Handwriting Defended.Then Diminished.

Does anybody write on paper anymore?

I do. Most mornings. My usual: “Good morning, Lord,” followed by journaling followed by comments on whatever Scripture I’m reading that day.

Today I was done journaling after 4 lines. Then (the Book of Revelation has never exactly been my favorite place for devotions) my written comments about Revelation 8 were not much longer. 

Except they started a train of thought that went on for 7 pages.

When’s the last time you hand-wrote seven college-ruled pages’ worth?

About a dozen years ago, I tried to switch over from handwritten devo notes to digital ones. We’d just moved to China for the first time, and I’d discovered that the notebook paper I’d been journaling on since I was 18* was nowhere to be purchased.

I hated digital journaling. I gave up after less than a month. Too much of the rest of my life was digital. So since that time I have either brought paper in myself or had others bring it to me from the States.

Here’s the other weird thing I noticed this morning [it happened only because I did a rare immediate re-read because Tammy, who once in a while does, had asked to read, and so I went back to remember all I’d written about]: I observed that when writing on paper, I never correct myself.

Weird. I can write on and on and when I’m done, if I go back and read it, I don’t care to change anything. Whereas that never happens when typing. I can’t so much as write an email without editing it thrice, plus.

But I was soon to discover––though I’d thought these were the reasons––it was not the paper, and not the handwriting that made the difference.

No. Because I proceeded to also wrote this blog entry out by hand. As an experiment. (That and Tammy had my laptop in a coffee shop taking some online course.) And, lo and behold, I did not proceed to embark on some no-need-to-edit stream-of-consciousness piece. Far from it, my paper (pictured above) was full of cross-outs. Carrots for inserted words. Whole paragraph insertions. Then, after transposing it here, it changed so much it’s hardly the same document anymore.

So…if it’s not using paper that makes for un-edited writing, what is it? If it’s not the handwriting, what is it?

It’s the audience.

The audience. I guess that means––and this can only be good news––you’re not God. God is the only one I can write to without having to constantly adjust for clarity. Without repeatedly analyzing how I might more thoroughly impress him.

Writing to him happens on a level that writing to anyone else cannot go.

Do you ever write him, friend?

If that’s not your particular habit, why not take today and do your own experiment? Who knows what you might learn (don’t expect he’s going to learn anything) in your own 7 pages? I’ll heartily recommend notebook paper and a pen––they do give the brain that little bit of extra think-time as the hand catches up––but less so than I would have yesterday. For they’re not what matter the most.

It’s the audience.

Happy letter-writing.



*gotta credit that 8½”x11″ recommendation to you, Mrs. Stimmel––freshman year at Crown College.