Wendell Berry has written famously of his own composition habits. He uses paper and pencil, takes these instruments with him to the woods, or elsewhere, and therefore can write virtually anywhere without requiring fancy forms of technology.
Now Richard Powers, apparently no neo-Luddite, writes, "Except for brief moments of duress, I haven't touched a keyboard in years. No fingers were tortured in producing these words--or the last half million words of my published fiction. By rough count, I've sent 10,000 e-mail messages without typing. My primary digital prosthetic doesn't even have keys."
Powers uses, of course, not a living anamneusis, but rather voice recognition software. He extols its virtues in a recent column in the New York Times Book Review.
Both writers believe their means of composition is integral to their craft. Both are wonderful writers. How can this be?
Well, I have typically been a QWERTY composer myself. I have never experimented with alternative keyboards of voice software-- nor have I had much luck writing long-hand. I can't read my own hand-writing later, and my hand cramps up.
So I type. I imagine a lot of wonderful writers also type on normal old keyboards on computers. Some others may still pound things out on a typewriter. For all I know, some great author still uses a quill and ink.
In any event, the means of composition do matter. I find that I am constrained to writing, and can only write at length (or with any kind of quality) when I am seated comfortably at a good computer and keyboard. This means I generally can't compose in a lot of places Berry can easily. That's a problem. It would be good to have his range.
I can't imagine being constrained the way Powers is. Writing is verbal, he's right about that, but it's also visual. I'm write about that (just read that last sentence a few times).
In any event, it would be interesting to hear where, when, and how we all write...