I like to think of myself as a writer (I mean, I write for Her Campus and I write for fun, and yeah, I’m not published but oh well that’s fine I’m not upset about it). As a writer, it’s all too easy to put too much pressure on yourself and end up not writing. I have found that handwriting every day has really helped me with that.
The following list focuses on how handwriting helps with creative writing, but the same perks can be applied to journal writing as well, or anything that involves putting pen to paper.
There’s no pressure
Writing in a journal can seem risky. In tv shows and movies, the secret diary is always found and the protagonist’s deepest thoughts revealed, but real life is a little different (for the sake of my argument ignore the fact that we are currently living the plot of Contagion). Realistically, the only people who will look in your journal will be people you invite to look in your journal.
What that means is that there is no pressure. If you’re writing something personal, you don’t need to filter your thoughts, and if you’re writing something creative, you don’t need to write something inspiring and free of clichés. It doesn’t have to be original or bring the reader to tears, it can be whatever you feel like writing. As someone who gets caught up in big plots and then feels really disappointed when I lose motivation, it’s been really nice to just write whatever I feel like on any given day without the pressure of it being good.
It can be really hard to put time aside every day to write and it can make writing one of the things that gets put off. While you can still write daily on the computer, there are a million and one distractions online that you can use to put off actually writing. That’s not the case with a blank notebook. All you have in front of you is the page.
When I say it’s habit-forming, I mean that in two ways: First, the literal habit of sitting down to write every day, and second, it can help get you in the habit of turning your brain off and just connecting with the writing.
In my last point, I talked about how you can write whatever the hell you want; wanna know what happens when you do that? All your concerns about what you’re writing disappear and suddenly you can tap into fields of creativity that you might have repressed when you were writing for an audience. You can really channel uniqueness into your work that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were writing with any other intention.
You have physical proof of what you’ve accomplished
I know handwriting is slower, but for me it feels so much better to flip through six handwritten pages in a notebook than to scroll through a fifteen-page document. It’s the ability to hold in your hands the stories you’ve written down and really see how much work you’ve done without it being digitized. It’s just really satisfying.
Plus, having a half-empty notebook is super motivating because it makes you want to write more in order to fill that sucker up! And the feeling when you finish a notebook? Sweet Jesus that’s some good shit right there.
It feels SO GOOD
Maybe this one’s just me, but when you find a really good notebook, with pages made of actual paper instead of that super glossy crap and you have a pen that writes just beautifully and you put pen to paper and just start writing, it feels like *insert gif of Charles from Brooklyn Nine-Nine moaning as he thinks about the foot massage place*. For real, it’s heavenly.
That’s all from me today. Since we have a little more free time than usual right now with the whole being-trapped-in-the-house thing, I thought it might be the right time to encourage you all to pull out that fancy notebook you bought but never wrote in, set a timer for twenty minutes and just write. See how it goes.