Creative Tip - Write It By Hand
Every writer goes through it. The blank page in front of you, taunting you with its emptiness. How can you defeat the white monster and move forward? How can you break through the barrier.
My go-to tip? Write it by hand!
It may make you groan (When’s the last time you put pen to paper?) but it works. Often the cause of writer’s block is being unsure where to go next, or how your story will progress. What should the character do 4 chapters from now? How will the story end?
Writing by hand allows you to forget all that and focus on the here and now. What should happen in this scene? What should the characters say now? What will move this particular action forward? When you put pen to paper your focus changes.
When you write at a computer, where you probably spend a lot of time already, there are so many other activities that can pull you away even in the best of creative moments. You can be typing steadily and see a notification pop up that you have an email. You are instantly taken out of the moment. It’s much worse when you are having trouble moving the story forward. Suddenly you can find that all your writing time was sucked up by Facebook, Twitter, or an addictive java game instead of on the words of your story.
For most of us, the days move at a lightening pace. There are so many thoughts tumbling around in our heads. Is the mortgage payment due soon? Who is going out with us on Friday? Do the kids have everything they need for school? When is that movie coming out I want to see? The physical act of writing quickly strips all of that away. Your body and brain syncs up and all of that falls away.
Not enough reason to try it? Look at what science says.
Writing by hand helps you remember things better.
“…sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.”
Writing by hand improves brain activity.
“Recent research has found that when students develop their handwriting, they also increase their brain activity and improve their fine motor skills.”
Writing by hand protects your brain as you age.
Some physicians are now recommending as a “good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age.”
Writing by hand produces work faster and more thoroughly written pieces.
Those who physically write their work out do it more quickly and show more complete thought in the work.
Writing by hand improves language fluency.
For those who physically write out the words of a different language, or unfamiliar symbols, recognition is improved.
Try it out and see for yourself. You won’t be alone. Several famous writers have used the same time-tested technique!
· Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
· John Irving (Cider House Rules)
· Susan Sontag (The Volcano Lover)