My experience of journaling by hand for 7 days

The afterglow of accomplishment

The narcissism of small differences

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My writing habit is something I have grown to treasure over this year. I have always done it online in my favourite app but during a recent roadtrip, I opted to leave behind all my electronic devices with the exception of my phone. To maintain my writing habit, I bought instead a journal and a pen and decided to experiment with writing by hand after a streak of 200+ days writing it online. Long story short, I did not hate it as much as I thought I would.

Writing by hand takes significantly longer than writing on a computer. On a normal day, I spend between 20 and 30 minutes on my morning pages where I set a threshold of 750 words before I allow myself to finish. By hand, however, I spent easily at least double the time on it. On the roadtrip where the days were full of either driving, doing walks, eating, or cooking, I found it difficult to carve out time in the day to write. On a slower holiday, however, I probably would find the time thing a non-factor.

There was a certain gravitas that I felt writing by hand. It is not something I, or anyone, for that matter does much anymore after finishing school or university. But it made me appreciate why some people continue to journal by hand despite of all the feature-rich tools online.

I noticed that the slower writing speed slowed down my thoughts; when journalling online, my mind races at greater velocity. I am not sure whether I enjoyed or disliked this aspect of it. Nevertheless, it is something that I should probably try to balance, I am sure diversifying this speed of thought will bear greater fruit.

I think this is something I would want to integrate in spurts, perhaps one or two days a week. The only thing stopping me is my desire to be able to parse through my writing. For my week of journalling by hand, I need to type all of it up again onto the place where I keep my writing, and that something full of friction.

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