Word processors were met with mixed reactions when they debuted at the end of the ’60s. While they definitely made the task of writing faster, purists were as weary of this new technology as they were enamored of it. The writer John Updike, for instance, said word processing made producing text “almost too easy.” In a letter to his editor at The New Yorker, Updike wrote, “I’ve bought a word processor and we’re slowly coming to an understanding. It’s quick as the devil, but has very little imagination, and no small talk.”
Updike may have been among the first to have complicated feelings about typing his thoughts out, but he certainly wasn’t the last. Writers from Danielle Steele to Neil Gaiman have shunned computers in favor of composing their works by hand.
“To me, typing is like work, Gaiman explained in a 2015 interview with Tulsa World. “Writing with a pen is like playing. And you can write on planes when they’re taking off and landing.”
The benefits of putting pen to paper aren’t just for famous authors. For those of us who spend most days in front of our computers, writing by hand has a number of psychological benefits, in addition to giving our eyes a needed rest from the glow of the screen.