I seem to remember making some comments on this subject once before and I do hope you’ll forgive me if I’m repeating myself a little.
I suppose the title is somewhat misleading. It’s not really a question of which is better overall, more which works better for a first draft. Because eventually, you’re going to want to have it typed up; for presentation, for backup copies, so that you’re not constantly re-writing the same thing. Does that mean it might be easier to go straight to the electronic draft first time out?
I occasionally go back and forth about which of the two works better for me, although I do lean more towards the handwritten route. So I’m going to look at why I prefer to handwrite first drafts, the advantages and some of the drawbacks.
Bear in mind, this is all subjective and only subject to my experiences.
- First and foremost, I appreciate the freedom of it. All you need is a notebook/pad and a pen/pencil, which you can take anywhere with you.
- If you’re hopping about within your story, you can start a new page, instead of having to open & save a new document.
- There’s often fewer distractions with handwriting. I’ve lost count of the number of times, a squirrel of a new email or notification has pulled my attention away from what I’ve been typing.
- You have a permanent copy, in case your computer shuts down or some such. I had a situation about a few weeks ago where I found that through some kind of devil’s trickery (or just me not paying attention), I’d accidentally deleted the most recent word doc versions of at least one short story and replaced it with older versions. So, I still have my original version available to recreate it.
- The very act of typing it up can be considered a revision and a second draft.
- The main disadvantage, at least for me, is keeping track of what’s written where and making sure that everything has been transcribed. Which, I suppose could have been why I got my draft documents mixed up. Or I’m just careless/easily confused.
- It’s easier to keep track of word count in electronic form.
Anyways, for the time being at least, that’s why I’m mostly hand-writing my new writing.