Yep, you read that right. Writing by hand. Most people think that it is antiquated and we are in the 21st century after all. Let me give you some reasons I think it is worth a try! Welcome to Writing Encouragement Part 3! You can check out Part 1 here The Best Writing Tip You’ll Ever Hear, and Part 2 here Write For You..
Cuts down on distraction
Writing by hand really eliminates distractions for me. When I am on the computer I find myself wanting to do other things. It can start out innocent enough, but it snowballs from there. “Oh, I quick want to look up the chemical properties of gunpowder for my book. Oh look! Pinterest!” The internet is so awesome and helpful, but it is also very distracting. I find it hard to create when I have that world opened up to me. Checking emails, Facebook, or twitter. Looking at Pinterest or any other thing pulls you out of your creativity and it is often hard to go back. When I write by hand, these distractions are eliminated or at least drastically reduced. Which brings me to a benefit that ties with this one.
I also find when I am typing something instead of writing it, I get distracted and even pulled out of my creative groove by those little red and blue squiggly lines that tell me something I wrote was bad grammar or misspelled. When in the creative stage, spelling and grammar is the last thing you should worry about. Someone told me you can turn those things off in Microsoft Word, but even so, my mistakes are more noticeable to me and distract me.
It creates focus
When I have minimal distractions it allows me to focus on what I am writing. When writing by hand I get so focused on what I am doing, my siblings or parents often times have to call me several times to get my attention. I am so laser focused on putting the words in my head onto the paper and continuing the movement of my pen to form letters, words, sentences and ultimately my story.
Gets the Creative Juices flowing
There have been many studies done on the effect writing by hand with a pen and paper has on your brain. You can check out an article on Huffington Post about it here. The process and motion of writing with your hand fires up the creative side of your brain! (granted everyone is different and this doesn’t always work. But it is worth a try!) Writing by hand definitely triggers that creativeness in my mind. It’s like the wheels in my brain start turning and it totally starts creating.
Easier to review and compare
This one is a big one for me. When I type stuff up on the computer, it gets kind of lost and muddled. Especially when I am working on something like an outline. When I am writing it, I am constantly flipping back and forth from previous pages to character sketches and backgrounds, to age graphs and research. When I have a physical copy with sticky notes marking all these segments, it makes it a lot easier for me to work on these things. I also have the ability as I am writing to go back and check things for clarification so I can ensure that there is cohesiveness in my novel. For instance, I forgot a minor characters name, and I was able to flip back to the beginning of the notebook to make sure I had the right name.
It causes me to think
“When you’re writing out something, the natural inclination is to do it as quickly as possible so you can get it over with,” stated Thorin Klosowski, in a LifeHacker post on simplifying one’s life through the use of pen and paper. “Paper slows me down and forces me to think a little bit longer about what I’m doing.”
I agree with this wholeheartedly. Because there is no backspace, Writing by Hand encourages a slight pause and thoughtfulness to my writing. It makes me want to get that sentence just a little better, and fine tune that thought just a little bit more. I am not a proponent of thinking it has to be perfect on the first try, but it is a balance of excellence versus leniency. Yes, I will edit my novel, but sometimes this cuts down on editing.
Its so cool and old fashioned
This may sound silly, but there is a part of my romantic self that loves this about Writing By Hand. If you’ve watched any of the movie versions of Little Women, you may recall how Jo hand wrote all of her stories. That moment when she if finished and picks up her large stack of paper all hand written and wraps it with a red ribbon. . . Yah, you get the picture. I am a bit of a sap! LOL! I really love that sense of accomplishment. I now have 3 notebooks filled with writing of my novel and I can’t tell you how cool and special it is to see it and flip through that many pages of my handwriting. Sigh. It is just so romantic.
I would like to sum up. Writing by Hand has been an awesome experience for me. I have loved every minute of it! I do realize that every one is different and that it may not work for everyone the way it has worked for me. Everyone has a different way of creating. Whatever I do, I hope that I encourage you to create and to write!
What do you think about writing by hand?
Will you give it a try?
By God’s Grace.
P.S. If you want to check out more reading on this topic, here are some great articles that were my inspiration.