*Writing by hand is thinking on paper. Thoughts grow into words, sentences
Memories become stories. Ideas are transformed into projects.
Notes inspire insight.
We write and understand, learn, see and
think – with the hand.
with the hand
makes you smarter.
And probably even
“The hand is the window to the mind,”
said German philosopher Immanuel Kant¹
almost three hundred years ago.
With the eye we see the world, but it is
the hand with which we “grasp” it.
Our sense of touch is so sophisticated
that we even describe things that we have
grasped with our hands in the dark in much
greater detail than when we only see them.
Every contact, each touch sparks a firework
of connections in the brain – and accelerates
Write with pen and paper – and set off
your inner fireworks.
2. Think Writing
It takes time for us to learn how to read.
And it takes years until our handwriting
joins the individual letters in a smoothly
flowing movement which, in turn, inspires
our thoughts to flow freely.
It is precisely
this complex interplay of fine motor skills,
abstraction and imagination that makes
writing with the hand a veritable symphony
of the synapses. Writing by hand
strengthens the connection between the
right and left hemispheres of the brain.
From the point of view of the human brain,
very few things are as integral and
sophisticated as writing with pen and paper.
Write down your thoughts.
And stimulate all areas of your brain.
3. Understand Write
Typing is not writing.
No keyboard is able to replace
the valuable thinking and processing
mechanisms that occur when we put
pen to paper. Students have deeper learning
experiences when they take handwritten notes.
Preschoolers develop language skills more
easily with the frequent use of pen and paper.
And even words in a foreign language are
committed to memory better, the moment
we write them down – regardless of which
language it is and how old we are.
Knowledge is a resource that multiplies when used.
As soon as we write something down by hand,
we increase our knowledge.
Study with pen and paper –
and increase your personal learning curve.
4. Act Writing
The mind can only think a limited number
of steps in advance. That’s why our head sometimes buzzes, and most people can’t plan
more than five consecutive chess moves.
But as soon as we pick up a pen and put it
to paper, we allow our thoughts to run free.
We escape the inner confusion, simply by
putting our thoughts in order. This empowers
us to step back. And the resulting distance
helps us to objectively view plans and projects.
By writing our thoughts down, we bring
them to life. By putting our plans on paper,
we increase the chances of actually
putting them into practice.
Write down what’s going through your mind.
The reward is clarity and insight.
5. Classify Lists
No draft is set in stone.
Schedules are hardly ever kept.
There are never enough hours in a day.
Most of our worries revolve around
constantly changing tasks and projects –
and pen and paper can achieve clarity
and calm here, as well. Each handwritten
list frees the mind, facilitates analysis
and sharpens focus. Lists help us to
separate the important from the urgent.
Classify and prioritise. And we sometimes
forge relationships on paper that we
previously weren’t aware of.
Even this process is certainly
• more intuitive
• and efficient
with the use of pen and paper.
Not to mention the satisfaction that comes
from crossing a completed task off your list!
Plan your projects with lists – and you’ll hold
control over them in your hand.
6. Discover Writers
Many authors still write their novels by hand because they want to discover where the journey
will take them. Putting words down on paper
is like embarking on a journey: we know where
it starts – but not where it will end. Unlike texts
on a monitor, sentences written on paper
have a lasting quality.
The pen reinforces this effect,
gently driving the hand over the page, from one
word to the next. Instead of simply deleting a
sentence with the back key or tearing the sheet
of paper out of the typewriter, we move forward
in the direction of our thoughts, which
(loosely based on Kleist) we compose while
If you have a complex problem but no
solution in sight, just pick up your pen and paper
and start. Writing is striding forth in spirit;
one sentence follows another, one idea after
the next. Suddenly, characters and ideas emerge,
formed by the previous thought – apparently
conceived out of the blue, but ultimately
created by hand.
Write down your thoughts by hand – and explore
7. Let go
Writing is release.
It allows us to understand, process, think,
unwind and free ourselves from many things
that dampen the spirit. Once we write something
down, we feel relieved.
Writing by hand stimulates
areas in the brain that are also active when
we meditate. We calm down, think more clearly,
review our thoughts – ultimately letting some
of them go.
Scientists also confirm these findings. Writing by hand not only helps to understand, it also helps to process ideas, let go of them
or cast them aside. It doesnʼt have to be a
diary project. Even the smallest 'To do' list lifts the
weight and creates great lightness.
Write down what you want to give up –
and discover inner peace.
8. Remember Writing
is the way
Writing with the hand is a physical act.
Every single letter, word, underscored passage,
circle or mark that you put on paper leaves
traces that remain in our physical memory.
Most people can remember an exciting part in
a book even months after reading it. Handwriting
has a similar, yet stronger effect.
In the transcript
of a lecture that is teeming with references,
we recall the ideas we had when we were sitting
in the lecture hall. The recollection of the situation
in which we wrote each handwritten text can still
rise before our inner eye, even years later.
The briefest handwritten note takes us on a journey
through time. This is the reason why so many
people keep their notebooks. And why famous
people’s manuscripts are so popular. After all, handwriting says so much about
a person’s character.
Write with pen and paper –
and track your personal history.
Denken mit der Hand*
*Writing by hand is thinking on paper. Thoughts grow into words, sentences and pictures. Memories become stories. Ideas are transformed into projects. Notes inspire insight.
We write and understand, learn, see and think – with the hand.