Posted in Writing

Handwriting or Typing?

Do you write your first drafts by hand or on a computer? (Or by typewriter? Who knows, maybe some nostaligic people still use those!)

This question seems less and less relevant in the digital age, but I’m still surprised to hear about authors who prefer to handwrite their works, at least initially. I’m so used to my computer that it just seems easier for me to type my ideas out, and I type pretty quickly, too, although not via the proper Mavis Beacon-approved method. (At some point that method, taught to me in elementary school on an old 1980s Mac, morphed into a three-fingers-on-each hand thing that I’ve used ever since.) Also, from years of school, I’ve learned that my taking notes by hand in a hurry amounts to chicken scratch. I’m not sure the method of handwriting my manuscripts would be able to keep up with the pace at which my brain comes up with the words on a good writing day–sometimes even typing is too slow.

That said, I tried it once a few years ago. (When I was really young, I wrote stories in notebooks all the time before I typed them up, but I wonder if that was more because of a limited access to computers.) By the time I scratched out half the words on the page, I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere, and back to the computer I went.

I do, however, handwrite letters to pen pals. Yes, old fashioned snail-mail pen pals; I started pen palling when I was 7 and have never fully stopped, although I admit my letters are far less frequent these days and I keep in touch with a large number of my pen pals online rather than by snail mail. There’s something fun about receiving handwritten notes from a friend across the country or the globe, and I wonder if this tangibleness is part of the appeal for authors who write their works by hand.

Or maybe it’s about being better able to shut out distractions and not having to deal with the headache of staring at a screen for hours on end. I’m definitely not a fan of either of those downsizes to typing.

Do any of you prefer to handwrite? Do you know why? Or do you prefer typing first like me?


Author of YA speculative fiction and cozy paranormal mysteries.

4 thoughts on “Handwriting or Typing?

  1. I would love to handwrite a novel because then I wouldn’t have to worry about the tempting distraction that is the internet, but it will never happen. Not only would my wrist fall off, but my brain works so quickly that my hand wouldn’t be able to keep up! I’m able to type incredibly fast (and yes, I type the proper way with all of my fingers on home row, thanks to a mandatory typing class I took in 7th grade!), so it’s really the best method for me. Also, I’m sure I’d want to add in lines and there would be a lot of arrows and writing all over the place and it would become very, very messy. My handwriting isn’t too neat to begin with, so I can only imagine what a handwritten novel would look like. And what about the time spent transferring the written words to the computer? It seems like so much work; I don’t think I could ever do it! I will write down a line or scene if I’m afraid I’ll forget it before I can get to the computer, but the majority is typed.

    1. I agree… Writing pen pal letters makes my wrist sore, I can only imagine writing a whole book! I think it’s a very “romantic” way to write, but just not convenient for me!

  2. I love to write drafts on a legal pad or in a sprial notebook. For whatever reason, my mind is more creative on paper than on a computer. Perhaps it’s because I spend my day job in front of a computer. 🙂

    1. I think it’s a very “romantic” way of writing, handwriting first drafts! And I agree, staring at a computer all day for work is part of the reason why I struggle to have enough time to write creatively. I’m already “screened” out by then!


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