The Handwriting on the Wall
I was thinking earlier today about the continued importance of handwriting in this age of technology. More specifically, I was thinking about how valuable it can still be to writers, even though most of us do the bulk of our writing on computers.
Let me explain. Some of you may recall my mentioning in the past the large whiteboard mounted on the wall of the room where I do my writing. This board is invaluable to me when I am plotting out a story or fleshing out a specific scene. I have long noticed that when I write notes out on the board, the whole brainstorming process is just easier.
I have other friends who hand write story notes in notebooks. Another friend writes out the entire first drafts of her stories by hand on a legal pad. What do we all have in common? Writing things out by hand when we need to be creative.
As it turns out, this sense of greater creativity and productivity is not simply in my imagination. More and more studies are proving the connection between our hand and our brain. When we write by hand, it stimulates areas of the brain which lead to increased skills such as comprehension, problem-solving, and retention. Other studies have discovered that young children who learn their letters by drawing them manually instead of typing them on a keyboard, for example, learn much better and faster.
So as it turns out, I was being smarter than I realized when I asked my husband to mount the whiteboard on the wall. Each time I use it, I am strengthening the connection between my hand and my brain and am improving my writing.
If you don’t have the space for an oversized whiteboard on your wall, grab a pencil and a legal pad. This is what I used when I was problem-solving during my former day job as a business analyst, and I can attest to its success.
But if I have given you the urge to go-to-town with a large whiteboard and colored markers, then don’t spend buckets of money for the expensive (and smaller) versions sold in office supply stores. Get to your local big box store and look for white hardboard wall panels in the section where paneling is sold. You can purchase a 4’ x 8’ sheet of smooth, acrylic-coated wall panel (i.e., whiteboard) for less than $20. They are lightweight, and fairly easy to tack up. Some people even use glue or double-stick tape.
Or you can still find that trusty legal pad. Either way, happy writing and happy creativity.
New Location, New History
As you all have probably guessed by now, I like history. I don’t just like to write about it, I also like to see it and absorb it. And not just about major events. To me, it is also fascinating to see everyday objects used in the past by everyday people.
One unexpected advantage to my upcoming move, I am realizing, is the opportunity it presents to experience history which is “new” to me. Or should I say “older” history?
What I am trying to say, is that we will soon be moving to an area which was settled much sooner than where I live now. This means there will be a treasure trove of new things for me to see and learn about which pre-date the history in my current region. Hence, things which are both “new” to me yet also “older” at the same time.
I am looking forward to exploring once we are settled. If I am lucky, I will find some old shops to wander through, where I can pick up old household items and wonder about the people who used them in the past. What stories could these objects tell from years ago? (After all, if walls can talk, why can’t other objects?)
The move will also provide history opportunities on a larger scale. We will be within driving distance of many interesting locations. I can only imagine the fun days I could spend wandering through old homes or on old battlefields. (Note to self: Be sure to wander around some of the historical locations where I am now before we move – the places I always thought I would go see “one of these days.” These days are numbered now!)
I am trying to hold on to this happy thought of new or different history as I deal with the craziness of the actual move. (And to also remember the other advantages which prompted this move in the first place. Living near our son and his family is the primary benefit.)
After all, once we are settled, the stress of the move will become merely a page in our own history. Then I can forget about the headaches and get back to enjoying the “new” history around me.
Let the Summer Games Begin!
Summer is finally here, the weather is gorgeous - and I can finally post a new blog on my temperamental website. Life is good!
To celebrate, I am sharing a fun summer trivia quiz I found online a few weeks ago, courtesy of www.Playbuzz.com. The answers are given below the quiz.
ANSWERS TO QUIZ
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.