Ever since I started writing online, I’ve had doubts about the electronic medium as a carrier of what I write. When those doubts kick in, I start writing on paper. Especially if it’s something that I want to make personal. But for the bigger part, I write digitally, or more precisely, online.
In theory, there shouldn’t be a huge difference in how you start writing. Especially since the benefits of the one over the other will be noticed only later in the process of building your writing habit. In that regard, try not to overthink how you write. Handwriting has its benefits, but in practice, you can’t be writing everything in handwriting. Most of the materials that you read, study about, and learn from, are written digitally. And there is a reason why.
If you remember, we talked about the benefits of writing from two different aspects: cognitive and practical. Again, the cognitive benefits are the goods that writing provides in the context of our mental state and the practical ones are those that we get during our everyday communication.
Handwriting has more practical application in the first group. It is mentally beneficial but it’s not practical. This is a balance that you, as a beginner, need to find. If the writing process is too long, your hand aches for hours afterward and you get demotivated along the way, you should not handwrite. It’s not practical. But if it’s a letter you have to write in handwriting because your therapist said so, then it’s worth the effort. Also, you will do the later most probably only once.
The power of typing is in its speed. Writing 500 words will take about 10-12 minutes to type. As compared to the 25-30mins needed to handwrite. Set a goal for yourself. If you want to spend half an hour writing those 500 words, go for it and handwrite it. Otherwise, explore the options for you to start writing digitally.
Finally, have in mind that handwriting has a significantly ignored flaw: privacy and storage. When it comes to privacy nobody guarantees that your diary won’t end in the wrong hands. And even if it doesn’t and you successfully build a writing habit, you’ll need to store those notebooks somewhere.
In the beginning, none of this is important, really. You need to focus on writing and having control over what you write so that you can do a comparative analysis of your progress. If you can do this, regardless if you handwrite or type, it’s a good start. The only question you need to answer is: are you more fluent with your keyboard or with your hand? If you struggle typing with a keyboard start handwriting, and the other way around.
That is the only criterion.