The Art of Writing in the Digital Age

As many of you know, I started the LD Podcast when my kids were small, because they had learning struggles, and one went to a school for kids with learning disabilities for a number of years. Along the way, I read, researched, and even wrote a book, on top of producing a podcast about learning and learning differences, so that as I learned about how to help my kids, I could help other parents and kids at the same time.

One of the issues my boys struggle with is HORRIBLE handwriting.  There are fine motor issues, and even throughout their schooling, there have been debates about whether handwriting is important, something schools should spend valuable time on, or skip in favor of teaching kids keyboarding skills at an early age.

Well, there are even more studies coming out that say taking notes by hand help strengthen your memory and mastery of material.  When I spoke to handwriting and learning experts a number of years ago, they explained that the process of handwriting meant that you had to take information in auditorily, then transform it and determine the most important points, and write it down- and in this process, you were doing several things using your short term and long term memory that helped retention, better than just writing down everything the teacher said, like taking dictation. You had to take information and the physical act of writing seemed critical in that process.

This is why I have notebooks everywhere. I have driven my husband crazy with all my notebooks, and I am surprised the Moleskine company hasn’t added me to their christmas card list.

Then, in 2016, I discovered Bullet Journalling, where I could keep all of my notes in one journal, rather than having one for every subject. It has an indexing system which makes it convenient to use, but I am still tied to paper.  In fact, I recently needed to share my notes on a subject with my boss, and he laughed- in part because of the paper, and how inefficient the method was in sharing information.

So this year, for my birthday, my husband gave me a new ipad pro and an apple pencil. I have been gradually giving up paper in favor of the ipad/apple pencil pairing, and I hate to admit it, it is working.

While I love the notability app where I can take notes and audio during a meeting or interview, the Nebo app for ipad lets me take handwritten notes and with a click, transforms them into typed text that I can export and share in anyway I need to.  This now frees me to write, draw, and do anything I need to with the Apple Pencil, and still let the text be useful to export into blog posts, landing pages- whatever I might be working on.

And if I ever need or long for a Moleskine and things like the storyboard pages, the Moleskine app provides this for me as well, although it does not have the handwriting recognition I get in Nebu.

While ditching paper is still a challenge for me, my love of handwriting and the efficiency of transferring that information into a useful and searchable digital resource is finally at hand. I’ll let you know how it goes, but so far, my world is becoming less and less dependent on paper.

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