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Handwriting vs. the Computer

The modern age has brought a movement away from writing with pen and paper. Younger people may look upon it as “old fashioned,” and perhaps there is a certain amount of truth to that. Yet studies have shown the benefits of writing by hand instead of typing on a computer.

There are other reasons why pen/pencil and paper may work better. It can be far more convenient to write by hand than with a computer, even though it may seem counterintuitive. Most of the posts for this blog, for example, have initially been handwritten. The original reason was that dragging my computer around the city of Boston is often inconvenient. But since, then I’ve discovered many benefits.

I can be more productive by handwriting. Most of the posts are more about creative writing than technical writing. Creative writing, for me at least, seems to work better and faster when writing by hand. Our brains seem to be wired to do this. There are, of course, the added health benefits of not contorting your body to use a computer, as well as repetitive-stress injuries from typing.

Writing while on the train.I also like being able to get away from my typical work areas when writing. It is easier for me to avoid distractions and get my work done. Working on the train, for example, allows me to concentrate more easily as there are fewer distractions then my usual environment.

Once my posts are written, I often type them out in a group into individual word processor files. (This allows me to have a backup of all blog posts in the event of some catastrophic failure of my website.) Then I can upload them to the website and add the images, setting them to go live on schedule.

For major works or technical writing (like a journal article), it may be easier to type directly into a computer. But you might consider a combination of the two. Write out “story” sections or sections that require more creative writing by hand, then type them in (being certain to insert all necessary reference citations).  Then add the technical sections (such as children’s lists, numbering, etc.) by typing them directly into the file.

Consider returning to “old-school” handwriting in your work. You may surprise yourself with how much easier it is to write and how productive you can be this way!

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