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Handwriting Health

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart.”

– Natalie Goldberg

I spend most of my time writing on a computer. 

But recently, I’ve started hand-writing in a notebook every morning. I find that it slows me down and makes me really think about the words I’m putting on the page.

In our technology-ridden world, handwriting is a bit of a lost art. 

But here are some surprising benefits of pen and paper…

It Improves Retention — “Washington University of St. Louis conducted a study in 2012 to find out more about typing and memory retention. The study found that students who type notes on a computer begin to lose vital information as quickly as 24 hours later. On the other hand, those who wrote notes by hand not only remembered the important information a week later, they demonstrated a much better grasp of the taught concepts.”

It Improves Composition — “In 2009, researchers at the University of Washington found that elementary-aged students who wrote creative stories with a pen on paper far exceeded the performance of their peers. Not only were the writers able to complete their assignments faster than the typers, but they also wrote longer compositions with more complete sentences. Perhaps this is why so many novelists prefer to compose their first drafts in longhand form — that is, with pencil and paper — despite having access to a computer or typewriter.”

It Uses More Brain Power — “And this is a good thing. Karin James, a psychology professor at Indiana University, conducted a study in which she asked children to type, trace, or draw a letter. The children, none of whom knew how to read or write at the time of the study, were then given an MRI as they looked over the letters once more. Professor James noticed that the brains of the children who had written the letters by hand lit up in three places, proving that physically writing letters engaged the brain’s vital neural pathways.”

And we haven’t even mentioned the science-backed benefits of journaling.

At the very least, it’s worth doing a bit more hand-writing to see how it impacts your creative process and your mental health. It’s been a game-changer for me. 

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