Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Do Literary Authors Have Good Handwriting?

Simple answer for the question in the title—it depends :-)

It would seem rather obvious that “literary” authors could be anything from fine calligraphers to indecipherable scrawlers.

However, there may be a connection between what’s called “cursive” handwriting and being a good writer

I was given a gift by one of the people in my Google Plus Circles the other day because they posted a link to an article I want to share about handwriting.

Alida Winternheimer linked to What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain.

Here are just a few excerpts:

“In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of brain become co-activated during learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice.”

“Brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding.”

“The brain’s ‘reading circuit’ of linked regions that are activated during reading was activated during hand writing, but not during typing.”


Learning (and, I imagine, using) cursive helps thinking (which ought to help creative writing) and even stimulates brain areas used in reading

“Cursive is also faster and more likely to engage students by providing a better sense of personal style and ownership.”


Could a psychologist see signs of an author’s “voice” in their cursive handwriting?

“Other research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas.”

Yes, I’ve known for a long time that the mere act of writing can help me think

It’s definitely worth reading the full article, especially if you want to know more in-depth, because of the bibliography at the end :-)

Do you still use cursive at some point in your writing endeavors?

Not so silly question: Should we be calling it “writing” if we use a keyboard??

[EDIT:] Here’s another view on this topic from another post on G+ — Writing by hand. Modern day fetish?
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4 responses to “Do Literary Authors Have Good Handwriting?

  1. Tomas Karkalas June 19, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Thank you for the post. It was really interesting to read about the relationship between the kind of writing we use and the brains activity. It was worthy pondering deeper. I visualized thousands of my cursive scripts… and bowed down to these scrap papers as my teachers of beauty- the hand-written lines have trained me the responsibility for the way I was sharing my thoughts. Thus it was sad to grasp the keyboard prevailed over my day currently. After reading your post, I turned of my computer to open the copybook, to rehabilitate the childhood. You healed my heart. Thank you once again for so valuable information.


    • Alexander M Zoltai June 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Well, Tomas, you healed your Own heart, Sir, since you chose to turn from the computer to the copybook :-)

      Plus, you may be one of the very few who actually did that after reading the post


  2. Martina Sevecke-Pohlen June 19, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I have been thinking about the relationship of the kind of writing and the process of writing for some time. I wrote the first drafts of all but one of my books by hand, in cursive writing. At the time I felt that writing by hand helped me concentrate on the whole of my text (words, syntax, ideas expressed and ideas forming the context). That was apparently the case. Still I have come to prefer writing non-fictional texts and blog posts using the keyboard.
    Teaching reading and writing to adults made me understand that we own what we have writtten. My students were proud because they had created letters and meaning


    • Alexander M Zoltai June 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm


      You bring up an issue that I wish more folks had in their conscious awareness—the deep importance of creating meaning with words


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