Forget the computer — here’s why you ought to write and design by hand

J.K. Rowling scribbled along the first 40 names of characters that will appear in Harry Potter in a paper notebook. J.J. Abrams writes his first drafts in a paper notebook. Upon his return to Apple in 1997, Steve Jobs first cut through the existing complexity by drawing a simple chart on whiteboard. Needless to say, they’re not the only ones…

Here’s the notebook that belongs to Pentagram partner Michael Bierut. All the pages in his notebook resemble the proper side, although he has got said to Design Observer which he had lost an especially precious notebook, which contained “a drawing my then 13-year-old daughter Liz did that she claims may be the original sketch when it comes to Citibank logo.”

Author Neil Gaiman’s notebook, who writes his books — including American Gods, The Graveyard Book, together with final two thirds of Coraline — by hand.

And a notebook from information designer Nicholas Felton, who recorded and visualized 10 years of his life in data, and developed the Reporter app.

There’s a reason why people, who possess the option to use a computer actually, choose to make writing by hand an integral part of their creative process. Also it all starts with an improvement that we might easily overlook — writing by hand is quite distinct from typing.

On paper along the Bones, author Natalie Goldberg advises that writing is a physical activity, and thus afflicted with the equipment you employ. Typing and writing by hand produce very different writing. She writes, “I have discovered that when i will be writing something emotional, i need to write it the first time directly with hand in writing. Handwriting is more connected to your movement regarding the heart. Yet, once I tell stories, I go straight to the typewriter.”

Goldberg’s observation could have a little sample measurements of one, but it’s an incisive observation. More to the point, studies in the field of psychology support this conclusion.

Similarly, authors Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer students notes that are making either by laptop or by hand, and explored how it affected their memory recall. Within their study published in Psychological Science, they write, “…even when permitted to review notes after a week’s delay, participants who had taken notes with laptops performed worse on tests of both content that is factual conceptual understanding, in accordance with participants that has taken notes longhand.”

While psychologists determine what actually happens in the brain, artists, designers, and writers all have felt the difference between typing and writing by hand. Many who originally eagerly adopted the pc when it comes to promises of efficiency, limitlessness, and connectivity, have returned back again to writing by hand.

There are a selection of hypotheses that you can get on why writing by hand produces different results than typing, but here’s a one that is prominent emerges through the realm of practitioners:

You better understand your projects

“Drawing is a way in my situation to articulate things inside myself that I can’t otherwise grasp,” writes artist Robert Crumb in the book with Peter Poplaski. Put simply, Crumb draws not to express something already he already understand, but in order to make sense of something he does not.

This brings to mind a quote often attributed to Cecil Day Lewis, “ We do not write in order to be understood; we write to be able to understand.” Or as author Jennifer Egan says to The Guardian, “The writing reveals the whole story in my opinion.”

This sort of thinking — one that’s done not merely using the mind, but additionally with the hands — can be employed to all or any kinds of fields. For instance, in Sherry Turkle’s “Life on the Screen,” she quotes a faculty member of MIT as saying:

“Students can consider the screen and work in their head as clearly as they would if they knew it in other ways, through traditional drawing for example… at it for a while without learning the topography of a site, without really getting it. Whenever you draw a site, when you add within the contour lines while the trees, it becomes ingrained in your thoughts. You started to know the site in a real way that isn’t possible because of the computer.”

The quote continues within the notes, “That’s how you get acquainted with a terrain — by tracing and retracing it, not by letting the computer ‘regenerate’ it for you.”

“You start by sketching, then you do a drawing, then you definitely make a model, and then you head to reality — you choose to go to your site — and then you go back to drawing,” says architect Renzo Piano in Why Architects Draw. “You build up a kind of circularity between drawing and making and then back again.”

In his book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, author Gordon MacKenzie likened the creative process to a single of a cow milk that is making. We can see a cow making milk when it is hooked up to your milking machine, and then we realize that cows eat grass. But the actual part where the milk has been created remains invisible.

There is an part that is invisible making something new, the processes of which are obscured from physical sight by scale, certainly. But, areas of everything we can see and feel, is felt through writing by hand.

Steve Jobs said in an interview with Wired Magazine, “Creativity is just connecting things. They did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something when you ask creative people how. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s simply because they could actually connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize things that are new. Together with reason they certainly were in a position to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they will have thought more info on their experiences than other people.”

Viewed from Jobs’s lens, perhaps writing by hand enables visitors to perform some latter — think and understand more info on their experiences that are own. Much like the way the contours and topography can ingrain themselves in an architect’s mind, experiences, events, and data can ingrain themselves when writing out by hand.

Only after this understanding is clearer, can it be best to return to the computer. In the exact middle of the 2000s, the designers at creative consultancy Landor installed Adobe Photoshop to their computers and started using it. General manager Antonio Marazza tells author David Sax:

Final Thoughts

J.K. Rowling used this piece of lined paper and blue pen to plot out how the fifth book when you look at the series, Harry Potter as well as the Order associated with the Phoenix, would unfold. The essential obvious truth is that it looks just like a spreadsheet.

And yet, to express she may have done this in the spreadsheet will be a stretch. The magic isn’t when you look at the layout, which can be just the beginning. It’s into the annotations, the circles, the cross outs, and marginalia. I understand that there are digital equivalents to every of these tactics — suggestions, comments, highlights, and changing cell colors, however they simply don’t have the effect that is same.

Rowling writes of her original 40 characters, “It is quite strange to look at the list in this tiny notebook now, slightly water-stained by some forgotten mishap, and covered in light pencil scribblings…while I became writing these names, and refining them, and sorting them into houses, I experienced no clue where these people were going to go (or where these were likely to take me) buy essay.”

Goldberg writes inside her book, that writing is a physical act. Perhaps creativity is a physical, analog, act, because creativity is a byproduct of being human, and humans are physical, analog, entities. And yet in our work that is creative of convention, habit, or fear, we restrict ourselves to, as a man would describe to author Tara Brach, “live from the neck up.”