Journaling FAQ: Typing vs Handwriting

Typing or handwriting… which is better? I often recommend journaling by hand. Here are 4 reasons:

Speed. You may type much faster on a keyboard than you can write by hand. While this seems like a good thing, an element of journaling is the meditative practice of connecting to your inner truth.  Slowing down can be quite beneficial.  Your mind and body can catch up with each other.  

Nuances.  Your handwriting is more personal than typed words. Your written words can convey your emotions and personality.  Similar to speech versus text, there are nuances in written words which are harder to see in typed letters.  Check out your writing.  Compare how it looks when you’re feeling angry vs happy.  Confident vs uncertain.  Are their shifts in the way the writing appears?  Notice what can be expressed between the lines.

ProcessWriting on paper is less linear. Sure, there are various apps and setups like pen tablets which allow for more creative expression.  But think of a word processor.  You can’t write between the lines and margins as easily.  This is one of my favorite things about writing by hand.  The creative process isn’t linear.  It cycles and spirals.  Ebbs and flows.  New ideas branch off from old ones.  Having the freedom to write by hand and brainstorm ideas nonlinearly is powerful for getting unstuck when typing in a word document just isn’t working.

FocusYou interact with your words differently on paper vs screen.  There is a difference between the connection of typing letters on a keyboard and watching them come up on a screen, and writing words by hand directly on paper.  It’s almost like you’re removed from directly interacting with the words on screen versus paper.  You watch the screen, not the letters being created by your pen.

A computer can have many distractions.  A journaling notebook, on the other hand, is its own container.  Have you ever been deep in writing, when a notification pops up on your screen and takes you away from the insight you were about to have?

Is one “better” than another?  Depends on what you’re after.

Writing by hand certainly has its positives: slowing down, expressing more than just the words, writing nonlinearly, and interacting more directly.  I highly encourage you to incorporate writing by hand into your journaling practice.

Experiment! Don’t just take my word for it; I also suggest experimenting with the difference yourself.  You might write to the same prompt by hand and typing.  What changes?  Once you know this, you can choose the method most suited to your mood or need. For example, at times when your words are bubbling up and you need to spill them quickly, you can go for your faster route.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the similarities and differences you notice if you try this experiment!