If you’re ready to start journaling this year, probably your biggest question should be: paper notebook or digital app? Here are some advantages of both formats.

Paper Notebook

1. A paper notebook is more personal in that you choose the style and size of the notebook you want to write in. The notebook might actually reflect something about your personality.

2. Handwritten journals can feel more personal, and each journal entry you write becomes your personal signature.

3. Studies maintain that handwriting slows down your thinking and helps you be more reflective.

4. A paper notebook is great for art journaling.

5. A paper notebook doesn’t depend on a device that must be charged and maintained.


Digital Journaling App or Notebook

1. A digital journaling app, like Day One, includes a password lock that makes your journal more secure.

2. A digital journaling app can be more mobile, especially if it’s on your phone or digital pad.

3. Typing text is naturally easier to edit and revise.

4. A digital journal is easier to archive and backup, and the content can be exported to PDF for printing and further archiving purposes.

5. Text and pictures from other sources can be pasted into your digital journal.

6. Journaling apps, like Day One, or notebooks like Evernote, allow for tagging entries, which helps categorize your content and make it easier to review.

7. Digital apps allow for easier sharing of writing on the Internet.

8. You can type faster by using applications like TextExpander for Mac or PhraseExpress for Windows, to automatically type commonly used words and snippets of text. The voice dictation program, Dragon Dictate or DragonNaturally Speaking, is also a useful way to write.

What Works Best For

Writing coaches, Nathan Ohren and Mari L. McCarthy discuss in this podcast the advantages and disadvantages of handwriting versus typing your journals. And Mari points out, the correct format is what works best for you.

As the creator of NaJoWriMo, I admit that digital journaling is my preferred form journal keeping. But for the purposes of NaJoWriMo, I’m going to promote both formats, and encourage you to try to handwriting and digital journaling to see what works best for you.

I welcome your feedback on this topic. Which method do you favor and why? Is there a reason to keep both handwritten and typewritten journals? We’d love to get your feedback?