I have never seriously written a diary before(not even tried casually). I am required to write a diary for my work as Intern and later report it. I think they would prefer a soft version but I can also write a Hard version and later scan it to report it(maybe).

My question is, If I want to start seriously writing a diary, which mode(Hard or Soft) should I consider?(both? maybe...) What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Is soft/hard preferable over other for technical purposes contrary to writing diary about life?

I am kinda skeptical because of the rapid ongoing technology revolution and if you are aware the "Internet of Things" revolution in its infancy for which Google, Amazon, Facebook are preparing heavily. The point is, in coming years remaining soft is gonna be the "thing".

  • It's not clear what you mean with Hard or Soft diary. I assume from your question, that you ask if you keep your diary on paper or as software. But it isn't completely clear and you might want to edit your question, so that it is easy to understand.
    – Mnementh
    Jun 17, 2015 at 11:15

4 Answers 4


Coming from a science background: People prefer hardcopy lab notebooks (which are a kind of diary) because they don't trust softcopy. It is too easy to retcon with softcopy. There is software specifically written for making lab notebooks that prevents that kind of thing, but nobody trusts it because people are generally pretty stupid about change. (Yeah, even scientists. Go figure.) However, the digital age is upon us, and change is being forced on people whether they want it or not. Many large labs that want to be able to search their records are changing to software-based lab notebooks.

This is a long-winded way of saying that you should do what your boss wants, regardless of which way makes more sense. If he/she is an old fogey who wants hardcopy, then use hardcopy. If your boss is a "latest thing" type of person, then use softcopy. If neither applies, use whatever you want.

Advantages of hardcopy: 1) Instant on, no boot-up; 2) Easy to add hand-drawn diagrams, pictures, etc.; 3) Anyone can access it, long after you're gone; 4) Can be used silently in a meeting; 5) Nobody thinks you're surfing the web.

Disadvantages of hardcopy: 1) Easy to lose taped-in stuff; 2) Your writing may be hard/impossible to read; 3) No access security; 4) Making copies is a pain in the neck; 5) Space-limited; 6) Hard to incorporate stuff you've plagiarized from the internet; 7) Old-fashioned.

  • Ha ha, "no access security". A paper book lying on a desk in your home is certainly more secure than any digital file probably saved in the cloud and mirrored by keyloggers. Sure, anyone can read it without having to brute force it first, but before they break into your home to steal it, they must know it exists and travel from China to get it. If you are important enough for anyone to care about your diary, electronic devices are about as safe as publicly posting that information on a blog. Edward Snowden would never have managed to carry a relevant amount of data outside [contd.]
    – user5645
    May 29, 2015 at 15:14
  • [contd.] I just saw a documentary where hackers got control of the elecricity network of a whole state, because they accessed blueprints of buildings and similar information through the web. Fortunately those hackers were paid by that state to find those security holes. Digital security is a myth.
    – user5645
    May 29, 2015 at 15:16
  • @what: Good points about hacking. I was mostly thinking of a work journal that you want your boss to be able to read (any time he wants, so you have to leave it on your desk). But you don't necessarily want all your co-workers to be able to pick it up and browse through it.
    – dmm
    Jun 1, 2015 at 13:00

Take the one that most easily fits in your back pocket. That way you can have access to your journal at all times.


I prefer a hard diary, you can easily maintain it. And if you want to make it soft, just take xerox of each page and bind it :p. So soft :)

But technically I don't really think these matters :) Just keep writing wherever you want to.


The answer to your question will depend on the purpose of your diary writing.

If you want to process the text for further use, a soft diary will make that much easier. If the purpose is to order your thoughts, many people find that the analog experience makes that easier (but it will certainly depend on your life style).

Writing digitally:

  • deteriorates the quality of my writing: I undo, instead of thinking carefully, and with time have lost all feel for language; I'm currently relearning the stylistic elegance I once had before the advent of personal computers in my work and private life
  • confuses my thinking: organizing myself spacially helps organizing my thoughts; files on a computer do not have an organization that is in any way related to my physical experience, so on a gut level for me they all exist in an unorganized mess, with only the top most file (the active window) visible at any time
  • is sensually unpleasant: famous Apple design notwithstanding, a computer is still an ugly piece of plastic with an overcomplex interior; a paper notebook even smells and sounds nice to write in, it is a pleasurable thing to carry around, the handwriting looks beautiful and warm (unlike the anonymous, cold typeface), and a nice pen is a tool as beautiful and simple as a hammer
  • is unhealthy: I have tired, dry, bloodshot eyes every evening, unable to focus on anything closer than an outstreched arm, and I have tennis elbow from too much typing

Digital is like living enclosed in a prothesis; analog is like holding a sunwarmed stone in your hand. Creativity will flourish.

Other people say the opposite.

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