P-Writing and E-Writing

I, as many people, do like writing, as in, with my hand, on paper. At least I do until the cramps in my hand begin again..

When I cramp, I think to myself that electronic writing is better. I can write more characters until the cramp sets in when I am typing on a keyboard.

On the other hand, I feel that the presence of a computer screen wholly eliminates my creativity. I’ve tried blue light filtering, grey-scaling, but something about it just makes me unable to form coherent thoughts.

In fact, today I read a text by ploum describing some of the issues I initially had and still have when thinking about adopting e-writing.


As ephemeral as paper is, it is more deeply personal to me, it is more _mine_ than text on a computer could ever be. It was written, not typed, by me. Looking at a screen wholly taken over by text is nice, but nothing goes over the sight of a sheet of paper filled up completely, with even the margins inscribed with comments, thoughts, and corrections. Despite paper’s vulnerability to physical forces, my graphomotoric difficulties, and the question of how to organise a bunch of paper sheets, paper is a great, emotionally invested medium to write on.

But here is another thought: I will digitise any text I want to edit at some point anyway, for the simple reasons of spell and grammar check. An inbuilt Thesaurus may help me with keeping repetition out of my writing; in short, having a digital copy of writing is, for me, a necessity. So why not cut out the paper part, keeping instead but a digital record of my files, to print as needed?

For this purpose I have built for myself a neat little setup:

The files themselves are written in Emacs, using Org-mode. Org-mode allows for a foldable document structure and relatively easy footnotes, which are the two most important features I would like an e-writing setup to have, as it primarily boils down to: it should get out of my way.

The Org files are stored in a git repository here on tildegit. I can see the benefits I could reap out of using an online office like Cryptpad, but I generally prefer working offline on my texts, pushing them online when needed.

Into Emacs, I have integrated hunspell for spell-checking and langtool for LanguageTool-powered grammar checking. Both work without connecting to the internet.

This seems to catch the majority of my linguistic flaws, leaving only my writing skills to be desired for...