When I'm stuck on a writing project, I find that writing by hand with a pencil and paper tends to get me moving again. Personally, I've always been a fan of this practice and when word processors became prevalent, I would still usually handwrite documents before I typed them out. I realize that this method is slower and can tire your hand out more quickly than typing, but there are several key benefits to writing by hand you should consider.
The first benefit is that its easier to avoid distractions when you write by hand. I think that people like me who are attracted to shiny objects are the reason online productivity apps were invented. I love the Internet and I have a great thirst for knowledge. When I'm on my computer I'm in a constant struggle to stay focused. If instead, I'm writing by hand, I can shut my computer down and avoid the temptation. It's comforting to be unplugged from the matrix every so often and doing so improves my focus and my creativity.
Another perk of writing by hand is the convenience. We've all had our batteries run out on us when we're away from an outlet, possibly in the middle of a brilliant passage of writing. If you have a pencil and paper, you don't need no stinking battery! You can write on a plane, in a case, at a library or anywhere else you happen to find yourself. I love keeping a lot of my random creative thoughts in a tiny notebook I carry around with myself. Much tinier than a laptop, I'm able to etch in ideas, some of which later become full-on books.
The most important benefit to adding handwriting to your routine is one that's only bee discovered recently in the neuroscience field. Writing with your hand, especially in cursive script, is actually a mental stimulant. Practicing the correct size, shape and pattern of letters can help your brain to generate the proper chemicals necessary for speaking and thinking more smoothly. Writing without the help of a computer is actual as effective as a workout that targets multiple muscles at once. Working on your handwriting can help you to keep your brain sharp and in fact, it's this oft-unknown benefit that makes it a shape that handwriting has been excised from many school curriculums. Don't make the same mistake as them, write by hand to keep your brain alive.
If you ever find yourself staring at the computer, unable to come up with a single letter let alone a word, put the machine to sleep and rely on your bare hands to take care of the job.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.