Handwriting or Computer?


I have a pet peeve.

“Real writing happens with a pen and paper.”

I’ve heard this quite a bit from many different people and it makes me a little crazy.

I hate writing by hand, it cramps, my hand writing is sloppy (and degenerates over time) and it feels like a chore.  When I’m writing on my laptop I love the sound, the feeling (I imagine I’m playing a piano and the words are music), and the fact that I can write faster for longer before my carpel tunnel kicks in.

So what it is about hand writing that makes people claim it is the true path to writing artfully?

First let’s look at some pop-science.  Psychology Today tells us that learning cursive writing (specifically cursive) is best for your brain and development.  It also helps with development and communication of thoughts and ideas in kids.

Some writers swear by it and science seems to support it, but is that to suggest that it is the only way to go?  That real writing only happens when you write by hand?

At the end of the day, it’s a preference.  If I had to write by hand I would probably spend more time being annoyed about it than I would be actually writing, so I wouldn’t get much done.  Although there seem to be some cognitive benefits to the practice (which make me think I ought to give it a try more often than I do), I find it frustrating to hear people suggest that it is the path to ‘real’ writing.

There are many different ways to grow as a writer and I would definitely not want to deny one of them out of peevishness, so I won’t.  Writing by hand is good for your brain.  It leads to better motor functioning, clarity of thought and it is a good exercise for young and old.

As we progress into the digital age, I reckon hand writing will fall by the wayside but it’s likely, given our constant ‘evolution‘, we will find other things that are beneficial to work our brains not to mention the fact that we will keep finding our way back to the oldies-but-goodies.

So do I think that ‘real’ writing only happens with a pen and paper?  Nope.  I think real writing is whatever is real to you and whether you want to use the computer or go the old fashioned route, all things can lead to greatness.  Your writing is your own and it doesn’t matter how you get your words out, just as long as you do it and love it!

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This is a post for www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge.  One blog post a day for all of June!  Check it out at the website or on twitter: @sofluid or #wpad!