I’m in a writing workshop this week, and we were all told to bring laptops in order to do writing while there. This definitely makes writing faster, but did you know that working by hand can make your writing better? There’s been a good bit of research into this, some of it mine with colleagues, and here’s why. Writing by hand
- helps you learn and remember better
- helps you understand more accurately
- helps you rewrite and edit more thoroughly
The reason for all 3 is the same – handwriting is slower than typing so it gives you more time to think. When you are taking notes, it forces to you think, because you can’t write down everything. Even the act of taking the notes by hand forces you to understand and evaluate the information. A skilled typist can work as fast as someone talks, but by concentrating on getting everything down, you can miss important clues to the content like vocal expression in things you here or formatting in things you see. And ultimately, it’s less accurate. Sometimes less IS more.
This article from LifeHacker has a reader-friendly explanation of the biology behind how you take notes.