Rediscovering the Lost Art: Writing by Hand

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This post stems from the rediscovery of something that I find myself doing less and less: writing by hand. I’d love to hear how you guys approach your writing. Do you write by hand? Do you mostly use the computer?

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Rediscovering the Lost Art: Writing by Hand

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13 thoughts on “Rediscovering the Lost Art: Writing by Hand

  1. Personally, I love the idea of writing by hand. To be perfectly honest, I have my own leather bound journal and pen. If only I could read my own handwriting, I would be set 😉 I do such a better job of letting my thoughts flow from mind to virtual paper via my fingertips on a keyboard that I tend to favor the computer. However, whenever a quote or thought captures my attention, I still will grab the trusty pen and paper and jot it down. It is a lost art, and one that forces us to slow down the mind (along with the hand) to record our thoughts. There is a visceral feeling of emotions when you see your thoughts in your own handwriting on an actual piece of paper. I may just have to pick up that pen, slow down, and try it again 😉

    • Thank you for sharing! I also can’t read my own handwriting sometimes. To remedy this, I attempt to turn the notebook in six different angles in hopes that I may be able to understand it from a different perspective (this still fails). 🙂

      Leather journals are the best. At the moment, I have two Moleskines — one for my novel, the other for travel writing and journaling, etc. I like them because they’re small and easy to carry around. I was given an engraved pen for Christmas, so I guess I don’t have any more excuses. 😉

      Very true though: seeing the physical form of thought in one’s personal handwriting is an enlightening experience. As Janneke commented below (above?), her handwriting differs on the basis of how she feels. In that sense, it’s another way of representation of emotions, and I’d argue that much of this emotion is lost in the block text of a computer.

  2. Writing by hand is always more personal as (at least for me) my handwriting is not always the same, so I can see later in what state I was when writing.

    • Thanks for your input! That’s a good point. I didn’t think about the emotional states of my handwriting, but it’s true that my handwriting is definitely not always the same.

  3. Sometimes I find that the notes and ideas that I write out by hand stick in my head better. I’m a pretty quick typist and it’s easy for me to just turn my brain off and take notes like without really processing what I’m reading/hearing. I also have “reading over my shoulder” paranoia when I’m writing stories, so the fact that my handwriting is, in words of one of my best friends, “an acquired skill,” is comforting to me.

    Lately I use a sketchbook as my all purpose notebook but different coloured pens for different subjects. I’m also a big believer in doodling, so it’s nice not to be confined by lines.

    And handwriting also fills up a page faster than typing, which can give a nice feeling of accomplishment 🙂

    • Oh, great points! I also have the “reading over my shoulder” paranoia. It’s one of the reasons I never take my computer to school. Even when I write by hand — if I’m writing fiction in a public place — I practically hug the notebook to keep it from prying eyes. Not that anyone probably cares to read what I’m writing. . .

      I’m an auditory learner, so I remember things I hear. The problem is that I have to actualy be listening. So, as you said, writing by hand is one way to ensure I’m paying attention.

      Speaking of doodling — I’ve read that doodling actually helps the doodler focus. So the fact that you doodle is probably a good sign of creativity and concentration. 🙂

  4. I enjoy handwriting, but I’m more successful getting actual writing done using a computer. I do, however, use handwriting to brainstorm and plan and world build. I cannot do that on the computer, even to save my life; it doesn’t flow and I can’t seem to get my ideas out the way I need to. There’s a beautiful control about writing when using a pen. And what writer doesn’t love having a nice or favorite pen and leather bound/moleskin journal?

    I try to handwrite as often as possible, but I’ve found, probably because of today’s technology and speed of things that I write more and faster using a keyboard. But I love both.

    • Thanks for sharing your approach! It’s interesting to read the relationships that other writers have with pen and paper. I agree. There seems to be a time for the keyboard and a time for the notebook, depending on the situation. I also like worldbuilding on paper. Then I can write in different directions and connect with arrows, etc, since discovering the logic of a world rarely seems to take the straightest approach.

      • I got a whiteboard for my birthday for world building and planning in mind. It’s a brilliant way to just throw ideas down (and later copy into a notebook or take a picture of). And it’s technically handwriting, which I find beautiful collected on a whiteboard, too.

      • Love the idea. A white board also allows some visual distance from ideas — the ability to take a step back, so to say. Do you have it in a stationary place (hanging up) or do you move it around?

      • Originally my idea for it was to hang it by my bed so if I got a spark of genius during the night I could write it there real quick and expand on it in the morning. However, now that I have it, I like moving it around. Only downside is if I write or plan on it (like chapter outlines) I don’t want to erase it because it keeps me on track so I can’t use it until I’m done. (I mean I could erase it but it’s not the same as using it.)

  5. I use to only write by hand when I first started. Now, I definitely use the computer. I think back about the joy I had about writing by hand, and how the thoughts would flow differently when I was writing out a story. I think that I have more pauses now in my writing than before, but I am not sure I could go back to writing by hand. It is more time consuming overall.

    • Thanks for the comment! I know how you feel — it’s hard to get back into it, especially when typing is just so much faster. But, at the same time, it has been a nice experience.

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