The humble keyboard has been with us for over 150 years and has become the most popular way we write things of any length these days. Other than the occasional shopping list, most people now use a keyboard to write things. Even if they are using a tablet device, they bash away on a virtual keyboard. What ever happened to hand writing?
You might not think it is worth worrying about that much. We spend years teaching children how to write letters and then get them to type up their homework on a computer. Why do we need to teach them to write? Surely teaching them to touch-type would make more sense. Perhaps.
Teachers, though, are not so daft. They know that learning to draw the characters of the alphabet and become proficient in handwriting is linked to academic performance. Children who learn to handwrite efficiently tend to do better in a wide range of other learning tasks. Similarly, children who learn to write well, also tend to read better; and better reading leads to more reading which leads to improved academic performance all round. In other words, handwriting and learning appear to be intertwined.
Indeed, neurological studies show that when we write by hand we engage parts of the brain that are not engaged when we use a keyboard. For instance, when you write by hand the decision-making centres of your brain are stimulated, yet this does not happen when you type on a keyboard. Equally, brain scan research shows that when you write by hand your attention centres in your brain are more active than when you type.
However, writing by hand tends to be slower – besides if you were to write every piece of web content or blog post by hand you would have to then double up the effort by copy typing it, or paying someone to do that. Far better, we think, to create our web content using our keyboards because of the speed and time savings.
The problem is, though, lack of attention on what we are writing, reducing things like quality. Also, we might not make good decisions about the words to use, reducing the readability. Google likes readability by the way…!
Research shows there are clear benefits from hand writing which are not found when we type. So how can your blog or website benefit from handwriting, without impacting too much on your productivity?
Firstly, instead of keeping a spreadsheet of your blog plans, handwrite your ideas in a notebook dedicated to the purpose. Handwriting your blog or article plans will help engage more thinking processing in your brain enabling you to produce better plans.
Secondly, for each blog post or article, handwrite your outline – you only need to jot down a handful of bullet points, but in doing so you will get your brain into gear ready for writing a better piece of content than if you just hit the keyboard.
Your keyboard is a crucial link between you and your audience. But handwriting is a critical link between your brain and the keyboard.