Today, it is virtually impossible to avoid writing using technology. Whether it’s emails, Facebook statuses, essays, or poetry, we are dependent on our devices if we hope to communicate, submit assignments, or work with a publisher.
I have written previously about the joys of writing with a pen and paper, and certainly there are times when my eyes ache and I’m backspacing through my fifth attempt at a reasonable sentence and I want to throw my computer out the window. But the benefits of writing with technology cannot be overstated and should not be overlooked.
- You never have to let an idea go. As long as you have your phone on you, you can jot down an idea. There’s no need to find a flat surface or a working pen. No one will look at you strangely for typing into your phone, so even if you are on a crowded bus or at a party, you can subtly get some writing in. Plus, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of that piece of paper you’ve scribbled on – which leads me to my next point:
- It’s harder to lose your work. We’ve all heard (or in my case, experienced) the horror story where a computer goes haywire and years of work disappear. In general, though, with all the opportunities we have to make use of internet backup and external hard drives, it is much harder to lose writing on a computer than writing on paper. For those of us who struggle with organization, having everything safely on our device is fundamental to our continued success.
- It’s so easy to edit. There’s nothing quite so frustrating as having to squeeze a correction into the margins or try to work your way through a page doused in white-out. The ease of editing on the computer can help to reduce the pressure to write something perfectly the first time.
- The search function. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t search documents for key words. This ability has been of inestimable value for me while writing papers and studying for exams. Combing hundreds of pages of research notes can be avoided simply by typing a couple words into the search bar.
- Differently abled? Perhaps technology’s greatest contribution to the writing world is its capacity to accommodate those who may otherwise be unable to get their ideas on paper. Those who have motor or vision issues can benefit hugely from voice recognition software and read-out-loud functions. Anyone who has dyslexia (or a similar learning disability) can benefit from spell and grammar check functions. And, as previously mentioned, anyone who has trouble with organization may find themselves prospering through the use of technology. As a teacher of special needs students, I am thankful for technology a thousand times a day.
Rachael Heffernan recently completed a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. In the course of her academic career, she has received the Harrison Prize in Religion and The Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship. During her undergraduate degree, Rachael was published twice in The Codex: Bishop University’s Journal of Philosophy, Religion, Classics, and Liberal Arts for her work on Hittite divination and magic and philosophy of religion. Rachael has also had the opportunity to participate in an archaeological dig in Israel, and has spoken at a conference on Secularism at the University of Alberta on the Christian nature of contemporary Western healthcare. Her wide-ranging interests in scholarship are complemented by her eclectic extra-curricular interests: she is a personal safety instructor and lifelong martial artist who has been recognized for her leadership with a Nepean Community Sports Hero Award. She is an enthusiastic reader, writer, and learner of all things, a tireless athlete, and a passionate teacher.