Write It Out: By Hand

I was reading an article last night about the differences between reading on a screen and reading with a book/paper in your hand. Fascinating stuff. It got me thinking, of course.

Even though I am by no means a kinetic learner, I do know that I prefer the tactile stimulation provided by paper to that of a computer or a phone. That’s true whether I’m reading or writing. When it comes to writing, there’s something interesting that happens that is important to consider if you are also a writer.

We tend to type significantly faster than we write. This can be handy when we have an overflow of thoughts we just need to get down for our work in progress. It’s a problem though if we are using our writing for therapeutic purposes. We may think that sitting down and typing everything out quickly is doing us good, and in some ways it probably is.

We need to understand, though, that therapeutic writing is not simply about putting things on paper. It’s about allowing our minds to process the information. It’s not regurgitation. Sometimes it feels like it is or should be, but it’s more. We need to treat it as such and allow ourselves time.

Slowing down our writing to allow our brains time to mull things over makes the process much more beneficial in a lot of ways. It forces us to concentrate on one thought at a time in order to make sure that thought gets out; the value in that lies with the fact that often our worry, stress, even depression come from too many thoughts getting jumbled in our heads. We also see that one thought through from beginning to end rather than being distracted and side tracked as we go. This too reduces anxiety as we are able to think calmly and linearly.

Therapeutic writing involves working through a problem or perceived problem. By writing it out in a logical, unhurried manner, we do most of the work without even realizing we have done it. We walk away feeling content without necessarily being entirely sure why we are feeling better. Later on when we come back to that writing, we can see what we have worked through and find encouragement for current or even future problems.

I don’t say this to tell people they must write by hand and especially not that they must at all times (I’d be quite the hypocrite writing a blog post telling you to always write things out by hand). I do say it though to be an encouragement. Getting back to the “old fashioned” way of doing things from time to time can help us slow down in the midst of our busy lives. That slowing down can make quite a difference in refreshing us.