At this point, my hand gets so tired from handwriting.
Also, typewritten stuff is easier to read (as long as you chose the right font, of course).
And I fully intend to continue typing the vast majority of my writing, including correspondence.
But I wonder whether an essential medium gets lost in typewriting?
To take a totally different method as an example, books and courses that claim to increase your writing capability to 10,000 words a day rely on transcription technology. Meaning, just by using a decent microphone and the voice recognition transcription software that comes with Windows, you can speak your words onto the screen, then copyedit it as you normally would later.
This has worked out great for many writers, who love the increased output.
But some writers felt that their manuscript or article projected a different tone and wording than it would have otherwise.
So does the same thing happen when you type everything without ever handwriting it first?
Handwritten Drafts vs Typewritten Drafts: Is There a Winner?
For example, writers used to produce at least one handwritten draft (often two) before typing out the final draft on a typewriter.
Despite the convenience and spell- and grammar-check capabilities of today’s word processing programs, plus the ability to endlessly polish and revise, are today’s books and articles better-written than those that predated the home computer?
For example, one book revision course insisted that writing out the entire manuscript by hand was an essential part of the process to improve the book. I threw in the towel after hand-writing several pages, but I believed the truth behind the instructor’s insistence.
Handwriting Reveals the Real You...For Better or For Worse
Like I said, I even type out letters that I send through snail-mail. But I noticed that handwriting shows a lot even if you (like me) know nothing about graphology.
Your personality still shines through your handwriting.
1) I remember watching a simple non-Jewish Rumanian woman write out her address and phone number and name. Her handwriting was startlingly beautiful and elegant, and I later discovered she possessed an unusually refined personality too.
2) Another friend of mine possessed handwriting that resembled the round bubbly script I remembered from notes passed in high school. The sincerity, girlishness, and innocence reflected in her handwriting lent a welcome dimension to her words, which would have been lost in typewriting or email.
3) And yet the glib quick-witted manner of another acquaintance in verbal conversation kept me off-balance for an embarrassingly long time. However, upon receiving a handwritten letter from that same person, it became clear that I wasn’t the problem. The letters and strokes were jerky and shooting out all over the place (even on lined paper).
Intended to be cheerful and spontaneous, it was the handwriting of a manic second-grader in possession of a scattered and fragmented mind. Yet this was a college-educated middle-aged mother. Plus, the handwritten letter enabled me to take the time to analyze its contents rather than be rushed along in glib conversation or hung up on just as I was getting past my initial “Huh?” in response to yet another one of her inappropriate comments.
4) Yet another person wavered between a petulant snipey persona and a compassionate insightful one. But her refined and intelligent handwriting reflected the wise insightful part of her, and she did tend to be at her best when writing her thoughts out by hand while email brought out her passive-aggressive side. Interesting, no?
It’s important to emphasize that in all the above examples, I wasn’t examining their handwriting. The personality reflected within simply jumped out without me expecting it to.
I remember going through a stage in which I dotted all my eyes with billowy hearts. What did that mean? I have no idea. I don’t know graphology at all. But it meant something.
Using Handwriting as a Jewish Meditation
And apparently, there is a form a Jewish meditation recommended by Rav Avraham Abulafia that calls for writing Hebrew letters by hand:
He proposed using a writing mantra, meaning instead of the usual verbal or visual mantra, one should write a word repeatedly over and over again in various styles and configurations. One should attempt to alter the sequence of the word and to permute and cycle the letters of the word in every which way possible: combining and separating the letters, composing entire new motifs of letters, grouping them and then joining them with other groups, and so on. This was done until one attained a heightened state of consciousness.
Well, this is just some food for thought.
Personally, I’m going to continue typing for the majority of my writing, while using a pen when I feel the need or have no other choice.
But I think it's still important to keep in mind that ideally, perhaps writing by hand is actually the better choice.
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/170308/jewish/What-is-Kabbalah.htm Please scroll down to see the part quoted above.
(For what it’s worth, a more detailed description of this meditative process is described on the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Abulafia . It looks kosher, but I don’t know anything about the rav’s work and so cannot judge the legitimacy of the Wikipedia content either way. Hatzlacha rabbah!)