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.
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.