GIVEN my preference for journaling and writing on the computer rather than writing by hand, I thought a recent Wall Street Journal article, “How Handwriting Trains the Brain” (10/5/2010), was interesting. The gist of the article was that the practice of handwriting improves the ability to develop and express ideas. The study was conducted with children, but they found that adults also benefit from handwriting.
Though I do enjoy journal writing with pen and colored pencils from time to time, particularly when I am traveling or want to write in a natural setting, I have always “pooh-poohed” the people who say the pen is more directly connected to the brain than the keyboard. I mean, how can that be? They both operate through the fingers, right? Well, this study gives credence to all you pen-and-paper journal writers.
I propose a three-week-long personal experiment:
- Week 1 — write only on the computer
- Week 2 — write only by hand
- Week 3 — Do a little of each, each day.
Afterwards, review and compare your writing. During which week was your writing the most creative and inspired? In which were you able to form and communicate your ideas? Is there any difference? What other factors should you consider (mood, life events, etc.)? And what bias did you begin with? Did the results surprise you or did they simply confirm your bias?
If I can get ten people to take up this challenge with me … five of you who prefer to journal on the computer and five who prefer to journal by hand … we’ll conduct the experiment together and post the results on the blog.
If you’d like to participate, leave a comment below. We’ll conduct the experiment beginning Monday, January 3, 2011. (No sense trying something like this during the holidays).
Ready? Let’s do it!