Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Massive Productivity Improvement #4: Handwrite Before You Type Blog Posts- Or Anything Else

I was spending a $10.00 Office Depot gift certificate when I noticed a sad sight, notebooks on sale for 1 cent each! True, it was a back-to-school promotion, but the price being that low seems indicative of having more in stock than they could sell. There's less writing by hand now. It's good for paper waste, but bad for learning, writing skill, preserving brain function and what I'll focus on here- productivity.

When you write on the computer it's incredibly easy to give in the siren's call of social media or YouTube. Before you know it you may have spent hours checking up on Facebook, Instagram, or your favorite blogs. And that's fine and fun to do in those designated time slots but it can be the death of a piece of writing.

Meanwhile, writing by hand with all electronics turned off stimulates different creative areas of the brain. You guessed it, it's that creative group of cells in the brain that keep coming up in my studies, the Reticular Activating System. The RAS "filters" distractions and helps you focus intently on your writing while you're handwriting on paper. (Versus typing while looking at a computer screen.)

Some physicians claim the act of handwriting engages your motor skills to keep your brain and body limber and active as you age. Many writers, like Susan Sotang and Truman Capote wrote their manuscripts by hand first, Sotang saying it relaxed her and helped the creative process. Studies conducted on children have shown their writing is consistently better when it's on paper. The study illuminated one reason why my "writing voice" changed for the worst after years of copywriting in a cubicle, it was all typing on the computer and no handwriting.

Typing on the computer can be like skimming the surface of a body of water; handwriting is like diving to the deep depths and taking in all of the details. It can be like the difference between reading a buzzfeed article on any given topic and reading a 300 page medical journal or thesis paper on the subject. It increases retention of the information, too. I've been handwriting with my computer off for three days straight and feel like I could possibly hit me goal of being a year ahead on posts in a month of writing, it's a productivity game-changer!

If you're stuck, or have trouble focusing while trying to write on a computer, consider switching it off and breaking out a fresh notebook and a favorite pen and getting lost in the art of blissful, productive, distraction-free writing. Convert it to your computer later (which will help you edit since you'll be reading it again, or you can be like Capote who would re-write a second draft by hand on paper again). There's a place for both, but that's the key, we need both in our writing going forward.

See Also: Massive Productivity Improvement #1: 3 Goals Per Week. 3 Tasks Per Day
Massive Productivity Improvement #2: 80/20 Rule

Massive Productivity Improvement #3: Use Biorythms to be 200% More Productive

(  But if you guys refuse I'll just go blow my $1.00 and get 100 notebooks and do all the hand-writing myself! I'm rich, rich in all the notebooks, I say! Just kidding that sale is now defunct. :(  )
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  1. Awesome point!!! I realized after all the years at my office job that my handwriting had gotten significantly worse! I love how a lot of the notebooks today look too!

    1. Before I started handwriting again my writing could be compared to be kindergarden writing. Literally I went in my parent's attic with a friend and the styles were comparative. Office jobs kill handwriting skills, haha! :D I love modern notebooks but there's nothing like freshly sharpened graphite on a buttery yellow ledger notebook.

  2. Love this post Vanessa! I love hand writing and do it quite often in the form of blog post ideas, brainstorming sessions, lists, etc. I think I should do it more though because I've noticed that my handwriting is getting very bad!


    1. It's amazing how bad it can go so quickly when you don't use. I handwrite all the time but handwriting my blog posts as well with the distracting computer being off has been a productivity game-changer!

  3. I agree Vanessa! I noticed with kids these days that they can hardly write properly anymore. So sad! I write all my notes by hand and also send handwritten cards to friends. I love the act writing too!

    1. Agreed, my nieces and nephews are HOOKED to their smart phones and their writing is atrocious. I saw it happening my senior year of high school when I helped grade papers, technology was already destroying writing skills in 2004 and now it's worse. I love receiving and giving handwritten cards and notes, need to do that more :) I try to do it with every order I send out even though I don't have nice handwriting unless I *really* try.

  4. Great post! I encourage journaling on a daily basis to anyone who will listen - even if you just doodle or draw.

    I noticed this summer with my daughter and niece that they don't prefer to write on paper, because their spelling mistakes aren't automatically fixed.

    1. Ha, I could hear my nieces or nephews saying that now! "Oh no, I have to use my brain and learn!" ;)

      Daily journaling is incredible. A key to self-discovery and a tool for keeping your mind sharp into old age.


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