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5 Key Benefits of Handwriting to Enhance Your Creative Journey

Benefits of Handwriting

Benefits of Handwriting

In today’s digital era, where keyboard typing is the norm, the benefits of handwriting is often disregarded as an outdated skill. However, the advantages of handwriting go much further than the mere convenience of writing with pen and paper. The focus of this blog post is to explore the profound implications of handwriting on creativity, memory, and overall cognitive involvement.

Uncover the reasons why dedicating time to handwriting can revolutionize your creative journey, including enhanced brain connectivity and deeper creative concentration.

Contents

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Enhanced Brain Connectivity

Enhanced Brain ConnectivityHandwriting has been shown to increase connectivity in the brain more than typing, especially in regions associated with learning and memory. This could imply that handwriting aids in deeper understanding and retention of material​ (Frontiers for Young Minds)​.

Whenever I come up with a story idea, I get very excited. I can feel a rush in my body just aching to write. It feels even better when I have a fresh notebook and pens in front of me ready to write. I personally love the 5 Star notebook and the pens I use are Pilot G-2 05 tip. The sharpness of this tip is just chefs’ kiss when I write.

Now, I need to balance my writing sessions between handwriting and typing to maximize brain connectivity and learning. Again, before I ever get into my story, I’ll get my fresh notebook and pen and begin writing the concept of the story. The beauty of writing the concept in the notebook is how fast I write everything out. My brain is spilling onto the pages with all of these ideas. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad, I’ll adjust after the handwriting session.

Whenever I do this, I have to schedule myself and dedicate an entire day to handwriting alone. If I do both handwrite and type on the same day, I’ll feel overwhelmed and eventually burnout. I like to have my ideas marinate on the pages. It also gives me a chance to think about what I wrote about and see if I should add more or eliminate some ideas.

I allocate specific days solely for handwriting, allowing ideas to flow freely and unfiltered. This practice helps me capture the initial rush of creativity without the pressure of immediate organization or editing, which is essential for maximizing brain connectivity and learning.

Better Memory Recall

Better Memory RecallWriting by hand helps in retaining information more effectively. Research suggests that the act of handwriting engages brain processes that aid in learning and memorization. For example, students who take notes by hand tend to remember more than those who type their notes​ (Frontiers for Young Minds)​​ (Science News)​.

Believe it or not, my first experience with memorization, thanks to handwriting, took place during my time at John Jay College. However, it was during my last semester in 2017 when I majored in forensic psychology at the time. One specific course I took was the Brain and the Mind, a neuropsychology course. I have a love for neuropsychology but it’s straight up informational and memorization. Luckily, I had an amazing professor who was very easygoing and tried to make the course fun.

I decided to test myself and put to use to the multi-color pens I got with my pen set of the Pilot G-2. They came in Black, Blue, Red, Green, and Purple. Each color was used for different reasons. For example,

  • Black was used for labeling such as new vocabulary or terms
  • Blue was used for descriptions such as definitions or information
  • Red was used for underlining to highlight importance
  • Green was used for keywords or examples to help better understand definitions
  • Purple was used for numerals, numbering or any use of numbers that was important

When I write concepts for stories, I would use these colored pens for similar purposes. Everyone is different in how they use certain colors for certain things.

However, after dedicating my day to handwrite my concepts and the next day, I’m ready to type. And even then, ideas still come. I’d take a smaller notebook for quick notes and jot them down there. I don’t want to make a mess in the larger notebook with random notes just in case they don’t fit. Always stay organized with your notes otherwise, if it gets messy, you’ll lose track as you type.

This method of using different colors for various types of notes during my college years has carried over into my story-writing process. This technique not only aids in memory recall but also helps in organizing thoughts systematically, which is particularly useful during the transition from handwriting to typing.

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Increased Creativity and Processing

Increased Creativity and ProcessingWriting by hand connects you more directly with your words, potentially enhancing creativity. It allows the brain to focus on and process each word as it is written, which can foster a deeper creative connection and thought development​ (Psychology Today)​.

As soon as I write the first word in the notebook, my imagination starts to run wild. I actually get overwhelmed with ideas that I wish I could write fast enough to jot them down. There is definitely a difference when I first handwrite versus first type. Whenever I first TYPE, my mind tends to drift off after a while. But when I first handwrite, I am met with all of these thoughts I never would have thought.

The type of content that would lead me to start handwriting is simply jotting down the concepts. I would write out my characters, give them a quick bio (two to three lines), discuss the settings and themes that I aim for, important scenes. It sounds messy, but once you get used to handwriting, you’ll come up with a structure that’ll help you.

As I said before, dedicating an entire day to handwriting will be more beneficial as you allow your brain to spill onto the pages. Also, it is best to keep an open mind when jotting down these ideas. What I mean is you might come across a bad idea as your writing, but you never know that the idea might somehow be beneficial later part in the story or for another story. Save every idea as much as possible.

Handwriting at the outset of a project stimulates your imagination more vividly than typing. This initial phase of handwriting is critical for developing the foundational elements of your stories, such as character bios and plot outlines, and allows for an organic evolution of ideas.

Motor Skills and Cognitive Engagement

Motor Skills and Cognitive EngagementThe physical act of writing utilizes motor skills and cognitive resources differently than typing. By engaging a unique set of neural pathways, handwriting may contribute to better conceptual understanding and cognitive development​ (Science News)​.

As long as there are no distractions and in a quiet and comfortable space, handwriting will influence cognitive engagement. For me, I have to be in a quiet space, closed doors, no one to distract me and leave a note on my door to prevent interruption. Reasons are it will lead to procrastination and burn time without any progress being made.

With these best practices in mind, the level of focus and understanding jumps significantly. My brain is actively engaged in the writing process the more a write. Granted, your hands might be sore, so it’s best to take a break every now and then to relax those muscles so you can continue writing.

What’s even better is once you have your notes jot down, you’ll feel more confident in your writing when you type. You’ll see a huge difference as you’re typing your story on a brand new document while following your notes. The flow is much smoother. Keep in mind, though, your notes are not your first draft. I consider note taking a pre-draft before your first draft. The first draft becomes official after the initial story is completed before editing.

Also, try your best NOT to edit as you write your first draft. You can dabble here and there, but in my opinion, I have a better experience when writing out the story in its entirety. I’ll dedicate editing the next week.

I emphasize the importance of a distraction-free environment for handwriting, which supports deep cognitive engagement. This setting helps maintain a high level of focus, which is crucial for the complex task of developing a narrative.

Flexibility and Cognitive Ease

Flexibility and Cognitive EaseWriting by hand offers flexibility that is sometimes restricted by digital devices. It can be done anywhere and allows for a more personal and reflective process. This might not only enhance the intimacy of the writing experience but also ease cognitive load, allowing for better expression and idea development​ (Writing Stack Exchange)​.

If I plan to write a new story concept or draft ideas for a planned story, I’ll buy a new notebook, a 5 Star spiral notebook, and go to a local café where I can start to write. I could go home, but the change of environment does help ease away distractions. At home, there are so many things that can easily grab my attention. It could be the TV, my dogs, cleaning up, or anything I lay my eyes on, really. The only potential distraction I’ll get at a café is my phone that I usually have in my pocket or people attempting to have a conversation, which is rare.

In these environments, when the weather is much nicer, I like to sit outside and hear the nature. I could be at a park sitting on the grass under the sun and just write my ideas. Be careful when you do this, as it can cause pain at the back of your neck. Be sure to stretch it every now and then. Take in the beauty of your surroundings too, as it can help with relaxation. Less stress also helps with writing ideas better.

The flexibility of handwriting allows you to change your physical writing environment, which can stimulate creativity. Writing in various locations, such as cafes or parks, not only provides new stimuli but also helps in maintaining a fresh perspective, crucial for creative writing.

If you need to improve in your handwriting, consider this book to help you. The Lost Art of Handwriting Workbook by Brenna Jordan.

Final Thoughts

The detailed explanations reinforce the importance of incorporating handwriting in writing. It’s evident that handwriting not only enhances creativity and memory recall but also serves as a powerful tool for cognitive engagement. I have established a structured writing regimen that involves setting aside specific days for handwriting, using color-coded notes for organization, and selecting stimulating environments. This practice not only leverages the fundamental benefits of handwriting but also personalizes my creative process.

The balance maintained between handwriting and typing demonstrates a nuanced understanding of how different stages of the writing process can benefit from different tools. This approach is not only practical but also adaptive, allowing you to capture the raw energy of initial ideas through handwriting and then refine these ideas through typing.

Furthermore, this method serves as an inspiring example for other writers who might be looking to deepen their engagement with their work or break through creative blocks. Writing by hand, feeling the pen on paper, can reignite a writer’s passion for their craft, making the writing process as satisfying as the end result.

In a digital age where screens dominate, these practices are a reminder of the value of returning to basics and the potential of handwriting to enhance cognitive functions and creative expression. This balance of old and new school techniques could be vital for writers looking to harness their best work.