It’s a known fact that writing by hand stimulates the memory and concentration zones of our brain.
The activity of handwriting, by forcing us to organise our thoughts, unleashes our creativity. Many great writers have found that writing by hand unlocks their inspiration, helps clarify their ideas and gives free rein to their style.
Writing by hand gives you a better grip on your style
American novelist John Irving, author of the best-selling “The World According to Garp”, turns out an average of 400 pages per book. This prolific author drafts his manuscripts entirely by hand, claiming that this is the best way to keep an eye on his style. “I prefer writing by hand because I go too fast on a keyboard,” he explains. “I go far too fast to write something really good. Writing by hand forces me to slow down.”»
Another American author who prefers pen over keyboard is the master of horror, Stephen King, for whom physically coming to grips with pen and paper sets the slow pace necessary for him to organise his ideas.
Writing by hand forces you to construct a story line
J.K. Rowling, the renowned author of the Harry Potter saga, divides her work up into handwritten tableaux, rather like a film’s storyboard. The story is paced and segmented according to the chapter, how it unfolds chronologically, the main plot, the heroes and the secondary characters.
Clearly it takes copious notes to create such a complex universe and a story line that spans several years. The writer also needs to be able to refer to their notes easily, add comments or cross things out as the plot takes shape and substance. To construct this type of novel and give it a story line that hangs together, writing it by hand is a powerful driving force.