This post was most recently updated on August 30th, 2023
[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
In our daily lives, I acknowledge that we spend a lot more time tapping at a screen and typing on a keyboard than writing by hand. It’s rare to see anyone carrying around a pen and paper anymore. The mini-computers in our beds and the larger ones at our desks have made physically jotting things down feel almost pointless.
A few days ago, my mom suddenly asked me, “Do you have a sharpener?”
It’s been forever since anyone’s actually brought this up to me. Yep, I still do the old-school handwriting thing, although I’m mostly rolling with a pen or a mechanical pencil. Funny thing is, I’ve kinda realized that handwriting is like chilling at the number one spot on the list of “endangered” human activities. It’s like on the verge of becoming ancient history pretty soon, you know?
After I wrapped up college, I actually got back into the groove of writing by hand. It’s funny how during my college days, pretty much everyone was all about using their smartphones to jot down notes. The whole pen-and-paper thing seemed kinda old-school compared to the snazzy tech that saved time, saved space, and made everything seem lightning fast.
You know how our lives are all tangled up with smartphones and computers? They’ve practically muscled in and taken over stuff we used to do the old-fashioned way, like writing. But hold up – while we’re totally diving into this digital world, there are actually a few good reasons why we shouldn’t totally ditch good ol’ handwritten stuff just yet.
Does writing by hand still offer anything useful? Why bother writing something down in a place where you may lose it when it could get backed up on the cloud and exist forever?
So, get this: Researchers tasked 42 people with the mission of learning the Arabic alphabet from scratch. But get this – they split them into three groups: one was scribbling it on paper, another was tapping it out on a keyboard, and the last group was just watching video lessons. Now, 42 people might not be an enormous group for a study like this, but the vibes from this research show that good old pen and paper still pack a punch in learning. Even with all the digital hype taking over, it turns out the traditional way isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.
There are a lot of benefits to writing by hand that you can’t get by typing or touching screens. However, what I write here is not an argument against typing. We all have to adapt to these modern tools in our lives. But, we must respect the benefits of handwriting, as it’s so valuable to our mental state of mind. Here are the scenarios that suit typing or writing:
The scenarios that suit typing: because it’s easier to fix and edit backup type word, typing is very convenient for writers who write bulky material or translator who has tight submission deadlines. It’s also perfect for work that needs to be decently edited and securely stored, like what bloggers or content writers do.
The scenarios suit writing by hand: This is best when you’re note-taking during a lecture or watching a video tutorial. Nowadays, I spend an hour watching motivational videos on YouTube and then writing down important things. I need to have an abstract understanding of the content and get the most out of the learning process.
For you who read this, go through your day and see if there are possibilities to integrate writing by hand into your routine.
Writing by hand improves learning
Writing stuff down on paper kind of demands your full-on focus, right? Back before computers became a thing in my life, putting pen to paper was like a memory workout. But now with tech, we can stash away tons of info in all sorts of ways. The catch, though, is that it doesn’t really give our minds that conscious workout that comes from jotting things down.
The more we write something, the possibility of learning increases. When writing, we process information and reframe it in our own words. And if we manage to repeat this process often, we train our learning skills in the best possible way.
Speaking of which, watching Game of Thrones actually hammered home the fact that our brains are like super-duper tools – crazy strong and adaptable. They’re like these speedy machines that can bounce around in time, remembering stuff from the past and the present all at once. It’s pretty wild how we can recall things that went down way back when and stuff that’s happening right now.
Our minds are like those little nudgers, always pushing us to catch up with our ideas before they slip away into nothingness. So, just let it all flow – every thought that comes to mind. The words become this sort of map that leads you to set your inspiration free, especially when you’re scribbling away in your leather journal or flipping through a monthly planner with those blank pages, ready for your thoughts to roam.
Writing by hand is a form of therapy
I’ve found a solid groove by jotting down my daily and weekly plans – it’s like a secret to keeping my mind chill. Instead of waiting around for happiness to randomly show up in my thoughts, I’ve realized that putting pen to paper works wonders. Think of it as your personal therapy session. Whenever those down or anxious feelings creep in, let your handwriting be the thing that pulls you back to a better place.
When you’re feeling angry or sad about something, materializing your thoughts by writing in your journal can be a great therapy to overcome fears and be calmer against bad situations. By writing them down and connecting the words, you can also process a problem more easily.
Scientists believe that through the exchange of ideas, we reach a high level of self-consciousness, which helps us to express our inner self, see the best and worst versions of ourselves, and even accept our true identity.
Writing by hand ensures that our to-do lists will get done
Write your to-do list in a simple checklist and try to follow the order by ticking whatever has been completed. That’s an effective way to be organized and stick with our routine. Writing by hand is a distraction-free type of writing. Typing usually involves the usage of a device that is probably connected to the internet.
More often than not, if you are using a smartphone, you probably spend your time jumping from one app to another or from Twitter to Instagram. Shutting out distractions and maintaining focus are essential to professional translators.
Writing by hand helps deal with writer’s block
So, when you’re not really feeling that internal drive, you can grab a journal or any old paper and just start scribbling stuff down. And here’s the cool part: handwriting has this sneaky way of giving you a leg up over typing. It’s like a secret weapon for when you’re not totally motivated. Plus, when you’re putting pen to paper, you’ve got this total freedom to go wild and mold your words however you fancy. It’s not like using those word apps, where you’re stuck with certain dimensions for things like infographics.
Writing by hand feels more like creating art
When you sketch out that letter M, it’s like your hand leaving its mark. And you know what’s cool? As you keep writing, those letters start teaming up to become words and sentences. But here’s the kicker: when your ink meets the paper, it’s like this secret signal to the part of your brain that loves pictures. And hey, you’re not alone – I totally dig adding a pop of artistic flair to my planner too, using a highlighter to jazz things up and make it all neat and eye-pleasing.
Writing by hand makes it feel more real
Think about the last time you received a handwritten card in the mail. Thinking back, I can’t recall getting any handwritten cards for like, 7 or 8 years now. The last time that happened was probably around 2014 when my buddy sent me a birthday card. Wasn’t that just the sweetest? There’s something about it that makes it feel extra significant, you know? Like, it’s got this special vibe to it that’s hard to put into words.
That friend of mine, well, she actually wrote that card a few days ahead of time before I got it. She went all old-school, picking out the paper and pen and everything, and then she put her thoughts into words. And you know what’s wild? She even included stuff like “since you’re always into paper and notes, I thought this big pencil case could be useful somehow.” I mean, who would’ve thought, right? There’s this kind of vibe in her handwriting – this energy – and it’s like my body just knows it when I see it.
Didn’t you just feel a whole lot more emotion in those lines than in all the emails that flooded your inbox in the past month? It’s like even birthday cards have jumped ship to the email world now. But, at least we’re still holding onto handwritten cards for wedding gifts and sympathy messages. Why’s that? Because we crave those occasions to be real, extraordinary, and meaningful – they’re the ones we want to stand out in our lives, you know?
So remember: when you love something, you write it by hand.
Sure, for millennials, putting pen to paper might seem a tad old-school. But here’s the thing: It’s not really about speed or convenience. The real deal is that handwriting packs a punch when it comes to benefits for our body, mind, behaviors, and how we react to things.
No need to go all radical and ditch your smartphones in favor of handwriting – it’s not an either-or situation. Just snag yourself a planner or a customized journal and make it your go-to life organizer. From chores at home to your cleaning routine, meal plans, personal reflections, to-do lists, and even brainstorming sessions – it’s all fair game. This way, you’re giving your hand and mind a solid workout while also keeping your life on track.
If you like to write by hand or have experienced these or other benefits, I’d love to hear from you!