I've been doing a lot of self-improvement lately. You know, trying to become more productive and what not. Part of this process has involved journaling, which I'm told is supposed to be awesome. Moreover, I've been told how wonderful writing by hand can be for—well, just about everything. One of my friends has shocked and awed us with the fact that he writes all of his novels' first drafts by hand. To the point that he's convinced others to try it too.
I hate it.
It's not writing-by-hand's fault. I'm not sure whose fault it is. When I was a four-year-old, learning how to write for the very first time, I could hardly have been expected to make good decisions. One of the worst decisions I may have ever made was the choice to hold a pencil in an extremely awkward way.
Here's my confession:
Nearly thirty years later, I can see that I chose poorly. The way I hold a pen is not designed for long-term writing. I guess I was stubborn enough at age four that the adults in my life decided to let me be. Consequently, I can write about a paragraph or two before my hand starts to hurt. I'm a sprinter when it comes to writing by hand; novel-writing is like cross country running. There's no way that's happening for me.
I've considered relearning how to write. I used to be a peck typist. I didn't have to hunt for the keys; I basically have the QWERTY layout memorized after thirty years of using keyboards. By the end of high school, I was typing by using my left index finger, my right index and middle fingers, and both thumbs. I was pretty good—but I was never going to get better. There's a skill ceiling as long as you need to look at the keyboard.
My freshman year of college, I decided I was going to teach myself how to touch type. I told my IRC chat friends that, for a few months, I might type like an amateur, and I asked them to be patient with me. At the end of one month I was already touch typing faster than I had ever pecked. Today I can type about 72 words per minute.
I haven't needed to write as much as I've needed to type, so the pressure to correct the way I write has never been there. I don't know that it'll ever be. At 33 years of age, considering the way technology is moving, there isn't a lot of incentive for me to learn how to write differently. I just can't rationalize choosing to write like a kindergartener for the years it's going to take for me to write enough to develop an adult's level of handwriting again. For much of the same reason I don't expect I'll ever sit down and relearn how to write in cursive comfortably.
What do you think? Should I give it the old college try anyway (again)? Should I continue journaling on paper or switch to a Word document? Should I stick to writing on paper only when I really need to memorize something? Should I practice my cursive writing? Let me know in the comments.