Using our keyboards saves us lots of precious time, but writing by hand has lots of benefits
I have never been the sort of person who can just type up a whole essay. At school or uni, I always had lots of little notes and post-its that came together to form my ideas and essays in a notebook and then I would add to them with post-its before I typed them up. I still do the same with my blog posts.
Even when I am having trouble with what to say or with a letter I always write a letter by hand first. Our handwriting is a fingerprint and is unique to each of us, thankfully I can read mine. In my work, I can say that I can’t always say that I can read the doctors writing.
“Fall in love with your chicken scratch. Accumulate pages, not judgements” – Amber Rae I often found it hard to start writing in my notebooks because I didn’t want to damage them but you have to just start using them that is what they are for.
I have noticed the more some people type the more their handwriting deteriorates. When someone takes the time to hand write it is more clear, lavish and special. Sometimes receiving that handwriting note is really nice.
When I write by hand my brain keeps up with my hand and my ideas flow more logically. There is research available that shows if children know how to write by hand they learn to read faster. They are also better at retaining and coming up with new ideas. When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated. There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain. By taking notes by hand you can learn faster and better.
I try to always carry a pen and notepad in my bag. It means that when I have an idea I can capture it quickly rather than waiting to type it out. Make notes of quotes, ideas, thoughts and sketches.
Despite having a smartphone and a laptop (I did use to have a tablet that I never used). I mostly take notes in paper form. People who take digital note will say that I am slower because I have to re-type the notes later, but by handwriting them I find that the information is better retained and processed. The logical theory of repetition comes into play. Going over what was said and what I wrote increases that understanding and the long-term recall.
I have just invested in a moleskine smart writing tablet. I am very excited. It suggests that because we live, work and play in parallel between analogue and digital worlds that the Moleskine tablet will allow us to connect our ideas between these analogue and digital lives. The set has a beautiful Moleskine notebook and pen. The trick is that digitises the notes that you take in the notebook making it easy to edit, share and store them on your phone or laptop. You just let the moleskine notes app do the syncing. I will let you know how it all goes.
If you are not a hand writer give it a go and get back into it. Carry that notebook around with you. Jot a few ideas down and see how you go. You might rediscover something that you used to love