Jack London said every writer should keep a notebook. “Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it,” London said. “Lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” It’s sage advice, but then again, Jack London didn’t have Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or OneNote. This week, we test the classic battle of man versus machine to see which is better for journaling.
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There are a number of useful benefits to keeping a journal. Journaling can help you process emotions, harness creativity, and keep track of events and moments. And there are two basic methods for journaling:
Writing by hand: You know how this works. You take a pen or a pencil, put it to paper, then write down your thoughts, opinions, feelings. A physical journal gives you something tangible to work with and there’s something gratifying about the feel of a paper notebook. Beyond that, though, writing stimulates and engages your brain better, making it easier to retain information. Some argue that writing by hand is a more raw, authentic experience.
Typing: Whether you journal using Google Docs, Microsoft Word, OneNote, WordPress, Tumblr or any other medium, the act is obviously the same: you use your keyboard to get the thoughts out of your head and onto the screen. Fans of typing argue that it’s more convenient and, aside from the romanticized notion of longhand, the end product is the same.
Both options have their advantages. When you write with pen and paper, you have something tangible to give your kids someday. You don’t have to worry about getting hacked, either. However, when you type, you can create backups of your journal and, using the right tools, you can access your journal from anywhere. Plus, it’s easier to search for specific entries. Beyond the basics, let’s take a look at both options.