How to Use Handwriting to Write Better

books and pen Mikhail Pavstyuk

Writing by hand seems to have become outmoded in many areas of life – we are, after all, typing for most of the day whether it is on a computer or on a touchscreen. Handwriting, for many I think, has become a thing of the past. However, I have found that writing stories by hand or editing by hand gives me a whole new way of looking at a text than when I type or edit the digital text.

When I write the words by hand I really get to focus on each one – each specific choice – and because I am working at a slower pace, I also force my brain to slow down and look at the text anew.

I kid you not, the short story I just finished went as follows:

  • Few ideas jotted down in notebook (always carry a notebook!)
  • Story typed on computer
  • Printed and notes/changes made
  • Written out again by hand, including all of the changes
  • More changes and editing
  • Typed again and edited again
  • Printed again and final changes made

writing gif

Here are some tips if you decide to try this

  • Start with shorter texts

There’s no use in deciding to write a whole novel by hand when you’re out of practice. That’s a sure-fire way to lose motivation when writing!

You can start by making notes by hand, then writing flash fiction by hand and move on to short stories, etc.

  • Use proper pens and paper

I’m not saying buy the most expensive stuff, but find a pen that fits your hand well. Also, get a nice notebook or cover one with nice paper. That way you’ll not only remember which book you’re using for what if you use more than one notebook (like I do), but it’s always nice to write in something pretty!

  • Take your time

There’s no need for you to write at the same pace that you type at. By working at a slower pace you’ll find that you really do get to look at the text better and see where the flaws/typos/etc. in the text is.

Of course, I’m sure this approach won’t work 100% for everyone, but if you do have the chance to try this – please let me know what you think!

Or perhaps you are already writing everything or almost everything by hand and you also have some tips or insights as to how it’s helped you become a better writer. Why not share some of your tips?

writing, pen, Aaron Burden
Photo by Aaron Burden,

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


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