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No. 188

My First Take on the Pros and Cons of Analog Writing

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Issue No. 188

Scott P. Scheper
One American Plaza
Downtown San Diego, CA

Monday, 3:16 pm

Dear Friend,

Today I'll be picking up where I left off in Issue No. 186.

As you may recall, I switched from digital notes to analog notes. Obsidian stood as the fantastic piece of digital software I was using at the time. Notecards took Obsidian's place. Yet, I continued to use Obsidian for my daily writings.

A few weeks went by. Then one day, I decided to explore the idea of switching to analog for my daily writings. I decided to list out the pros and cons of analog vs. digital. Here they are below:

My Pros and Cons of Analog for Writing:[1]

Cons of Analog (for writing)

  1. Cannot quickly search all files for keywords. Yet, to be fair... I very rarely even do this now with Obsidian. Maybe once per week, and in that case, it's not even that valuable. Note: If I didn't have search functionality, it'd force me to review material I've already written. Not a bad thing at all for some of my lazy-ass tendencies!
  2. Misses out on training me to write quickly and freely via keyboard; (though to be fair, is this a bad thing? It may be good to slow down. Writing by hand takes more time. Writing by hand makes you think before you write) (Because it takes so much more time to write).
  3. Cannot share and publish easily online (though, who even wants half-developed info? It's better to publish publicly a work that has already been deeply processed and structured). What I mean by this centers on the nature of notes you typically find published online. It's primarily gibberish for anyone other than its creator.[2] Just information, not knowledge. Knowledge is processed and structured information. People desire knowledge.

Pros of Analog (for writing)

  1. Simple.
  2. Less distractions.
  3. Makes use of my beautiful pens (lol)
  4. More freedom and creativity (can draw quickly freehand)
  5. Past success (in college where I wrote by hand)
  6. Academic research backing the improved understanding and learning by writing by hand.[3]
  7. Constraints breed creativity (principle)
  8. Feynman: "Thinking is Writing" principle[4]

These were the pros and cons I wrote a short time after switching to analog. The pros list now is more extensive. I now realize the cons are not even cons.

You will be learning more about this soon.

If you care to create genius-level work built to last 200 years, you're going to want to hang around.

Until then,

Always remember...

To stay crispy, my friend.

Monday, 4:39 pm


  1. Mind you, I've copied this from my private notes (on actual paper). The italic text is straight from my writings at the time. The other regularly styled content is some context I'm providing now. ↩︎

  2. See: This example. It's interesting, but... yeah. However, there are very good note-based websites that have useful information. There are some that are helpful——significantly helpful, even. For instance, this website by a data scientist named Thi. It helped me figure out a problem with setting up a Markdown Plugin. I was trying to get my website to render footnotes properly. Was screwing around for an hour. A random section on Thi's website helped me figure it out. Thanks, Thi! Yet, I must say, it is very rare for one to keep such detailed and extensive notes. His are assembled in a way wherein it's almost as if he's built a full-fledged website; not merely digital notes. ↩︎

  3. Mueller, Pam A., and Daniel M. Oppenheimer. "The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking." Psychological Science 25, no. 6 (June 1, 2014): 1159–68. ↩︎

  4. "No, no! They aren't a record of my thinking process. They are my thinking process. I actually did the work on paper." Residential Systems. "How Writing Improves Our Thinking," June 15, 2020. ↩︎


Scott P. Scheper