Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tools of the Trade – Paper vs Screen

This is the first in a three part mini-series where I discuss the different tools of the trade when it comes to writing.

First off: paper vs screen (aka, computer).

As it stands, many people back in the ancient days (really, it was only like 35 years ago when the first home computers came about) didn’t have the technology to write on a computer, and so they could only write by hand on pieces of paper or parchment. These methods were often long and time consuming, and maybe sometimes the person would run out of ink and would have to find more or stop writing.

But what is the difference between writing on a page versus writing on a computer screen? Is there any sort of difference in the sort of emotional attachment to the words, or are they just different modes on communication?

Do you remember the good ol’ days in school when you would pass notes to your friends in secret messages on folded up paper? Nowadays, if a kid is spoiled, they have a phone that they can just text their friends with. But there was a sort of magic to the way paper holds the letters and how it is folded when it is handed across the room.

Aside from that, note taking by hand is a great form of memorization. Writing something down helps us to be able to remember the information later. It is a better way to memorize than by watching (visual) or listening (auditory) because there are certain neurons in your brain that connect writing to memorization.

But is writing on a screen any different? You’re still writing things down and memorizing them, right? Well, sort of.

Writing on a screen is faster and more efficient, and it’s a lot more legible if you have really bad handwriting. You can choose from many different fonts, colors, highlighting, big type, little type, and more. There’s also many different types of writing programs, such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, among others, that you can use to write whatever you need to down.

Writing by hand takes longer because you need to form each letter, curve after curve, while typing on a computer does that for you.

In reality, though, it is up to personal preference and what you write on is really up to you. But if you want to look at it in black and white: writing on paper takes more time, but is better for memorization, while writing on a computer takes less time and you can get more words written down.

What’s your preferred method of writing? Let me know in the comments below!