Did you know that writing with pen and paper has benefits? I didn’t either until I read today’s article by guest blogger, Rachel Bartee. Keep reading for why it’s a good idea to purchase a stack of pens and a notepad!
Writing is not something you do just because you’re expected to submit a report, article, or anything else at school or work. It’s time to put this activity into new perspective: as an investment in your intellectual growth.
In our digital era, the practice of writing seems to have changed, not necessarily in a positive direction. When you want to write something, you simply look for information online and you paraphrase it to compose something that expresses your own opinions. The genuine practice of writing differs from that routine.
When people write down the ideas that come from deep within, the process activates a broad network of regions in the brain, which work together in a symbiosis. Researchers from the University of Greifswald in Germany found that the brain became very active during the creative process of writing. During copywriting, the brain did not show such an activity.
This leads us to a conclusion: it’s important to maintain a regular writing practice in order to support the creative processes in the brain. But, what kind of practice are you supposed to commit to?
If you’re into research, here is another study for you to consider: researchers from UCLA found that students who took notes in longhand achieved much better results than the group of students who used laptops to take notes by typing.
At one point, the scientists told the students who used laptops not to transcribe the lectures word-by-word, but the students failed to show some creativity. This experiment showed that the computer led people to mindless processing. Ink-and-paper writing, on the other hand, supports brain processes beyond mere hearing and recording information.
Handwriting: the Ultimate Writing Exercise
There are several reasons for you to go back to the old-school pen-and-paper method:
- Handwriting activates thinking processes. It makes everything easier to remember, since it stimulates the brain to think while writing.
- Although it takes more time to write the same sentence in handwriting when compared to typing, you shouldn’t perceive that as a disadvantage. In fact, it’s the perfect time you need for thinking as you write. Researchers found that note-taking with a pen gave people a better grasp of the presentation they were listening to.
- Handwriting keeps your brain sharp. Since you have the time to form a visual impression of the things you write by hand, it’s easier for your mind to process and memorize more data.
- Handwriting is important for cognitive development. A 2012 study showed that handwriting had an important influence over the brain activation when compared to typing. It is crucial for the early letter processing that leads to successful reading.
- Writing on paper develops your fine motor skills. People with beautiful handwriting have impressive control over their hands.
- One of the greatest benefits of handwriting is its autosuggestion effect. Do you remember how Bart Simpson had to write autosuggestions on the chalkboard? Well, the technique works. When you repetitively write down sentences like “I will work harder" or “I will stay calm," the suggestions tend to stick into your subconscious levels.
From Practice to Progress
Here are few methods that will help you introduce handwriting practice back into your life:
- Get a lovely notebook and a great pen. You can write about your daily experiences, but don’t limit your practice there. When you’re writing in cursive, you have an opportunity to explore the ideas, thoughts, and feelings deep inside. Give yourself a random topic for thinking and write something on it.
- Write notes by hand! Evernote is such a lovely app; it allows you to capture your ideas at any moment of the day or night. Be honest, though: do you really remember the ideas you note down in the app? Do you review them from time to time? If you try writing them in a notepad, they will stick in your memory. Try this practice for a day and you’ll immediately notice a difference.
- It’s not possible to write everything in cursive. However, you can still maintain a handwriting practice that will keep your memory sharp. As a writer for EduGeeks Club, I have to present my work in print or as an electronic document. Still, I spend at least 15 minutes a day writing random entries in a simple notebook. I write down quotes I found impressive, ideas I would like to work on, or deep thoughts about something that inspired me.
- If you get stuck when typing projects, try going through the writer’s block with handwriting. Take your notebook and think: at what point did you get stuck? Write a brief review of everything you’ve written so far, and try to think of different alternatives for proceeding with the content. You can map out the goal different directions will guide you to. Then, choose one of those plans, and it will be easy for you to carry on.
Handwriting is not only for hipsters, you know. People have always been doing it not only because they didn’t have technology back then, but because they knew it was beneficial for their intellectual growth. We don’t want to lose that legacy. Get a nice notebook and start filling it page by page, every single day.
About the Author
Rachel Bartee is an educator and a freelance writer at Edugeeks Club who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her life. She feels inspired by her morning yoga and creative writing classes she is currently attending.
Will you begin a daily writing practice after reading this article?