Handwriting is better for learning?

I ran across this article from Business Insider from a couple of years ago that tells us handwriting is better for learning because it forces your brain to engage with the material. Normally, I’d jump up and down, shout “YES!” and say that this is proof that you need to write everything down. Like Field Notes says, “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.”

But, the more I think about it, the issue isn’t handwriting versus typing. The issue is critical thinking and teaching students how to study. I tell people all the time when I went to Seminary I didn’t learn everything about theology any more than someone who goes to medical school learns everything about the human body. What I learned is a method and a way to approach my given subject matter that helps me do what is expected of me. I learned to slow down and interact with the material to gain a better understanding – and this skill has helped me in much of life.

This is an issue I have with much of education. As Derek Webb says in his song A New Law:

Don’t teach me about politics and Government
Just tell me who to vote for
Don’t teach me about truth and beauty
Just label my music

The issue isn’t handwriting. The issue is slowing down. Yes, pen(cil) and paper force you to do that. They eliminate distractions. And they are just cool. But let’s get to the real issue and remind everyone that life isn’t a sprint but a marathon. It takes time to develop thoughts. It’s time worth taking regardless of if it is on a computer, typewriter, quill, fountain pen or a pencil. The issue isn’t the medium; it’s teaching the critical thinking skills necessary to interact with the materials.


Your Friendly Local Pen Store

Back when I first started out with fountain pens, I needed a lot of help. And I do mean a lot. Thankfully, there was an option just down the street. At the local shopping mall there was a pen store that was able to help. Quill and Nib was where I purchased my first bottle of ink, my first Lamy Safari and my first Rhodia paper.

A few years ago, however, they moved out of the mall and into a historic shopping district here in Central Iowa known as Valley Junction. And, to be honest, I just don’t get to that part of town very often any more. Earlier this week, I found myself driving through town earlier than I anticipated and thought, “Hey, Quill and Nib is just five minutes that way. Maybe I should stop.” So I did.

IMG_20160126_144804018I walked into their new store and quickly struck up a conversation with Peter, the sales associate who was working that day. As I poked around, I noticed that they had expanded from beyond just pens into pencils as well and I quickly snatched up the last two boxes they had of the Blackwing 211’s.

IMG_20160126_144824264The store is well stocked and reasonably priced. While I was there, a young man looking for calligraphy supplies came in. Although they did not have the items on hand, Pete asked him for a list and said the owner would do his very best to get the items in stock. I love that kind of service. Likewise, when another gentleman came in looking for a rollerball refill, not only did Pete find the right one, but made sure it fit and that the customer was happy with the way it wrote. I can’t speak highly enough of the customer service they provided.

IMG_20160126_145114147_HDRNot only do they sell the brands you expect like Conklin, Visconti, Pilot, Lamy and Retro 51 to name a few, but the owner of the store, Rob, is a pen turner and offers his custom work for sale as well. These are gorgeous pens and reasonably priced from what I can tell – although still a bit rich for my blood personally. Still, I loved the bolt action pen that had a gearshifter for the knock mechanism. Very cool. I wonder if he can do one in Dale Jr. colors?

Overall, I spent way too much time (and money!) yesterday but I had a great time chatting with Pete and other customers about something I love so much. I plan to go back to Quill and Nib soon and if you are ever in Des Moines, Iowa, I encourage you to go and take a look. Well worth your time for a visit.

Daily Write Up – 01/24/2016 – Link It Up

Not a lot to write today – working on the final stages of a top-secret project that I hope to announce this week. So, here are a few links to tide you over while we wait.

Owl Ink has a great write up of a Stationary Crawl through New York. Someday, yes, someday…

Gary over at Papernary announced a podcast hiatus due to the business of life. Hope to hear from you again soon, Gary!

Brad shows off what you get with a membership at the Pen Addict blog. Very interesting and I love the fact he is able to leave the corporate world to pursue his dream.

Todd over at That One Pen has a long list of all the writing tools he doesn’t like. I get it. I have a pretty long list as well.

Johnny over at Pencil Revolution talks about a new pencil or pen holder called the Bandynami Organizer. Not sure what to make of it…

Daily Write Up – 01/22/2016

I have spent a fair amount of time over the past week setting up and using my bullet journal. I will do a more formal write up on my setup, but I wanted to share a few resources I’ve ran across over the past few days …

Tiny Ray of Sunshine has a great introduction to the Bullet Journal System.

Coffee for the brain has an update on his set up for 2016.

Zealous Mom has a really solid Bullet Journal 101.

The Nib Guy talks a little bit about how he handles future events.

Lastly, sosteffso has a great list of additional resources.

I really am enjoying the process. I hope these links will help you if you are considering a bullet journal to get yourself more organized.

Daily Write Up 01/20/2016

fn28_chicago_3pk_m-460x460Earlier this week, Field Notes announced a new edition – the Chicago Edition. I like the notebooks, graph insides and the simple covers but something unique.

That said, they really don’t move the needle for me. I may pick up a pack, but I will probably wait just a bit until the Tournament of Books edition comes out and maybe pick up a pack then.

What about you? Picking one up as soon as possible or will you wait? Leave a comment below!

Daily Write Up – 01/19/2016

I have a small confession. Whenever I go into a meeting, I look at what writing tools other people use and try to identify them. It is a fun way to pass time in meetings that I might otherwise not want to be part of. Someday, I will draw a correlation between the writing tool a person uses and their personality type. Like, what does it say when a person uses a G2 – is there a personality type who uses a G2 as opposed to a Bic Crystal or  a Papermate Stic? Sounds like a fun experiment some time.