do you write?

There's a very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about a recent research study that shows how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. The study shows that not only does it help with learning letters and shapes, it also improves idea composition and expression and may aid in fine motor skill development. And its not just children who benefit from the physical act of writing but also adults who are learning to form new symbols (i.e. learning how to write Chinese characters).

I work as a therapist in the schools and often deal with children with handwriting and fine motor difficulties and this article really made me happy. Especially because there are times when parents question why we still need to work on penmanship when we live in a digital age anyway and almost everyone is using a keyboard or a handheld device these days. It begs the question: does handwriting still matter?

My answer to that of course is a resounding yes. Regardless of the theoretical or neurological reason behind it, I personally feel so much more connected to what I'm writing when I'm using paper and pen. Which is why I keep a journal and have tons of little notebooks and word cards that I carry with me everywhere. There's something inherently personal about seeing your thoughts and ideas translate on a piece of paper versus a computer screen. And it may be cumbersome to have all these paper trail but I really like it that way.

How about you? How often do you write by hand? Do you have a preference between keyboarding versus using paper and pen?


  1. I keep a journal too. the other times I write by hand: letters, lists, and class notes.

  2. holly, this reminds me that i need to snail mail you a letter. PM me your add, ok? :)

  3. I use both: for poetry I need to write by hand, I have lots of notebooks and write phrases, words, fragments of things that come to mind and then I make some sort of poems with them, I tried to do it with the laptop but it just doesn't work. As for prose I need to write it only with the laptop, I don't know why but I just can't write long texts by hand.
    It is so important to keep the paper-pen.

  4. Oh yes...i am one of the old die-hards for writing by hand. It's a habit i've actually tried to break myself of, but i absolutely MUST write first with pen & paper. From essays to poems to notes to entire novels--longhand is my guilty vice. It would be so much easier if i could just create directly onscreen...but, thanks for so beautifully articulating why i'm so drawn to writing in this way!

  5. My handwriting has gotten so bad that I really try not to write much anymore since I can't read my own writing half the time. Grocery lists are about it! I've been typing since I was in my teens and just find it so much easier to express myself on a keyboard; writing is so slow. Now I can feel guilty about not handwriting and thus depriving my brain of needed exercise...sigh.