Should I type or handwrite my draft?
It’s that age old question: to type or handwrite? I’ve done both and they each have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at why you might want to try both:
Writing By Hand
Ah…Back in the good old days before computers and smartphones were invented (or, you know, if you happen to be a wizard that goes to Hogwarts), people wrote things out by hand. For most of us blessed with the use of computers, it’s a lot faster to type that to handwrite things, so why would you choose to write out your draft?
This blog post was drafted by hand and I’m writing out my current work-in-progress novel as well. What’s so great about writing by hand? For one, excuses for not writing like “I don’t have time to wait for my computer to turn on” or “I’m out of battery” don’t work anymore. It takes what, one second for you to click your pen? Your notebook doesn’t need battery to work, and neither will it crash right before you click save. Less excuses for not writing is always better, right? Which leads me to my next point…
No distractions. Maybe this only happens to me, but when I’m typing a paper or doing research online and an email pops up, I answer it because if I don’t, I’m going to forget. Somehow, I end up migrating from my email to reading blog posts to YouTube, and by the time I realize it, I’ve been ‘working’ for an hour with ten words written. If you’re writing by hand though, you can lock yourself in a distraction free room (or just turn off your phone or something) so you know you’re actually writing for that hour. Sure, you could just turn off your wifi, but for those of us that have a little more trouble with self control, this is a great way to increase your productivity.
Handwriting also reduces the chances of you deleting something that you might end up wanting to use later. I’ve deleted paragraphs that I later on realized work perfectly, but since I deleted them, had to write it all over again. If you’re handwriting though, you can just cross it out or start another page and your words are still there, just in case.
There’s also the bonus of being able to carry your notebook so you can work anywhere, so you can put all those spare minutes during your day to use. I usually keep a very small notebook and pen in my bag so I can write whenever I have a spare moment. I actually got through a couple of chapters just from waiting in line at Disneyland, which might be a little harder to do with a laptop. A phone would work too, but I type in my phone with one finger (this post took forever to type) so I scribble.
Now for the cons. This first one can actually be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. Eventually, you’re going to have to type your work, whether you’re submitting it to be published or just showing it to people for feedback, so handwriting just means more work. Yes and no. Yes, you’ll have to transcribe everything you write later on,but I find that a good way to revise your writing. That’s why I draft my posts on paper and then type. But if you’re going to just type exactly what you write the first time, it might not be worth the effort.
I don’t know about you, but I have atrocious handwriting. Atrocious as in my history professor asked me to read aloud my essay answer for a final exam because he couldn’t read it. It starts out pretty legible but the further into the draft I go, it becomes messier and messier. By the end of the chapter, it looks more like a scribbly line than a word. If that’s the case with you, you might want to type it, if only so you can read what you wrote later on.
I also write pretty fast (albeit very messily) so this one isn’t really a problem for me, but if you type a lot faster than you write, it might just be more effective to type so you can keep up with your thoughts.
Now onto typing. I’d say that the pros are pretty well-known: You can read what you write, you don’t have to transcribe it, you can edit easily, it’s faster, the list goes on and on. As for the cons, as I listed above, it’s harder to write in lines had such, your computer might crash (if you do choose to type, back up your work!), you might run out of battery, and you might get distracted.
Even so, the first full-length novel I ever completed was typed, so it definitely works. The one thing I love most about typing is spellcheck. I swear you wouldn’t be able to read half of this post if it weren’t for that nifty little tool. And hey, if you have more self control than I do, typing might be the best choice for you.
Personally, I handwrite when I draft and then type when I revise and rewrite. Do whatever works for you, but you might want to try handwriting if you always type and vice versa.
Do you type or handwrite? Comment your thoughts down below.