It may be Bank Holiday Monday, but I’m still thinking of writing (and if you’re here on the day itself, I’m guessing you are, too). Today I’m thinking about how much I love writing with real pens and pencils on real, physical paper. And as you might expect from one with analogue sensibilities, I have an extensive collection of stationery.
But it’s not just about the kit. I believe that writing by hand improves the quality of my written expression. For one thing, I scribe incredibly slowly. When I’m writing by hand, my thoughts scramble around madly in the background, and by the time my hand is ready to form the words on paper I’ve usually arrived at a pretty good formulation.
It keeps me concise, too. Because my muscles tire relatively quickly and because of the extra thinking time, I get to my point much faster than I do on a computer. Then, when I come to type my words into the computer, editing my work is much more straightforward.
These are all fringe benefits, but they’re not my main focus. The thing I like best about writing by hand is the sense of being engaged in a handicraft: the smell of the ink, the feel of the pen on different papers and the sheer satisfaction of making varied marks is what motivates me. So if you want to gain a new perspective on how you write as well as on what you write, the time is right for you to discover the old-school craft of writing by hand.