The Effect of Technology on Writing Style

In his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?: What the Internet is doing to our brains”, Nicholas Carr mentions how Friedrich Nietzsche began to use a typewriter to write when his vision began to fail. Though the machine allowed him to write freely despite his failing eyesight, friends began to notice that Nietzsche’s writing style was subtly different when he wrote on the typewriter. Nietzsche noted that “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Though I haven’t used a typewriter since I was six years old – and then it was a toy typewriter – I can see what Nietzsche is talking about.

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, since as long as I can remember. It’s not just my passion; it’s something I know I was truly meant to do. Like Nietzsche, I have noticed subtle differences in my writing because of technology. For the past year and a half, I’ve been working on a novel, a project very close to my heart. However, when I used to write short stories in high school, I almost always wrote them out entirely by hand before typing them up. Though I simply don’t have the patience to write my entire novel by hand and then type it up, I do find myself frequently writing out sections of chapters by hand in a notebook and then typing them up. I don’t know if it changes my writing style at all, but I feel as if my writing is somehow better when I write it out first instead of skipping straight to typing it out, and writing the parts out definitely helps me when writer’s block sets in.

Nietzsche was right; the equipment does have a hand in shaping our thoughts. I just hope it makes them better.


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