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Digital or Physical?

by J. L. Cross 12 months ago in advice
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Digital or Physical?
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

This is a serious one. I'm asked this more often than I'm asked anything else about being a professional writer. It's annoying actually, but I entirely understand why people are asking. It's a hard choice. I can never really understand; which is the best practice: Digital or Physical? I have to weigh the pros- and cons of different aspects of the work I'm doing. Let's dissect.

1. The urgency

Some projects are extremely demanding. I don't have time to dally with hand written love notes and margins and editing notes. I need one good draft. I have one good chance. Deadlines are like criminals sneaking up to stab you in the back, and they get you real good. I've given myself a goal, to write at least 5 articles a day until I've published 20. I don't have the time in my life to write each article by hand and review it, then type it, then review it again. I have to be pushing these babies out like a production factor running behind schedule with less than best manning.

It's just me around here! I have to focus, drive through to the end, submit and publish. I need to build a name for myself and I'm just not going to make my production demands if I'm writing it by hand.

The Con to this is that I review less and more mistakes are bound to happen this way regardless, so I need to be more thorough on that final review.

2. The topic/ Research

If I need to do a lot of research I do dual wield digital and physical writing. I write the article on the digital format and jot down my research in a notebook and then go back and add in the facts to the digital draft. This is sometimes my best work, if you're speaking on the non-fiction side of things.

3. The Agenda

I write for my Podcast, I write for my fiction short stories, I write out of fun, I write to avoid writer's block, and I write to appease the masses. I always hand-write when I'm preparing for a podcast and working on a writers block. These are the two main times I'd use pen and paper. I find my thoughts are much more free flowing when I have absolutely no technological distractions around me. It's a hard fact that computers and cellphones are in-fact a writer's truest weakness.

4. Editing

I have always preferred editing in a digital format, but after having some personal hands-on experience with a physical manuscript recently and editing it entirely by hand- and subsequently retyping the entire draft back into google docs... I've learned that there are just far too many editing mistakes made if I solely do a digital edit, so I've opted for both. The physical edit always comes first. I make notes on the page numbers that need expansions and additions. Those are the first edits made in digital.

5. Journal, Blogging, Diary

I do none of the above. I'm pleased that I've avoided these types of writing. Of course, this is the closest I've ever gotten to blogging and I'm pleased. If I were to do any of these they would all be done physically, while blogging would later be added digitally, the flow of thought are just better without distraction.

IF YOU were reading this to figure out which is best I've surely left you without a good answer. You're welcome. I recommend to every writer to figure out when which is best for them, and dabble around in using both for different tasks. Some authors will truly produce their best material while handwriting. If you want less distraction but the pleasure of hitting little buttons instead of getting carpal-tunnel in your hands- get a typewriter!


About the author

J. L. Cross

Passionate writer that loves fantasy, fiction, and some article writing. One published workbook on Amazon KDP, Writing a Book, Start to Finish; and hopes to publish more soon!

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