Why EVERYONE Should Write By Hand

Writing by hand is the best, dare I say, ONLY way to write!
Photo by Kat Stokes

I wrote a post once in which I briefly describe–at least for my first draft–my preference for writing by hand over typing. Over and over again, “try writing by hand” is my go to advice for people. It’s kinda my cure-all.

I have writer’s block.

Try writing by hand.

I’m not sure how to end my story.

Write by hand, either making notes, or writing out that part of the story.

I don’t feel good.

Write about it. By hand.

What Makes Writing by Hand So Special?

An article from Mental Floss lists 4 reasons:

  1. It’s better for learning. One of the most effective ways to study and retain new information is to rewrite your notes by hand.
  2. It makes you a better writer.
  3. It will prevent you from being distracted.
  4. It keeps your brain sharp as you get older.

But this is just a starter list. The truth is, writing by hand engages the brain in a way that typing on a computer simply can’t.

Affects of Writing by Hand on the Brain

An article in Psychology Today tells us, “The brain’s “reading circuit” of linked regions that are activated during reading was activated during handwriting, but not during typing.” In other words, reading activates the same part of your brain as writing–but not typing.

Also, when you type, your computer likely underlines things in blue and red, letting you know you should change them. Then you start thinking too much about mechanics, and your style fades.

This came from an article in Forbes: “According to a study performed at the Indiana University, the mere action of writing by hand unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way. And high-tech magnetic resonance imaging has indeed shown that low-tech writing by hand increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, much like meditation.” It went on to say, “Mindful writing rests the brain, potentially sparking creativity….”

But writing by hand is even more magical than I realized. (And I thought it was pretty damn awesome already.)

Writing by Hand Is Good for Your Mental Health

I was upset the other day. Like, having an imaginary argument out loud, letting out all the mean shit I was thinking. Then I decided to write about it, journal style. What I found was that by the third sentence, my thinking had become clear, the ridiculousness of how angry I was had become clear, and before I even finished the first paragraph, I wasn’t mad anymore. (But I had a good idea for a blog post…)

An article from the University of Rochester Medical School website says that journaling can help “manage anxiety, reduce stress, [and] cope with depression” by “helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns; tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them; [and] providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.”

An article from Cambridge University says that writing, over time, may even improve immune function.

So what are you waiting for? Get writing! Not sure how? See if these help:

How to Start Journaling for Better Mental Health

Discover 8 Journaling Techniques for Better Mental Health

How To Start and Write a Journal

Eight Suggestions for New Journal Writers

That’s it. That’s all I got. Catch ya next time. Take care!


Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five!

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6 Comments on “Why EVERYONE Should Write By Hand

  1. Writing by hand is cathartic. I remember teachers making kids (never me, I was angelic) write their wrongdoings on the blackboard or on paper; I will not …………; a hundred times. It made you THINK about your indiscretion, and actually do something to not repeat it. I remember ‘journal writing’ (which is making a comeback). The brain is a powerful tool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. When I thought, I had a rapper come in to my middle school classroom to help teach creative writing. He started with meditation, then freewriting in a journal. The class was dead-ass silent for 30 straight minutes. That. Never. Happens.


  2. I do both typing and handwriting and prefer the latter. Writing by hand especially with a fountain pen is incomparble to typing. Words are easily poured out by using ink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One-HUNDRED percent! I’ll try a fountain pen sometime. I ALWAYS use a G2 pen, like you see in the store. But I have a “limited edition” case that is a little heavier and fancier looking than the clear plastic clicky one you always see. I love the way they write. 🤷‍♂️

      Liked by 1 person

      • G2 pens are smooth writers. I have the plastic “clicky” version in red. You should try a fountain pen but get the cheap ones first. Let me remind you that it’s a love and hate relationship using FP’s.


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