When writing, you typically have two choices regarding how exactly you writing – handwriting or typing. Each one has its pros and cons, and I’m going to give you a brief intro of each. If you normally do one and not the other, I encourage you to check it out just to see what it feels like!
- Speed: Unless you are a slow (and I mean absolutely terribly slow) typer, then typing is undoubtedly faster. I happen to be on the faster end of that spectrum with an average of 60wpm, so this works well for me.
- Editing: On the computer, it is so much easier to delete, copy and paste, and insert things where you want them to be. It’s easy to leave yourself a note and come back to it later, and you’ll know exactly what page you’re on and how many word you’ve written.
- Google Docs: It’s amazing. Yes, there are other programs, but this one is easiest for me. It’s nice to connect with friends who can then leave their comments and revisions on your work.
- Research: If you need to know how many teeth a horse has or the distance between Cairo and Beijing, your information is just a click away. That’s it. You don’t need to take a long break from your writing to find a critical piece of info.
- Distractions: Yes, I admit that if a browser is up, then I am often very tempted to click away and look at Pinterest or check my email even though I know nobody has messaged me. If you’re typing, make sure all of your tabs are closed. You can always check them later.
- Long nails: Maybe this is more of a personal one, but you can’t type well with long nails. I promise. Mine split yesterday and I cut them all, and I feel wonderful. Ladies and gentlemen, keep this in mind for all future NaNo’s – trim your nails and your writing will be 2569964% faster.
- Snacks and beverages: Protip: Don’t have drinks near your device. They will spill, and if you’re lucky, like I was, your computer will turn back on, but there’s no need to take chances. I keep mine just a room away. And snacks are icky, you don’t want crumbs all over your device.
- Posture: This is a big one! More often than not, while typing, you are hunched over. This can cause serious back problems. Make sure that you get up and stretch every once in awhile. Every half hour or so is good, but I will spare you if you like to write marathons. Just be sure that you get good exercise!!
- Attentiveness: It has been scientifically proven that handwriting helps you retain things better than typing does. So there’s a thing. Writing down anything – your grocery list, notecards, your whole novel – will help you remember it much easier.
- Portability: If you keep a journal or a notebook, congratulations. No, seriously. That’s it. Carry a pencil with you and you can write literally anywhere that has a source of light. Hey, why not bring a headlamp and a pencil sharpener? Computers and phones die. Pencils don’t. If you run out, you can get a pack of 3532 for like, 3 dollars.
- Handwriting: Yes, writing improves your actual handwriting. Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me, my handwriting is gorgeous and I love it. You will develop your own style, which is super cool.
- Hard copy: Things on the computer get lost. Drives crash. When you write in a pad, you will always have the first and hard copy. Also, it’s in your very own unique and pretty handwriting, so it will be very hard to copy.
- Speed: With almost everyone, handwriting is a lot slower. I understand this. I do not have a handwriting speed of 60wpm, although how cool would that be? Suppose that’s something we could all strive for. New Year’s Resolution: Get my handwriting speed up to my typing speed.
- Publishing: Eventually, you will have to hand this into a publisher. Which means you do, in fact, have to type it up and make edits to it over and over again. If you really, really, can’t type, then find someone to do it for you.
- Snacks and beverages (again): Crumbs are gross. Please. And if you spill even water on your notepad, well, it’s paper. That’s game over, mostly. So please, please, be careful with your notepads and journals.
- Cramps: It’s happened in class, on the subway, even just taking notes for your plot. If you write with your hands, your hands will eventually get cramps in them. Some of them will go away if you shake your hands out (which, by the way, doesn’t look nearly as weird as you think it does), but some of them will last longer. Remember to stretch your hands out before you write, and again every couple of paragraphs.
Again, if you usually only stick to one of these, try switching up your writing routine. It’s amazing what changing your writing style can do for you! Let me know in the comments below which one you like best and why.