” growing up, getting an Amiga 2000 and a CD player way before anyone else on my street. I excelled in Computer Studies and Secretarial Studies, mastering both the BBC Archimedes and the Brother Electric Typewriter. I ran an online business for seven years and have been offering IT support to teachers for the past few months. So, it was only natural I would gravitate toward a tablet for my creative needs, and seeing fellow writers in the group tapping out words even as we went through our real live meetings cemented the idea in my head. I needed a tablet. It would inspire me, speed up my creative process, take scraps of paper out of my life, and make me kinder to the planet.
Here it is. My tablet. It’s beautiful. It feels good in my hands.
It doesn’t make me an ounce more creative. In fact, I believe it sucks the creative juice right out of me, through my fingertips.
Why isn’t it working for me? Why did I spend NTD10,000 on this machine? How many NTD10 notebooks is that again? Why didn’t I insist on carrying my 5kg of cutsey-kitchy paper across the equator when we moved from Taiwan to New Zealand? Why do I think better standing up with a pen in my hand?
I have some theories.
Maybe it’s because I studied accounting and computer studies, so a computer is a tool that I have used to organize thoughts and processes, like, well, an accountant or programmer.
Maybe it’s because, as suggested in a study by Virginia Berninger, Ph.D. (cited in this article from The New York Times, June 2014), handwriting promotes creativity more than typing does.
“When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas.”
Maybe it’s because I write in cursive, a form of writing that seems to encourage creativity and may have made me smarter.
Maybe it’s because I spend more time cursing the tablet’s keyboard and autocorrect function than I do typing coherent sentences.
Maybe it’s because my brain is using the tablet against me, creating a new tool for procrastination (see the comments in this post by JJ Green).
Whatever it is, I have discovered I create more when I am standing up, writing on the backs of unpaid bills I have cut into quarters. This renders my tablet pretty much useless as a creative tool. On the up-side, the tablet cover makes a funky, portable writing surface. The most expensive one I will every own, without a doubt, but at least it’s pretty.
How do you find technology affects your creative process? Do you have any tips to help me get technology working in my first-draft favor?