Why handwriting beats typing


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


I have made notes when reporting news, interviewing people, or drafting outlines for most of my life. In the early days, it would be shorthand. Later it would be a weird blend of English, symbols, and old shorthand. I would eventually get a tape recorder and record my interviews, but mostly as a backup. More often than not, I had a reporter’s notepad, a bunch of HB pencils, and a fountain pen on my desk.

My approach has been contrary to my peers, who took notes by typing directly on the computer. Most of them drafted their pieces on the computer as well. As a non-native English speaker, I found writing things down by hand and then bringing them into the digital realm allowed me to create better drafts.

That old habit hasn’t gone away.

In this age of visual communications, I do much of my work on Zoom. I find that when used sparingly, Zoom is quite handy. It is one click to save the conversation using its internal recording features. I have it integrated with Otter.ai, which does a passable job of transcribing those conversations. Recordings are just a backup, only to make sure I am not making any mistakes.

And even though I am no longer a reporter, I still take notes in an old-fashioned notebook. I still use the old HB pencils. I love drafting my longer pieces using a fountain pen — I have many — but I normally use a trusted old Montblanc (Read more...)