Handwriting vs. keyboard frenzy. Novum publishing presents five reasons why you should not give up on pen and paper.
Tragedies, dramas, sonnets – the literary legacy of William Shakespeare must have been penned by a veritable workaholic, or at least so it seems. When it comes to the amount of works of poetry a writer produces in a lifetime, the sophisticated British aesthete is still second to none. His writing pace seems even more astonishing, if we consider the period of his creative work. In the absence of any practical alternatives, Shakespeare tamed the English language with pen and paper.
“Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet” and “Macbeth” – they all emptied their tragedy on paper in nothing more than a river of ink.
The unbelievable discipline writers of past times must have had to complete their works of art comes close to self-chastisement. After all, the stories today transformed into digital black in the blink of an eye once required hours, days and sometimes even years of drawing individual letters on paper. In other words, the ongoing digitalisation not only changed our reception but also our conception of literature. Whether we write emails, love letters or entire books – the invention of the computer changed the very basics of text production. Against this backdrop, the concept of efficiency is always at the forefront of our thinking, as best exemplified by Stephen King’s oeuvre with more than 50 novels and 100 short stories to his name – an output that seems incredible to ordinary mortals in the world of writing, not only referring to its content.
Why we still need handwriting
Is the keyboard really better for writing our stories? Shouldn’t we measure the success and accomplishment of a writer in quality rather than quantity? The passionate debate about the question of computer vs. handwriting has been going on for a long time. Prevailing opinions not only divide established and new authors but also scientists, neurologists and motor skills researchers into different camps. They can all agree, however, that today’s digital society threatens both our culture and our minds. Studies have shown ample evidence for the positive effects of handwriting. Nevertheless, the team of novum publishing still used a keyboard to present the following five key benefits of handwriting:
- Handwriting improves our spelling: Using pen and paper trains our language and spelling proficiency. Handwriting activates specific areas in our brain that are responsible for learning and memory. Studies have shown that children demonstrate a higher learning competence, if they are used to writing by hand rather than on a keyboard – this also applies to their orthography.
- Handwriting promotes our creativity: The many ways in which to write by hand sets creative processes in motion. Resorting to pen and paper enables us to subconsciously recognise the various shapes the letters of the alphabet may assume. While an “a” will always be an “a”, it looks a little different every time we scratch it on paper. In contrast to the uniform appearance of digital texts, the endless diversity of handwritten patterns may spark our creativity.
- Handwriting trains our memory: Most of us can still remember a test or written exam we had to complete in a race against time. Although school grades have never been an indicator of intelligence, the time-consuming activity of writing by hand is undoubtedly good for our brain. More time for writing also means more time for thinking, reflecting and structuring – which positively affects our memory: we remember handwritten texts much better than texts written on our keyboard.
- Handwriting enhances our concentration: The principle of mindfulness also applies to writing by hand. Brain researchers have confirmed that meditation improves our attention and concentration. As the discipline of writing meditation with its various techniques shows, the simple task of copying a text may initiate a state of deep relaxation. After all, the new trend of hand lettering enjoys such great popularityfor more reasons than just its aesthetic effect.
- Handwriting hones our fine motor skills: According to a survey conducted by the German Schreibmotorik Institut (Writing Motor Skills Institute), an increasing number of pupils suffer from clenched fingers, bad pen posture and illegible handwriting. Using pen and paper improves our fine motor skills and should not be neglected despite all the world’s smartphones and tablets.
What is your favourite writing method? We are looking forward to your comments!
Keep writing, keep typing!