Writing By Hand

writing by handWhen I don’t know what I want to say, when I’m stuck in an essay or a scene or a business letter, or even when I’ve just been away on vacation and need to settle back at my desk, I always rediscover my voice by writing by hand.

Handwriting is like a fingerprint, unique to each individual; my handwriting’s lousy.

My handwriting has deteriorated in direct proportion to my keyboarding skills, which are fierce – and fast. Writing by hand slows me down, which is a good way to find my way to the page.

Writing by hand grounds me. It keeps my eyes focused on my words and my mind trained on my ideas, holding them long enough to scrawl them in ink on narrow-lined paper. The problem is that the scrawl is sometimes quite hard to decipher – even for me, even within minutes of scribbling them down.

My handwriting wasn’t always so bad. In fact, there was a time when it was quite good. And when I set my mind to it, I can write with a certain elegance – the influence of amateur calligraphy skills I once possessed.

olivetti typewriter

Before laptop computers, I owned this portable typewriter.

Even before computer keyboards took over the world, I was a typist. I once owned an Olivetti portable typewriter – the equivalent to a laptop computer – back in the mechanical age. Now, with keyboards and touch-screens, I hardly write by hand at all anymore. I even punch my grocery list into my phone. All this has allowed me to become impatient – and sloppy – with my pen.

But I still carry a pen and paper in my handbag and keep another stowed in my car. Because sometimes I’ll be overcome by an idea so fleeting and fragile it will evaporate before I could ever hunt and peck it onto the Lilliputian keypad on my phone. And I don’t like to dictate; the process of speaking makes too much noise for me to hear the words in my head.

There are two instances when I write letters by hand.

There are two instances when I write letters by hand.

And there are two instances when I force myself to write legibly: condolence cards and letters to dear ones who live far away. Handwritten notes allow two people to connect by paper and words. When the paper I write on arrives in the other’s hand, the recipient touches what I touched; asynchronously, we hug.

Ironically, once I’m back on the page – once my mind and ideas are flowing – I switch back to the keyboard, where my hands have a better chance of keeping up with my words.

Do you ever write by hand?

M. Shafer, Photo

M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin has been writing on a Mac since 1984.

137 thoughts on “Writing By Hand

  1. Like this post about writing. Because of digital world, we have actually forgotten to “write”. I too have similar thoughts about writing when you say when you are stuck with an idea in head, it helps. It definitely helps. Handwritten notes are always touching. Last year, my boss gave a hand written note praising me about my work and it definitely surpassed any recognition or money awards given by the company. Thanks for this post.

    • It seems as if handwriting carries tremendous person weight – as in the case of the handwritten note from your boss. Congratulations! Smart boss!

  2. I understand what you mean. It took me forever to make the switch to writing a blog because that meant no longer writing by hand. There is something intensely personal about handwriting, when I read my old journals I can see the emotion in my writing. I miss that.

    • Thanks for this perspective. Truth is, I first wrote this post by hand – and had to do only minor editing as I retyped it. Often, the ones I try to pound out on the keyboard take longest . . .

  3. I love writing by hand. I find it extremely helpful to get ideas out of my head on to paper. I often carry notebooks with me, despite having a smartphone, to write down ideas when they come to me.

  4. Pingback: Write by hand – Long lost habit gone with digitalization | Memorabilia

  5. I enjoyed reading your piece above. Personally I write better first drafts when I use a notebook and pen. I then tidy up/redraft on laptop. Nothing beats a handwritten letter or card so I never type anything personal.

  6. I do write by hand, but I find myself going back and forth. I’ll start a story using a pencil and a notepad, then at some point I’ll switch over to the keyboard, probably for the same reason you mentioned above…my ideas are trotting along at a goodly pace, and I need the hi-tech to keep up. I also agree that handwriting slows one down to that pace that one needs to be slowed. And too, there’s something wonderful about the sound of the pencil on paper. The best sound is fountain pen…but I haven’t gotten to that point yet. There is also that slight resistance as you write against the paper that moves you just ever so slightly into that physical aspect of writing–like the hug. Unfortunately, I agree that cursive writing is something that has diminished a good bit with the rise of technology. My mother and my sisters have beautiful handwriting. Mine is terrible, but every now and then I’ll stop and admire a particular letter that came out right! How pitiful is that? Oh, and I use only Blackwing 602 pencils.I love them. Thanks for the great post!

    • You might want to see vanderso’s comment (below) about the neuroscience of handwriting – which scientifically affirms what you already experience! Thanks for your comments.

  7. I like drafting by hand on paper. It allows more creativity like scribbleing and mindmapping at the same time which unfortunately is not possible with the standard keyboard. It certainly is faster though.

    • Yes, pen and paper allows more instant freedom, though I believe there are programs for mind-mapping for those who think better through a machine. Not me.
      Thanks for commenting.

    • Thanks for spreading the word. When I went to look at the reblog, I received a “this website has expired” message. You might want to check it out.

  8. Great piece. I think there’s something distinctly different neurologically about the thought process when writing by hand or by keyboard. I make more free associations to related ideas – that often turn out to be crucially important – when writing by hand. I vary my writing-by-hand approach depending on what’s called for. Sometimes it’s long-form paragraph; sometimes mind mapping (which is so great!); and sometimes a brainstorm “post-it note” exercise when things are really scattered or in the early thought organization process.
    But … I’m so pulled here and there that the paper stuff doesn’t stay visible and find-able for long. So I get it down on computer. If it’s more or less thought out, I use a word processor (such a silly term). If its “mind-mappy” or still fragmented in post-it notes, I use a program that I’m addicted to – OmniOutliner (for Mac). It’s not that difficult to learn the basics in Omni – but some of the more advanced features do pose a bit of a near vertical learning curve. But what Omni allows you to do so easily is move sentences and paragraphs so easily, to add an additional thought to a sentence or paragraph, to recognize that you’ve got an entire section of reasoning missing ….

    • Thanks for explaining your methods and for the info about OmniOutliner. I might try the Post-It note technique. Keep spilling ink!

    • For a long time, I printed my checks by computer. These days, I write so few, it’s cheaper to write them by hand than update the program or buy the machine-ready checks. And birthday cards? More likely emails or a Facebook post. I know, this is low but hey, this is the world as it is now. All best.

  9. I too go back and forth, for the same reasons you do – writing by hand slows me down and sometimes I need that. When I write by hand I invariably use a fountain pen, the ritual of choosing the ink (what colour will stimulate me or create the mood my scene needs, perhaps a scented ink to remind me to use all my characters’ senses) then the right pen for the ink and filling it, is all part of the meditation. If I’m really ‘stuck’ it’s often because I’m being too hard on myself so I find that if I return to using the code I developed as a child to keep my stories private I find the freedom I need to turn off that judgement because no-one could read it even if they wanted to (well, I tell myself that, it’s not a terribly secure code, I was about 7 when I made it up but I can pretend!)
    Thank you for an inspiring post!

    • Thanks for your intriguing comment. Who knew you could buy scented ink? But what a great idea! I did once use a fountain pen, but the gel-ball variety suit my impatience better – and leave my fingers less ink stained. All the best!

      • Inky fingers is most definitely a problem! In fact, I had dark red stains all over my fingers on the night of my book launch! I figure since I write suspense I can always tell people I take my research very seriously! Thanks again for a great post. ˜Darcy

  10. There are two times when I revert to writing by hand. The first is when I am out backpacking. One of its great benefits is that wilderness travel separates me from all of the miracles of modern communication. The second is when I am at Burning Man, which is where I was three weeks ago. Massive dust storms aren’t kind to electronic gadgets. My daily journal is handwritten like it used to be. And, I must say, I enjoy doing it the old-fashioned way. –Curt

    • Yes, I agree that it’s a great relief to shake free of gadgets in the wilderness – and maybe sustain that wilderness at home by handwriting with paper and pen. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Reblogged this on Just Can't Help Writing and commented:
    I could have written this post! Deborah Lee Luskin sounds like my cognitive sister. I agree with many of the comments as well. An article by a famous college writing scholar, Janet Emig, made the case in the 1980s that one reason writing works so well as a learning tool is that it involves mind, eye, and hand/body, giving information more ways to connect throughout our neural pathways–and this is doubly true for handwriting. Also, the effect generated by slowing down–time for incubation and connections to kick in–fuels creativity. And I’ll add one thing I realized when I had to retype the 500-page ms. of King of the Roses, before computers: transferring text from handwritten notebook to machine gives you the most amazing extra edit, especially for an over-writer like me; when I have to retype it, it’s a lot easier to ask, “Do I really need this?” So when you’re stuck or when you just want to see what flows out, try writing by hand. Make sure you’re in a nice place, with a pen or pencil that allows your hand and mind to flow. Enjoy!

  12. I have notebooks everywhere, but I always like to type if I’m writing a longer story or even getting stuck into my novel, because otherwise my hands can’t quite keep up with my brain and I might skip words or forget what I was going to write when I handwrite… which can end up being a bit of a disaster, to say the least. I really enjoy hand writing things, though, and like you write letters to people. There’s nothing quite like the personal touch!

    • It’s lovely to have the choice – and different tools for different tasks: keyboards for when the words fly and pens for when we’re more thoughtful – or just need that whole body engagement. Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

  13. I loved your article. I, actually, love to write with pencil and paper. Given the right mechanical pencil, and the right kind of paper, I can express myself in ways that leave me sometimes stilted by the keyboard. Often, as I transfer the written words to the computer screen, it offers the opportunity for an instant edit.
    I love what you said about the virtual hug of someone reading from the note that you’ve touched. I loved that! Thank you for that image!

    • I love mechanical pencils because they’re always sharp. I use them to edit typescript.
      Thanks for sharing your insights. All best.

  14. I usually type on my laptop but sometimes where In can’t take my laptop, I take my small notebook. It always works, write whenever you get time.

    • Good advice. As one who has suffered repetitive stress injuries, I hope you’re attentive to the ergonomics of using a laptop. Be careful! Thanks for your comments.

  15. I’ve kept handwritten journals and notes in sketchbooks for decades, and only in the last 10 years have I used a keyboard for some of the same sort of thing – and more recently for blogging. There is NO comparison between the feeling I get from re-reading things that I’ve written by hand and from things that are typed – one is like a perfectly preserved moment in time that reawakens when I see it and touch it; the other is just a record, no more.

    • Thanks for this interesting insight. I keep simultaneous journals, both pen and pixels, and now that you mention it, I find the same is true. All best.

  16. I was the letter writer in our family, pages and pages of them. My writing these days is atrocious due to arthritis in my fingers and holding a pen is painful, sometimes impossible as I cannot grip at all.
    I love the idea of “When the paper I write on arrives in the other’s hand, the recipient touches what I touched; asynchronously, we hug”. I never thought of it like that, but you’re right.
    I still make my own cards, my way of touching those I care for. They take longer to make due to the above problems, but I persevere, plus I enjoy it.
    Sadly, letter writing in particular is a dying art/pastime. The only thing I handwrite now is my shopping list (sigh)

    • I’m so sorry for the physical barrier to holding a pen. As one who’s had several hand surgeries, I understand the pain and the frustration. That said, when I have a long letter to write, I sometimes type it, then print it in a script font. It’s not the same as handwriting, but it’s legible! But I’m strictly a word person, so I think someone who can hand-make a card is an artistic genius. The recipients of yours are lucky indeed.

  17. I love writing by hand, and even have a specific notebook for all thoughts and would-be stories that pop into my head. My handwriting is messy in that one because I don’t pause to think. It’s a great way to brainstorm new ideas! I do write my book with keyboard and screen but I can’t imagine a time in my life where I won’t have notebooks handy.

    • I wonder if “messy” isn’t part of what makes handwriting so appealing, especially for those ur-drafts, where ideas are messy, too.
      Thanks for reading and commenting on the post. All best.

      • I agree, I actually quite like struggling to read my writing when I go over things again (yes, it really is that bad). It’s a sign that my ideas were flowing without me trying to restrict anything.

        You’re very welcome, all the best to you, too.

    • “Ideas can go as quickly as they’ve come” makes me think that pen and paper are really effective traps for catching these elusive and fleeting gems! Thanks for commenting.

  18. Lovely post, oddly nostalgic! I am ‘addicted’ to notebooks and use them often, or failing that odd scraps of paper for ideas to jot down. Also I enjoy sending postcards whilst travelling, my friends happy with this quaint habit. I agree birthday cards, condolence cards have to be hand written, but yes, the handwriting suffers as the majorly of work is on a keyboard. I have decided my brain is fused to work differently depending whether writing by hand or tapping away. I imagine many feel the same in today’s world.

    • Yes, I think you’ve articulated the way many of us feel: handwriting for emotion, connection, creativity and keyboarding for business and craft. Thanks for your comment.

    • And I thought writing by hand was quaint – but index cards really take me back! Thanks for your comment – and good luck getting to the last page!

  19. I write by hand all the time. My family of four lives simply, so we only own one computer device. I often find writing time by letting my kids watch a DVD on the laptop (we don’t own a TV) while I handwrite and then transcribe onto the laptop after they’ve gone to bed. My kids are also home educated, so we spend a lot of time together and I have to squeeze in writing time whenever I can. So I always have a notebook with me when we go out. Whenever they are happily occupied doing something – playing in the park, etc – out comes my notebook.

    I was without my laptop completely for three weeks earlier this summer. I thought it would be fine. I knew any editing and redrafting of ongoing projects was out of the question but I saw these three weeks as an opportunity to develop a couple of new projects. I could brainstorm and write first drafts. But as it turned out, I soon got tired of hand-writing only and I discovered that I need that mix of handwriting and word processing. As earlier comments have noted, I think the two forms of writing engage different parts of the brain.

    I’ve tried dictating a couple of times. So many thoughts swirl around in my head when I’m alone on the helm on a night sail or when I’m out walking and I have no way to write them down. I thought dictating was the answer. But (a) I’m embarrassed by the sound of my own voice! and (b) thoughts in my head simply don’t come out of my mouth the same way they come out through my fingers. My voice is clumsy and hesitant in ways that my writing and typing never are.


    • What an intriguing life you lead. As you say, the need for both pen and pixels is a common theme here – and good to know that both can be useful tools as we midwife our stories into the world. I’m with you about dictation, though for me it’s more a matter of noise. When I’m talking out loud, I can’t hear the voices in my head. I actually write in extreme quiet – in a small cabin in the woods.

    • This is an interesting take – that you find more precision with handwriting; most comments speak to the freedom to scrawl and be messy with a pen. This all goes to prove that there are as many methods for composition as there are writers. Thanks for your comment.

    • I often (but not always) start the day this way. Some days, it’s how I end it. And on occasion, I journal in the middle of the day. It’s the best way I know to regroup and find out what I need to do next. Not “prepare dinner” but some thorny narrative problem to solve or an idea to sit down and dream on.
      Thanks for your comment.

  20. For me this was something of an affirmation. The day job now requires a three hour, round trip commute by train. I’m thinking this is writing time. Looking around all the other guys, hitting the tracks running types, plugged into new technology I pull out a small laptop and try and follow suit – nothing. The creative fairy, torn tights, broken wand has abandoned me. It felt sterile, typing away, sat on the train. So the next day out came an A4 pad, and the writing frenzy began. I felt free; free to make mistakes, to scribble notes, loads of arrows, bits of overheard conversations. I am just hoping it all makes sense when I come to type it up.

    • A three-hour commute sounds brutal, but it sounds as if you’re turning it in to three hours of creative time for writing – which is fantastic. I think it was Anthony Trollope who wrote his novels while traveling by coach while working for the post office first in England and then in Ireland. So there’s encouraging precedent for what you’re doing! Thanks for your comment.

  21. I sit at a computer all day and type. So I hand write everything by hand. I write complete first drafts and in script, which I don’t use on a daily basis. For some reason, I feel really connected to the words I’m writing when they come from my own hand. Plus, I can take it with me everywhere and don’t have to worry about a wireless signal. Later I transcribe, which is fairly quickly because I type all day, and then begin the editing of the typed words. I just don’t actually write on a keyboard anymore unless it’s for my job.

    • This sounds like a good system. I think the writer Louis Auchincloss drafted his novels by hand when he arrived at the office where he worked as a lawyer. He then had a secretary type him while he turned to his work in the law. I sometimes dream of having a secretary, but in the meantime, I do pretty much what you do: start by hand, transcribe and work from there.
      Thanks for your comment – and good luck!

  22. I enjoy writing by hand and my handwriting is just as bad. I wrote everything out for a novel in a moleskin and then retyped it on a computer. It took a while to type it out. Do you find the pleasure of longhand is worth the difficulty in retyping?

    • I find writing longhand both pleasurable and necessary. I also find typing easy – and a good review of what I’ve written, especially if there has been any lapse of time between composition and transcription.
      If typing is a stumbling block for you, you might consider trying a computerized typing tutorial program to improve your speed. These are often aimed toward kids and include games, which are fun. Or, if your budget allows, hire someone to do it for you. A third possibility is to use a voice-recognition program and read(dictate) your handwritten work into text. I did this while my hands were mending from surgery.
      If you try any of these out, let me know what works. And good luck.

  23. The one thing I love is that my typing can keep up with my brain when traditional hand writing is too slow but I love that when I hand write something it can’t easily be erased. When I hand write I have to keep on going with my words until they are all out while with typing it’s so easy to just hit the back button.

  24. While I love the speed of the new age. Nothing in my life compares to writing by hand. I love paper and pens, and ink and creative tools. Calligraphy is still a joy to me. When I hand write ideas for stories etc. it is usually just a prompt so that when I get on the computer I am free to let the brain flow. I have many friends who tell me they appreciate my written greeting and a personal expression far more than an e-mail or something sent any other way. I still keep daily journals and the joy of sitting and let the pen flow is still a delight.

    • Lucky friends – to receive a handwritten note is truly special.
      It sounds as if you’ve found a happy medium between the speed of the computer and the emotion of the pen. It’s great to have options!

  25. I write by hand whenever I have a problem connecting with my characters. I like writing letters by hand, too. Just that too few people are willing to engage in that sort of exchange any more.

    • Writing by hand to connect with your characters is a great strategy. Thanks for sharing it here.
      Like you, I love letters, though these days I usually type them and send them by email.
      Thanks for your comment.

    • Because sometimes I’ll be overcome by an idea so fleeting and fragile it will evaporate before I could ever hunt and peck it onto the Lilliputian keypad on my phone. PERFECTLY STATED!

  26. Pingback: Writing By Hand | Tavis Travels

  27. All my journaling and writing exercises are done by hand–though I do have readability issues if I go too fast. Well, I like to blame it on that. I enjoy writing personal letters, but type them more often than not. I’m using a Mac now. (Love it!) At a writers conference I attended last year, we were encouraged to use Microsoft Word for submissions. Do you use MS Word, or is creating in Pages then converting it to a Word file sufficient?

    • Ah yes, those readability issues! Nevertheless, I persist in scribbling by hand.
      I’ve been using Word since it first came out for the Mac in 1984 – and have yet to see anything else that comes close to what I need – or what the world of professional writing demands. But that’s me. If you have a good system using Pages and can convert it to Word in a couple of keystrokes, why change a good thing?
      Good luck!

  28. I’ll say as a student I hardly ever took notes on my laptop. They were all handwritten. Although that probably has more to do with the way I learned to learn (I stick to the read and handwrite early learning doctrines). It switches thoo, when am writing one of my stories or essays. I can’t even imagine blogging without a keyboard or keypad. How i keep erasing after every two words. Mind you, I love pens.

  29. Thank you so much for this, and I’m sorry to not read all of the comments here. I’m so happy to know there are others who still value pen and paper! I journal by hand and carry it around with me. I write by hand on all of my holiday greetings. I write cards and letters to my friends as often as I can. I will share with them your image of the paper hug–that they are touching what I touched! Thank you! Oh and Sian Beilock discusses the neuroscience behind writing by hand and lowering test anxiety in adolescents. It’s similar data to the studies on learning retention from hand-writing vs typing class notes. 😊

    • Thanks for your comments. Like everyone else, I’ve witnessed the changes in medicine from hands-on patient care to care mediated by machines and numbers, so I can imagine how touching paper with pen could be especially satisfying to an MD. (I acknowledge a lot of assumptions about what you do, but I’m married to an MD and have seen some of this first hand.)
      And thanks for the reference to to Sian Beilock. As a teacher, I’m distracted when my students pull out their laptops to take notes. I feel as if they’ve placed a barrier between us.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • Hi Deborah,
        Thank you for your reply, and sorry for this delay! It’s interesting what you say–I know I remembered patients so much better when I used paper charts–so many more cues, and I’m sure the hand-writing helped establish personal details in my brain. Best wishes to you and your husband–may I ask what field of medicine he is in?

      • Thanks go to Catherine Chang, MD (above) for the reference. I love this aspect of “hive mind” that’s possible when we all enter the conversation. Thanks for adding to it.

      • Well, only ~ 1/2 year later … I JUST discovered the notifications tab in my wordpress account! Oh, so much to learn. Thanks for taking a lok and yes, still following your writing as you’re now moving up the alphabet with your prompts. Great way to discipline yourself in getting those posts out.

      • Hello! Better late than never! 🙂 Thanks also for reading the blog. This challenge has been easier, I think because I have a predetermined theme. It helps me orgainze ahead of time, so I’m not looking for random, unconnected topics to write on. I’m having so much fun, and I’m pretty happy with the results so far! We’re only 1/3 of the way through, though, so you never know what could happen hereafter! 😉 Best wishes to you! Are you going to the International Conference on Physician Health this fall in Boston? Here is the link:

      • Excellent – thanks for link – will look into. Are you going? I saw the theme – “Increasing Joy” and thought immediately (sardonically) “How about Decreasing Misery 1st?”

  30. I write by hand on a daily basis. Every morning, three pages. I couldn’t possibly recommend it enough. If you can make space in your life for it, it’s a practice that will serve you well in many ways. Illegibility is irrelevant, since it’s basically just cleaning out the ol’ attic. I rarely go back and read over it. But it gets the mind warmed up, clears out the clutter of dreams and yesterday’s worries, and reveals anxieties I often wasn’t aware of.
    I also always carry note paper and pens. Ideas arrive unannounced, and are fleet as hummingbirds. I don’t try to catch them, it’s useless. Just try to describe them as best I can, and hope that later I can recapture some of the beauty of those irridescent hummingbird thoughts flickering by.

    • Thanks for this wonderful image of ideas as “fleet as hummingbirds.”
      Like you, I’m a great believer in automatic writing, often first thing in the morning, along the lines of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, Anne LaMott’s “shitty first draft,” and Natalie Goldberg’s “writing down the bones.” Call it what you will, there’s a mind-heart-hand connection that really works with a pen in your hand.
      Thanks for you comment.

  31. I love writing by hand and it’s my hobby to write letters not only with occasions near or far but also everytime feel to write I will write.. Even my penmanship is not good an too small I still write.. … 😉

  32. Now, here’s an investible idea – someone should develop a software program that takes every one of your script alphabet letters, a personalized font if you will, and then, when you post something you want in original handwriting, you would actually be posting in your own – admittedly simulated – handwriting!
    …. Hmmm.
    Just looked at my notes … not a good idea.
    Never mind.

  33. Love your article. I am constantly writing by hand. More so now that I have neuropathy. It is not the neatest and sometimes it is difficult to hold a pen but I press through. It also is a way for stimulation of the brain. Thanks! You have encouraged me to keep trying!

    • Thanks for letting us know that there’s a therapeutic side to handwriting – and I’m glad you’re finding it so. I think you’ve said it best: writing by hand is a way to stimulate the brain.
      I hope it helps your condition improve. I admire your courage to “press on.” Best wishes.

  34. I, too, write by hand. My first few paragraphs are filled with lines through words, arrows pointing to inserts written in margins–so many markings that I can hardly read what I wrote. My first edit is when I type what I hand wrote. How much easier that next step is. It is when this transcription is complete that I can move forward.

    • Yes, I do the same. There’s also something intimate about the pen on the page that helps me get over the fear of its blankness. Once I have something to type into the computer, writing gets easier – and different.
      Thanks for your comment.

  35. Even with the invention of the computer, I guess I am a bit behind in the times because I still like to use pen and paper. Even though I go to school online, I find that I have to write everything out in my notebook before opening my laptop to type it into class. I guess I may just be a bit old fashioned. Which is saying a lot because I am really not that old…LOL

  36. For the past few years I have mourned over my handwriting, which has turned from a small, neat, legible style to a large, ugly indecipherable scrawl. My husband complains he can’t read the items I’ve written on the shopping list and my eyes and brain shudder when faced with a few lines of my scribble. I blame it on years of writing fast to jot down telephone messages or notes of tele conversations at the office. Just the act of putting pen to paper these days seems to give my hand a life of its own. I’m aware I’m writing too fast and illegibly but I can’t seem to stop myself. Even when I’m faced with a pristine page or a new book, which cries out for (and deserves) neat legible writing, within 2mins the Jekyll & Hyde syndrome that lurks within my fingers takes over. Yes – I still write by hand when I absolutely have to but my fingers behave a lot better when they are flying over a keyboard, furthermore, I can capture my ideas faster.

    Thank you for a great post.

    • Yes, there is something mournful about sloppy scrawl. Thanks for describing it so vividly. It’s important to keep the ideas flowing, though, so let’s not berate the keyboard, which makes that possible! Thanks for your comment.

  37. For me, it has been a habit that whatever is going to be tested in an examination, it has to come from the paper through the eyes to the brain, and that’s how i remember certain things in examinations room. Sometimes i do not remember what i read but i recall what i wrote and my handwriting

    • Yes, it’s the same for me, and I think this is what the science is proving. It may not just have to do with handwriting, however; there’s some evidence that merely “retelling the story” of whatever one’s trying to learn is how we incorporate new information. So it could be verbal – or musical, visual, etc. Thanks for your comment.

  38. I always carry a notebook and a diary with me. I don’t carry my laptop most of the times, unless I really need to. The notebook is for all the random ideas, thoughts and muses that cross my mind related to my research work at the University, about the stuff I read or experience….whereas the diary is my daily journal plus my daily to-do-lists. And like you too, my handwriting is lousy but I still make do. Sometimes, in my notebook, there are just sketches which I turn in to write-ups or papers later sometime.

  39. Reblogged this on SELLING ATL and commented:
    Yes and I’m usually called upon by others because I have such great cursive writing skills. However cursive writing seems to be a thing of the past. My daughter’s school doesn’t even teach it anymore. Times have changed.

    • When my kids were in school, they dropped cursive for keyboarding. Instinctively, they’ve all developed a hybrid print-script that’s idiosyncratic but legible. Times have changed. I try to take a deep breath and get with the program. It’s either that or feel old while the world passes me by.
      Thanks for the reblog.

  40. Creativity flows endlessly when I write with my hand. Ideas freely transforms wondrously. Such instance that “at times” not possible when faced blankly at the computer screen.

    • Thanks for affirming what so many say: they are able to write more creatively with pen and paper than with a keyboard and computer. All best.

  41. I have terrible handwriting. But, I write my books and blogs in longhand. I don’t feel creative at the computer. After writing my draft, first round revisions begin as I enter my work into the computer.

  42. “Handwritten notes allow two people to connect by paper and words. When the paper I write on arrives in the other’s hand, the recipient touches what I touched; asynchronously, we hug.” – I love that, thank you for bringing the feeling of magic back to the pen for me!

  43. Hello Everyone, in reading all of the post – it’s good to see that I am not alone. I too prefer to write with paper and pen and I carry a journal with me, with a 2 subject notebook so that I can separate the task at hand. My hand writing is fair. So here’s to keeping the magic of two great passions!

  44. Nice essay. I don’t know…it sort of happened by accident but in 2005 after sighing about a thousand books in three weeks, I swear to God, my handwriting was DESTROYED. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night to write that certain something down that held so much meaning, I wake up in the morning and can’t read a damn thing I wrote. Naturally, I can’t remember anything either…it’s HELL getting old!

  45. Pingback: How Peaceful the Disconnected Life Can Be | Live to Write – Write to Live

  46. Pingback: Recent Readings – Deanna Discusses

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