In Praise of Handwriting

For decades, I eschewed cursive handwriting in favor of keyboarding and printing. That’s right—printing. After several students had complained about my illegible board work, I switched to printing on the blackboard and inputted almost everything else onto digital devices. I did sign report cards, checks, and other legal documents, taking extra care with my penmanship.

Since retiring, I’ve rediscovered the benefits of expressing my ideas the old-fashioned way. I have Julia Cameron to thank for that epiphany. A fan of Julia’s books, among them The Artist’s Way and The Prosperous Heart, I found myself incorporating Morning Pages into my daily regimen. At first skeptical, it didn’t take me long to realize the wisdom of her logic: “When we write by hand, we go slowly enough to record out thoughts with accuracy. On a computer, we whiz along, dashing our thoughts to the page.”

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.

6 responses to “In Praise of Handwriting

  1. I hand wrote morning pages daily for years! I find hand writing amplifies any introspective work I do. I prefer writing haiku on paper as well. While I love my tech, I would feel deprived if I couldn’t write on paper when the urge strikes. My latest thing is to cut apart my completed journals with a paper cutter and scan the pages. It feels like the best of both worlds to me!

      • Good to be here, Joanne, I just realized your blog posts were going to my spam folder! I used to review my morning pages periodically back in the day. Now I just like knowing I can go back and review my journal entries and Akashic Records readings for myself if I feel inclined.

  2. Appreciate your insights. But I’m not buying it, at least as a general rule (although the No. 1 rule, “Do what works best for you,” definitely applies here).

    When you’ve developed sufficient skill and discipline, ideas from your mind flow effortlessly onto the virtual page without pausing to laboriously execute the mechanism. There’s no wasted gap between thought and expression. If you want to think longer, just think longer. Go back and revise what you just wrote–2nd draft is only a few seconds away.

    As for resisting the lure of the internet–pah, just don’t. There’s chocolate in the cupboard, but it doesn’t lure you away from writing.

    And yes, many writers who didn’t grow up with typing facility never developed enough discipline to move their minds away from the tedious process of scrawling words onto paper. So they did what worked. And achieved great success. Yeah for them, for working with the tools that they had available to them. And perhaps that arcane skill may still have a place for poets and writers of letters (for me, if I’m going to send a handwritten letter, I draft it on a keyboard first, then copy it out by hand). But for a contemporary prose writer? Sorry, just no.

    Fortunately, you didn’t write this blog to convert us hardcore, only to express your longing for a slower, simpler age. I remember it well (I learned to type on a manual typewriter in 1963). Just not quite so fondly.

    • Hi Rusty, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on handwriting. I also learned how to type on manual typewriters and later taught keyboarding. While I don’t miss those “clunky” machines, I am grateful for the touch typing skills I’ve acquired. I would never write an entire first draft of a manuscript, but I do enjoy writing my 1-3 journal pages each day. 🙂

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