Writing helps clarify your thinking
Laziness with words creates difficulty in describing feelings, sharing experiences, and communicating with others. Being able to flesh out thoughts in your mind only to have them come stumbling out when you speak is supremely frustrating. Fortunately, regular writing seems to offer some reprieve.
In Richard Langham’s book Revising Prose, he shares that one of the most important benefits of clear writing is making sure you’re actually saying something. The cost of confusing someone else with unclear prose is high, but what about the cost of confusing yourself?
As an added benefit, in both emotional intelligence and in hard sciences like mathematics, writing has been shown to help people communicate highly complex ideas more effectively. Writing helps eliminate “it sounded good in my head” by forcing your hand; brains forgive fuzzy abstractions, prose does not.
Writing by hand relieves your stress, depression and anxiety
Writing notes on a laptop likely leads to more multitasking and distractions, which are killers for focused concentration. But research has also shown that taking notes on a laptop results in more shallow processing than writing notes out in longhand.
Three studies have found that students who took notes on laptops did worse with conceptual questions than students who took notes by hand. Other studies found that students who use laptops during lectures show a decreased academic performance and have a harder time staying on task in the classroom.
When you’re taking notes, you’re also summarizing, paraphrasing the teachers’ words or making quick diagrams of more complicated concepts. This is much more effective for learning than typing out what the professor says verbatim.
Other studies show that even reading from a page helps us better remember the information than reading from a screen – another case for analog if you’re looking to boost your study habits and avoid the distractions of the Internet.
Here’s how to take better notes by hand:
Writing by hand makes you a better writer
From modern-day bestselling authors like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling to the authors of 20th century classics like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Kafka, much of the world’s greatest prose was first scrawled out on paper.
Famed director Quentin Tarantino writes his screenplays in notebooks with felt pens, while prolific writer Joyce Carol Oates prefers writing by longhand – for up to eight hours a day.
Writing on paper takes effort. And you’re not likely to waste many words if only for the sake of avoiding hand cramps. Writing by hand forces you to slow down and consider each phrase more carefully.
Benefits of being a writer
Whether you are writing a novel, a web article, or a research paper, reading many papers in this format can help you become familiar with the basic structure of this particular type of writing.
Starting modestly, writing on a particular topic for some time will allow you to build on old thoughts, using what you’ve already written to develop ideas on a larger scale (I’m sure many writers have had a paragraph leading up to an essay). that lead to a series of articles that lead to the book).
You can start a dream diary, write down your daily adventures, or just put pen to paper and see where it leads. Keep a dream journal by your bed so you can take notes if you happen to flinch in the waking world in the middle of the night, but be sure to set aside a few minutes to take a few notes each morning.
Benefits of writing a book
You can list many topics on slips of paper and pull one out of the jar to write about every day, or subscribe to one of the many mailing lists that will deliver a topic to your inbox every morning. If you’re having a bad day and don’t know how to express your frustration, a good way to deal with your feelings is to write it down.
By writing down your feelings, you will be able to understand why you are experiencing such stress. Writing down the events of your day on a piece of paper, or even telling your life story, will give you a better idea of your current situation, and you’ll probably feel better about sharing your emotions in a diary.
Much of the research on writing and happiness is about expressive writing, or noticing what you think and feel. It seems that most of the literature on the benefits of writing is devoted to “expressive writing” or putting down on paper what you think and feel (or, let’s be honest, on the keyboard).