search slide
search slide
pages bottom

Writing It Down

Writing It Down

I’ve taken some time off from writing, as you may have noticed.  I’m busy trying to find work and getting ready to send my son to (Oh My Gosh!) FIRST GRADE!!!!  This includes the frantic dash between stores like Target and Wal-Mart to pick up what seems like too much stuff –crayons, markers, pencils…and the list goes on.  Sure, the kids will be using them to write and color, but just the act of doing so will strengthen not only their hands and arms (what my son’s kindergarten teacher called “writing endurance” which is basically the ability to write with a pen or pencil for long periods of time), but also their brains and, most specifically, their memory for the things they’re writing down. 

My husband laughs at the handwritten grocery lists I make, or the way I brainstorm and plan a new writing piece on paper before I start entering it into the computer.  Even my dad writes down a grocery list – though I don’t know how he reads his writing – and marks items off as he puts them in the cart.

But, as confirmed in #3 on the list in this article (pardon the language, it’s from a comedy website and the language can often be strong), writing it down helps you remember better.  Why, you ask?  According to the article and the studies that it cites, the physical act of writing it down activates a whole other set of neurons in your brain than those used to just mindlessly type it out on the keyboard.  Right now I’m actually not looking at the keys while I write this (even though I have backspaced through this sentence four times now).  So, I’ve memorized where all the keys are on my keyboard, but I’ll likely forget nearly every word in this post shortly after it is posted. 

When I thought maybe we would have to make the flash cards my son needs for math this year, I was going to have him write them out (a few at a time), so maybe they would stick in his brain better and I – and his teacher – would get the finger-snap-quick answer-time to the question 18-6= (to which my son will shout out 12! Without having to count backwards on his fingers).

Also, I think (not referencing the article right now) that the people relaying the information tend to slow down when they know someone is writing by hand.  While on a phone call to my college yesterday, the woman spoke slowly, probably because she knew (psychically?) that I had a pen and paper and was writing it down rather than entering it on the website as she told me what I needed to know. However, there are mean people out there (like college professors) who seem to think they can race through a lecture without pausing for the audience to soak in or write down the information.  That’s probably also why teachers of young students give spelling tests – writing down those words helps students remember them.

So, if it’s important enough to be remembered – write it down!