Why One Should Write More on Paper Instead of Word Processors

I love writing and I do it every day even if it is just a scribble.

I have been writing for a while and over this appreciably long time, I have learned a few things about writing. It derives totally from my personal experience. Even though I was not the most active writer here in my blog, I was still doing it somewhere else — which was largely my first attempt to write a novel.

While I decided to write my first novel titled “I And The God”, I took a different approach. Usually, when I write something, I tend to utilize a word processor.

However, against the larger advice, I started writing my novel in plain A4 papers. And there was something interesting about it.

The pros of writing on paper

There are a few things I liked about writing manually. Some perhaps strictly personal and not applies to everyone. But I believe every aspiring writer shares a common characteristic that unites us. So here is my rationale that one should try it.

  1. Peace of mind: This is invaluable and should be pretty evident. Switching off digital devices gave me a boost in my peace of mind. This comes mostly in the form of no notifications. I was way more creative writing on paper than typing on a keyboard for this sole reason. Less noise in your mind is equivalent to high-quality creative content. When you are writing on your personal computer, that may not always be guaranteed.
  2. Fear of no reversibility: This is something that many people see as a con of writing on paper. But for me, it is one of the pros. When you have eased to just hit backspace and edit whatever you like and whenever you like it, you are likely to fall lazy on your sentences. When you write on paper, you are always cautioned about having to strike through or having to rewrite from scratch. I am way more alert trying to write on paper. This helps me come up with the best sentences and always keep the past and future in my mind. No loosing out on lazy edges.
  3. Sense of accomplishment: When I write 100 words in a paper, which takes thrice the time than when I just type them down, I have some significant sense of accomplishment. That must be true because I have a typing speed of 53 words per minute and can effectively finish a 100-word paragraph in 2 minutes or less, that is if I am not taking time thinking. I feel twice as proud when I pull a new paper from my stack. When I reach a new page on MS Word, it is just another digital white blank page. When I am finally done writing for the day, just taking a look at the paper stack I wrote gives me a great mood of relaxation. This is nowhere close to scrolling through a piece of document.
  4. More engaging: When I am writing by hand instead of just typing on a keyboard, I am way more engaged in my work. Maybe this has to do with the fact that it takes more mental stress to write down using hand than just typing on a keyboard. But whatever that is, it helps me concentrate on the work instead of being distracted. I am always conscious and not just casually going to Google or check my social media profiles. The sole idea of just being able to engage 100% into the task at hand has made significant progress in my work.
  5. No sleepless nights: This is may not actually be directly helpful for your writing, or maybe it is. Whenever I use digital devices to write at night and I assume, just like me, a lot of you also write at night because of busy mornings —  I end up losing sleep. This is probably due to the bright light from the digital display that is messing up my biological clock. Whatever it is, once I started writing on paper, I also get good sleep. This is a warning too because I fall asleep less than 1 hour of concentrated writing. It is a brain exhausting process. But it works pretty well and my brain is supercharged the next morning. Normally when I go to sleep after using my laptop, I ended up waking so tired and demotivated.

The notable cons

All this isn’t to say that it is best to write on paper. There are many cons to using paper over modern word processors. I did end up struggling a bit.

  1. Not being able to edit: Yes, this is an obvious con. Although this gave me good motivation to frame my sentences properly and keep cautious about the future and past while making each sentence. It was a pain in the neck trying to go back and rewrite the whole thing. It was a very time-consuming process and killed 10s of hours every week. So, this drawback will cost you so much time.
  2. No sharing: If you want to get reviewed by a friend or a professional, you are not supposed to send them an image with your handwriting. You have to type it and make a digital copy. This means you have to do it each time you are looking for a review. This is an awful back and forth process.
  3. Hand ache: It hit me bad when I write for long hours. Typing is easy as a physical job compared to writing down. Your hands will ache badly and you are not going to like it when it happens.
  4. Keeping it organized: Eventually, stacks of papers become a little messy. It is easy to keep things organized and orderly in a PC. But when you write on paper and after taking enough of them from the stack, you are going to find it very hard to keep things organized. This is not just about your main writing, you have to keep track of random thoughts on the side, keeping track of points, you have marked for review, etc. Over time, your work will become a huge mess that is going to be very difficult to navigate. Keep it in mind and be prepared for it.
  5. Exhaustion: You will get sleepy real fast. I already told you and it kind of helps me get a decent sleep. But if you are on the other side that already has a decent time and sleeps to do things, physically writing is going to be a daunting task. You will feel exhausted way quicker than typing on a keyboard. 

Conclusion

Overall, I still prefer to do the long writes on paper. This is strictly a personal decision but has many accompanying features I believe a lot of you might want. For short posts, I upright use a word processor. When I want to get creative, especially when trying to write a story, I prefer to do it in the paper. The final choice depends on the actual author. Whatever it is, keep writing forward. 

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