Why You Should Never Stop Writing By Hand

Written by Kenden Alfond

We have laptops, digital notebooks, and smartphones to capture our thoughts. It raises the question, does pen-to-paper writing matter anymore?

That's a matter of opinion, but over time, more people are recognizing the value of going analog for specific parts of their lives.

Creative writing, journaling, making lists, capturing ideas and sources of inspiration, outlining business plans, and planning meals and vacations are a few of the things people find more satisfying and effective when using tangible materials.

Here are five reasons you should be writing by hand:

1. It improves long-term comprehension.

Taking notes by hand helps you absorb information. The better you comprehend the information, the more likely it is you’ll be able to use it to generate new ideas in the future.

2. It facilitates focus.

When you’re taking notes on your phone or computer, you’re just a swipe or click away from something else. Working in a notebook allows for single-tasking: focus and full immersion in your writing.

3. It creates and strengthens neural connections.

When you write by hand, it's just you and your tools bringing an idea into existence. Writing by hand activates a neural circuit in your brain that isn't working when you type.

4. It builds self-awareness.

Writing by hand helps me to understand what things mean to me. I love to look back at old journals to ignite my memory. Your journal belongs to you and no one else.

5. It encourages gratitude.

Sending thank-you notes creates a positive community and feeds an atmosphere of goodwill. Getting a card in the mail is special. And both sending and receiving snail-mail notes creates moments of meaning in our lives.

Writing by hand is a powerful tool. Try going analog this week when you’re generating new ideas or creating your to-do lists — and observe the results for yourself.

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