Handwriting Vs. Typing: An Ancient Battle

How do you prefer to create your first draft? Do you love the old-fashion pen and paper or do you type away your thoughts right from the start?

Obviously, this cannot be an ancient battle since PCs are not that old. And if we think about the year 1829 as ancient (which is the year when the typographer was patented), then we can call this an ancient battle.

Nevertheless, let’s see the benefits of each approach.

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Handwriting

  • it requires more focus than typing. This is simply because while we use pen and paper, we need to be careful to keep the alignment and to see how many words can fit in the same row. We also need to make sure our writing is readable, especially if someone else needs to read it. And if we’re more focused, we can probably be more creative.
  • it allows tracing the creative process. When we write something down on paper, it will remain there (of course, you can use a pencil and erase whatever you want to correct, but the traces won’t disappear 100%). When you want to add something, you need to squeeze it in and you can make some notes on the side if you want.
  • it gives you graphical freedom. If you want to draw a dragon next to a word, nothing is stopping you. Also, if you want to make a funky capital letter, again, you can do it exactly how you want. With pen and paper, you can create anything you want, Sure, you can do similar things with a computer as well, but you will need to use several software and then you need to combine everything and so on (and it’s not that funny!).

Typing

  • it is faster. There is no doubt. It allows you to write the same things in half the time (or maybe less), which, in the end, allows us to spend more time creating compared to handwriting.
  • it allows auto-stylizing the page. When you type, you don’t have to worry about the words alignment or the page margins. Nor about the spacing between words and rows. Everything is taking cared of by the editor you’re using (e.g. Microsoft Word) and you can modify everything at once for the whole document. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about how readable your writing is. All letters will be the same.
  • it allows you to easier share your work. Digitizing your work is the only way to publish it online. Even if you write on paper, you will still have to type it eventually so you can publish it (or you can use some software to do it, but it’s not 100% accurate). If you write it directly on your computer, you can publish it with a few clicks.

In the end, it’s all about preferences. For example, I love to write down the main ideas using pen and paper, but I write the first complete draft directly on my computer.

How do you do it?


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40 comments

  1. After visualizing most of it in my head, I actually write the main parts on my phone. It’s easier because no matter what I’m doing or where I am, I can write whatever detail I come up with right away as opposed to finding a pen & paper, or firing up my laptop. I hate my laptop and it knows. My phone feels the closest to my imagination if that makes sense. I’m never away from it. I finish on the computer but it’s soul crushing just opening it. Just the opening, not the actual typing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Typing for me…mostly on the laptop and at times on my mobile. I think and start finger-typing and I am reasonably fine with my speed. I also make some videos. This explains to an extent. Your write-up is great ‘food for thought’. I will try writing first and see – for my blogs. That takes me a bit closer to nature, I guess 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use the best of both worlds – use Nebo app on the iPad to jot down all the ideas. The app gives me an option to convert the handwriting to typed text. Then I copy paste the thing onto WordPress and do the final typing and formatting.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I use a notebook for brainstorming my ideas. I write a draft in Pages without making corrections followed by editing until it feels right. My iPad reads the text aloud as I listen and look for corrections until I’m pleased with it. Then I let it sit and do other things for a few hours or overnight whichever comes first, listen to it again and publish once I’m satisfied.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My writing gets so mangled when I hurry the message that I struggle to type on my laptop. So, I go straight to typing. My problem is the urge to edit as I type. It slows me down often. Any tips?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Any type of handwriting, either cursive or printed, has personality. The personality of the writer is showcased because even though we are all taught how to do it in relatively the same way, each person had different physical traits and this affects how it will look. My cursive slowly became a combination of cursive and printing, with many of the letter connections disappearing in favor of what was quicker for me.

    On a side note, I know some younger people who have difficulty reading cursive. Sign of the times? Priorities change, i guess.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can respect that. If you think of your journals that you kept as a kid, physically or mentally, you would change font while you were turning an emotional corner. It would add intent based on how hard you were pressing down on your pen or pencil. Good point!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, there are debates on this matter because some experts say we’re evolving so we don’t need handwriting anymore, while others say the exact same idea as you, that it has personality and that the effects of handwriting are more beneficial because they involve more of our body than typing (e.g. with handwriting each letter is different, therefore our muscles are performing in a different way compared to typing where each letter involves the same type of muscle action: press).
      Thank you very much for reading and for sharing your thoughts, Leon! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I find that when I write by hand, ideas have more time to manifest — becoming fuller. I also make connections — from one sphere of thought to another — that I often miss out on when typing. Unfortunately, (with my OCD) I’m far more likely to discard of handwritten documents, precisely because of their lack of uniformity. 🤷🏻

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I write on my laptop, but I carry notebooks everywhere. I usually have 6-8 pens in the bottom of whatever handbag I’m carrying! When I started what would become my first novel, laptops didn’t exist, so I have nearly the whole thing in notebooks that I can barely read.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I actually started it in high school. Then it sat in notebooks for probably 20 years.one day I just started writing on my computer and it took about 4 years to write it. Needless to say, it’s a very different story from the original.

    Liked by 1 person

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