Writers’ Lab: 750 words versus longhand journaling
To clear out your mind, keeping a journal is a great tool.
Keeping a journal does not only bring you more peace of mind but it also has the following benefits:
– identify your worries by expressing them
– create a moment for self-reflection
– have a personal archive of thoughts
– track your progress in achieving goals
– practice writing in a different way
– by reading multiple entries, you can analyze deeper thought patterns.
I’m a long-time journal-writer. From spring until early December, I was using 750 words and it helped me developing my theoretical approach and ultimately writing my dissertation. But since late 2012, I have switched back to my longhand journal – a notebook I’ve been using since 2000.
As a teenager, I wrote in my journal daily. I copied the habit from my grandfather, who wrote daily for his entire life (and thus, throughout the second World War). When I went to university, I wrote less and less and eventually spaced entries by two years. Early in my PhD, I picked up the habit again to reflect on my research, and life in general.
Having used both digital and longhand journals over the past months, I have listed to pros and cons of each method, to help you chose the right method to keep up a journal.
+ This website is designed to get you writing:clean workspace, no distractions.
+ I’ve used 750 words to flesh out ideas and to write a brief overview of what I did during a day.
+ It’s the perfect place for typing out a rant.
+ The stats are great – they help you analyze your writing.
– You’re restricted to (mostly) unformatted text: you can’t highlight, scribble, draw.
– You’re staring at a screen, like for too many of your activities.
+ It’s great to flip through a journal and read random entries from long ago.
+ Writing longhand makes it easier to get into the flow of writing.
+ Distractions associated with the internet are not there.
+ You can draw, highlight, use different colored pencils,..
+ I find it easier to mix up the writing: overviews of what I did, my deeper thoughts and worries, random gratitude lists, affirmations
– Writing longhand is slower than typing
– It’s not in the cloud, you need to drag along a physical object when you travel.
Do you journal? Has it improved your writing, or keeping track of your goals? Share you experiences in the comments section!
I've tried both. I prefer pen and paper. Yet, having the 750words guy pushing me by email each day has been helpful. 750words is winning out at the moment for me.
Thanks for your input, and I do think whatever it is that you're doing with regard to writing will always be really beneficial