The Lost Art of Writing by Hand

Hear me out. Maybe, you should pick up a pen and leave your laptop on the charger for a day. It’s time to imagine you are some fancy writer from the 1800s with an endless amount of free time and a storybook life. I know, it’s simple to just pick up a pen that the majority of us don’t even think about it. Writing by hand is a habit that’s worth picking up again.

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Okay, you got me, movies are inspiring. To tell you the truth, I was feeling inspired to write by hand after watching films about writers. Yes, I’m talking about Vita & Virginia and Little Women here. So, thank you, writers, filmmakers, and creatives. We indeed like creating our art about ourselves because we like sharing our experience with the world around us.

Plus, something about those movies makes writing feel romantic.

There is a stark difference from how we write and consume writing in 2020 compared to yesteryear. Today, we are lucky enough to live with modern conveniences. For example, you’re using one to read this story right now.

Not only are phones and computers more convenient, but it’s also the way the majority of us create.

Until a couple of movie binges, it didn’t actually occur to me to put my laptop down. If I really wanted the ultimate convenience and the mother of going old school, all I needed to do was pick up a pen.

I know, it’s simple to just pick up a pen that the majority of us don’t even think about it.

I wrote the first draft of this story in the old fashioned way. I wrote it with a pen and paper using cursive loops that were almost forgotten.

Maybe, it’s time you ditch the keyboard too? What could hurt, it’s only a suggestion that might help increase your productivity.

Since we all have a pen and some scraps of paper lying around, you can stop dreaming about purchasing that old fashioned typewriter. Also, stop wishing you hadn’t thrown your old one out.

The real reason I’m writing this is to tell you some benefits of writing by hand. Now, let’s pretend we are some fancy, sophisticated novelist from the 1800s and get started.

No distractions

This is a big one. Our phones and our computers today have an endless amount of distractions. With a pen and paper, we don’t have to worry about apps, social media, news, or texts getting in the way of productivity. The easiest thing to do is to forget about our phones and laptops altogether and allow writing to flow uninterrupted.

You know, just thinking about this is stress-relieving. It takes me an extreme amount of willpower to get rid of these distractions. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that stops in the middle of a writing session to look at my phone. When I write by hand, that instinct is taken away.

Writing by hand is relaxing

Oh, yes, it’s relaxing. First, let’s forget about eyestrain all together. It’s easy to write down a story idea before bed without the risk of having the light from the computer hinder your ability to get to sleep.

Maybe, you don’t write before bed. This can also be a relaxing way to start your morning. When you’re done, you can run edits later before taking the final edit out to your computer. Looking at your writing on different mediums can help you spot mistakes that you’d otherwise miss.

Writing by hand also helps you improve your mood. There’s a different kind of feeling of the flow from a pen or a pencil in your hand. It’s different from the loud clicks of a keyboard. Try it out a few times and see if you feel the difference. Personally, it helps me feel more relaxed and less stressed.

You can take your writing anywhere

This is self-explanatory. A pen and a small notebook are easy to carry around. These are not bulky items, and they don’t require a carrying case. The best part is that they are also easily replaceable. It’s a nightmare to imagine losing your phone, but if you lose your notebook, you can go out and buy a new one without a massive dent in your wallet.

Many of us have forgotten what it’s like to carry around a notebook since our school days. Still, it’s astonishing how light it is to have an extra pen and notebook in a bag or to leave one in the car.

The next best thing is that you never have to worry about running out of batteries. Having a pen and some paper on hand will always be ready to go when an idea strikes. You never have to stress about charging it or finding an outlet to plug it in. A pen and notebook are relaxed and stress-free items to always have within arms reach when your muse strikes.

Expands creativity

Yes, the process of writing helps get your ideas down, but you also have a unique handwriting identity. Only you can write like you. You have a unique writing voice, and you have a unique handwriting style. Your handwriting and your voice are both an exclusive extension of yourself. Your penmanship gets erased when you break out that keyboard or typewriter.

Using handwriting also allows you to use more of your brain as you use your hand to create the shapes of the text.

Imagine that you are painting with your pen or pencil. You are using a different part of your brain than you use to type. Not only are you expanding your creativity with the voice of your words, but the shapes of your letters are also a unique form of Art. Your handwriting can only be associated with you.

You are unique, your voice is unique, and so is your handwriting. Messy handwriting or not, you are doing yourself a disservice by erasing your penmanship by only using a keyboard.

Before you disregard this story and move on to the next, hear me out. Maybe, you should pick up a pen and leave your laptop on the charger for a day. Try this as an experiment and see how you feel about writing your first drafts by hand. It’s time to imagine you are some fancy writer from the 1800s with an endless amount of free time and a storybook life.

Try to take a break from the screen for once and try something new.

Writing by hand is a lost art that most of us haven’t used since grade school. It’s necessary to not forget what’s right in front of us. Writing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Maybe, it can actually help your productivity along with your creativity. Don’t be afraid to pick up that pen from time and see what you can make out of it. You may be surprised by the outcome.

Thanks for reading, find the original published article here on Medium!

7 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Writing by Hand

  1. Amazing piece of work. So glad I came across your blog and found this post. You just made me miss my notebook, my fav pen and my hand writing. Thank you so much for this post again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, thank you for all the replies! Writing in a notebook is an amazing feeling and I like to think about it as a sketchbook for words. Yes, I’ll definitely take a look at your blog. Good luck writing and I hope you’re enjoying the process.


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