Handwriting vs Typing: The Showdown

5 Reason you should ditch your keyboard and start hand-writing!


As information technology starts entering our everyday lives more and more, and as information workers like myself start working more and more on keyboards instead of writing on paper. Are there any benefits left to handwriting?

I decided to conduct an experiment, where I would spend some time handwriting on a notepad instead of the usual clattering hum of typing on the keyboard.

Now, keep in mind that I use my keyboard to do a majority of my writing and correspondences with my circle of colleagues, family, and friends. Everything from email to instant messaging – even sending a text message on my cellphone involves dealing with some form of digital input or another.

Has the keyboard taken over my main means of written communication? Has the pen gone extinct? Has the keyboard mightier than the sword?

Here are some observations:

1. The Right Method

Writing with a pen allowed me to do a lot (Thanks Guys :P ) more than just write across a page in neat and ordered way. It allowed me to draw little diagrams and pictures to help get a point across. By using drawings and doodles, you can allow your mind to tap into your right-side of the brain. This is the side of your brain where creativity and conceptual thinking exists – by tapping into this side of the brain, it allowed me to doodle down some great ideas for several projects I was working on.

2. Unstoppable

Writing does not require electricity. Just a comfortable working location, some good lighting, and reference materials. Plenty of great writing has come about from anywhere from bedrooms to transatlantic flights. Notepads don’t suffer from computer viruses, crash, or irritating pop-up ads from websites. You can write anytime as well. No need to boot up a computer. Just make sure your pencils are sharp or your pens are full and you should be all good!

3. The Inner Editor

Writing by hand allows you to spend more time on your words. Unlike typing, which allows you to get it down before you forget it (which has it’s benefits), handwriting can be more concise and far more elegant with the right practice (no pun intended!)

4. Awareness

When I turned off my beloved Macbook and started this experiment, I noticed that the computer’s drone was inhibiting allot of subtle noises in the background. This was not only calming, but added some inspiration to my project as well! There was also no distractions from instant messages or new email notifications. It was just me, my notepad and pen, and my thoughts.

5. Personality

Writing by hand also adds a personal touch to your material. It’s a lovely feeling to receive a hand-written letter from a friend of a loved-one. Somehow, hand-writing’s effort seems to directly translate to the words on the page, and can be much more warm and appreciated than a dry email.

If your looking for more exercises for your right-side of the mind, check out Burt Goldman’s talk on how he learnt photography (and ended up in the International Photography Hall of Fame!)

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