I was asked last week whether it’s best to draft out an email longhand, or write straight into a word processor.
I like the idea of writing longhand, but you have to consider time constraints. It’s usually best to write under some sort of time pressure, to stop you waffling or getting distracted. For me, writing these emails longhand would simply take too much time.
I’ll sometimes plan out an email longhand; especially an important email. In Nurture Email Mastery I teach people Sean D’Souza’s technique of creating a timeline. There’s also no reason why you can’t create a mind map, with your ‘one idea’ for the email at the centre of the map.
I do write out my journal entries longhand. I take photographs of them, and add the photos into Evernote. Very few of my journal entries make it anywhere near these emails. For me, journaling is more of a head clearing exercise.
Most of these emails begin life as a note in Evernote, perhaps with some brief outline notes. If it’s an important email I’ll sometimes plan the email on paper, possibly drawing a timeline. After that it’s a race to draft as quickly as possible, before time runs out.
I can only talk about what works for me, but at some point you just have to shut off all distractions and get the writing done electronically.