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If you’ve been on the blog long enough, you’ll know that I’m always looking for new and fun ways to become a better writers and different tools to use. Well, today I’m going to do a little rewind for you guys and tell you that my number one way for making my ideas flow a little better doesn’t have anything to do with any fancy tech or inspirational program or anything! In fact, my favorite way to get a ton more words on the page is something I bet all of you guys can do right. Now.
Pick up a pencil or pen and a piece of paper and that’s it!
In the age of technology and special writing programs like Scrivener, we’ve forgotten just how helpful it is to handwrite, as it’s the original medium of writing! Here’s a few reasons why handwriting will be the greatest decision you’ve made since deciding that chocolate was awesome (or any big decision, really!)
IT FORCES YOUR MIND TO SLOW DOWN
This is one of the main reasons that I hear people don’t handwrite. For one, handwriting is usually a lot slower than typing, even if you’re writing in cursive. That being said, unless you’re doing NaNoWriMo, the whole point of writing isn’t to get it done quickly. Good writing takes time, which is why I find handwriting so helpful. Even if you find you can’t keep up with your thoughts as you’re writing, handwriting makes your mind slow down to your hand, making yourself have more cohesive and understandable thoughts to write down once you can get the words out.
KICK YOUR SELF-EDITOR TO THE CURB
This one kind of goes with the point above, but as your mind slows down and you remember that you have to write more slowly, you start to be more careful with the words you put down on the page. When you type stuff out in a word document, you can very easily press the back button if you don’t like a word or sentence, and even with the undo key, sometimes it’s gone forever. With handwriting, you just cross it out, but it’s still legible underneath. That way, if you want to go back to a past thought or phrase, you haven’t totally lost it to the trash bin of your files!
NO COMPUTER? NO PROBLEM!
The last time I checked, handwriting is as absolutely portable as you can get when it comes to writing down your ideas. Now, iPads and notebook computers are awesome and everything, but sometimes they cost a lot of money and they might not be the best thing to lug around with you everywhere, depending on where you’re going. But with a notebook and pen or pencil, you can take your writing anywhere and everywhere! Plus, if you’re one of those people that are terrified of having stuff out in ~the cloud~, handwriting is great, because the only copy is in your hands. No worries about any unwanted people getting their dirty paws all over it.
One of the best parts I’ve noticed about shutting off my computer or phone and just going to the library with my notebook is that there are no distractions to keep me from writing! There have actually been some points where I leave my phone at home and just take my iPod (old school, it’s a shuffle) for background music if I want it, so that I’m not tempted to pop on Facebook or twitter for a moment! You’d be surprised just how many little seconds you find pull you away from a task and how much you could be doing in the time wasted.
YOU AREN’T RESTRICTED TO A LINED PAGE
Alright, I’m talking to all my mind-mappers and sketchers out there — if you’re writing in a notebook rather than on a traditional word document, you aren’t totally cursed by the basic lines of the page. With handwriting, if you need to draw a quick picture of what the action looks like (stick figures work too!), then you can do it! Or, if you forgot to do a family tree for your Skywalker-Esque drama, bam, you’ve got the perfect set up for it! There are so many visual writers out there that we shouldn’t be restricted from being able to express our thoughts the best way we can.
YOU IMPROVE YOUR SPELLING AND PENMANSHIP SKILLS
This one might just be a fun little add-on, but obviously, practicing handwriting every day will really help to improve your penmanship. As a writer and stationary-aholic, there is nothing that pleases me in just the same way than seeing beautiful letters cascading down a page in black ink does. Forcing yourself to handwrite might make it go pretty slow at first (especially if you’re re-teaching yourself how to write in cursive again for faster writing), but the more you do it, the more you’ll be able to figure out your own personal rhythm and shorthands for getting your thoughts onto the page. And believe me, everyone appreciates someone with handwriting that doesn’t look like absolute chicken scratch.
All in all, I’ve found in my own personal writing habits that handwriting makes me write just a little bit differently than typing does. Along with the fact that it makes me slow down and really concentrate on my thoughts rather than doing a total word dump and giving myself seven hours of editing later, it also just feels like a different style, like working with any kind of art medium will feel like. Of course, I think you guys should all try it, because who knows? Maybe you’ll write your next book entirely in longhand like Neil Gaiman does, and that would be so cool.
PS: For a TON of pretty handwriting images and a bunch of resources for writing, be sure to follow my pinterest below and be on the down low about the coolest stuff I’ve found around for writing!