10 Reasons I Prefer Digital Journal Writing Over Pen and Paper

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There are lengthy debates about pen and paper versus digital journal writing, with the former still the preferred method of most journal and diary writers. As I write in the introduction of my forthcoming book, I have used both writing methods for journal writing, and I can honestly say I don’t feel or see a difference in the content my journal writing, though there are significant differences of course in how I write using a computer, and more specifically, how I write using Day One. I almost must add that I rarely write anything by hand anymore, because typing is so much more efficient, and believe or not, less painful than writing long hand. But I’m not digital journal writing snob.

 

As journaling therapy specialist, Mari McCarthy, said in a Journal Talk  podcast, “the best method for journal writing is the one that works best for you.” I couldn’t agree more. So the following are the most important reasons why I prefer the digital journal writing method, instead of pen and paper:

  1. As with typing text in any word processor, it’s easier to type and edit content in a digital journal. Even checking the correct spelling words is easier and faster.
  2. Digital journals like Day One can be accessed on multiple platforms, e.g., a Mac, iPhone, and iPad. (Note: Day One doesn’t include an online writing platform, but Penzu and OhLife are good options.
  3. Digital journals accurately date and time stamp entries, and they can stamp other data such as location and weather information in daily entries.
  4. Digital journals are easier to keep private with a passcode lock. They don’t need to be hidden in a closest or under a bed.
  5. A digital journal is easier to archive and review. Volumes of writing, spanning several years or even decades, can be packed into a single application. This means not having to store boxes of paper journal books, or debating whether they should be destroyed after a certain period of time. A digital journal can be kept as private for long as you like.
  6. A Digital journal can be backed up on an external drive, and you never have to worry about them being destroyed by fire or water damage. However, you must be sure to backup and export your digital journal on a regular basis.
  7. Digital journal entries can be tagged and searched. Both features make it easier to filter and reread selected journal entries. Paper journals are difficult and time consuming to index.
  8. A digital journal can include photos and other images, which enhance the writing content of journal entries.
  9. Digital journals allow for voice-to-text dictation, which comes in handy when you don’t feel like typing by hand.
  10. Digital journal entries can be shared via email and social networking sites.

Note: this is an excerpt from my forthcoming book about journal writing with Day One. I’m very interested in what you consider the advantages of digital journal writing, or why you prefer the pen and paper method. Leave me comment below.

 

7 thoughts on “10 Reasons I Prefer Digital Journal Writing Over Pen and Paper

  1. I use MS Word to keep my digital journal. I worked as a word processor, so it was an easy transition from handwriting. I was totally unaware of the digital journal programs out there–until I read your post. Thanks for the info!

    • Hi there,

      I really appreciate your insight about digital journaling. More specifically, that you give some great reasons to use Day One. Currently, I’m trying to decide between digital or traditional pen-and-paper (leaner towards the former). If I go with digital, I’d really like to use DayOne, but I am a little concerned about the privacy. Have you had any issues? Any opinions on that?

      Thanks!

      Deven

  2. Pingback: Why You Should Participate In the 30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge - CreativeWellness with Lynda Monk

  3. Hi there,

    I really appreciate your insight about digital journaling. More specifically, that you give some great reasons to use Day One. Currently, I’m trying to decide between digital or traditional pen-and-paper (leaner towards the former). If I go with digital, I’d really like to use DayOne, but I am a little concerned about the privacy. Have you had any issues? Any opinions on that?

    Thanks!

    Deven

  4. hello Bakari! greeting from Indonesia.
    Thank you for writing this, so useful
    i agree with you!
    love the quote “the best method for journal writing is the one that works best for you.”

    now i m keep on experimenting for the best method of journaling,
    i think evernote, based on many positive comment on it, will work best for me.

    Cheers,
    Sandro

  5. I’m exploring options on writing vs digital, and you bragged on “oh life”. When I looked them up from your link I found yet another reason I’m drifting away from digital. The site has closed down! What a real bummer…all that writing lost in the cloud…how sad but true. Like Evernote. I’ve been with them since 2010, and want out because of this very reason. What a royal pain to try and transfer all those years of jouraniling, pictures, notes, and whatever, conviently without loosing it or damaging it or screwing it up. Plus the inconvenience of a family trying to retrieve your stuff upon death. Ya ….for these reasons digital sucks. They quit….your done!

    • Hi Brent, totally agree that digital is a risk when an app or site closes down. For that reason I export all my Day One entries to PDF every year, even though they are backed up on Day One’s server. And yes it’s a pain to transfer the digital entries. Believe me, I’ve done it two times. But for me the benefits of digital journaling out weigh the risks and hassle of using digital. I certainly understand if you choose not use it. Paper has a strong tradition, and I can see why you stick with it. Thanks for your feedback. Keep in touch.

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