Posted Under: creative brief,process of writing
Can handwriting help your content marketing? What if your marketing communications pieces started out in longhand?
Could be something to it.
When you find an example of an excellent piece of copywriting, copy it entirely, word for word, by writing the entire thing by hand.
Don’t ask me how this works, but great copywriters swear by this method, and it’s one way I learned myself. There’s something about the act of handwriting that hard-wires the words into our brains.
That’s pretty novel advice, particularly in an era in which keyboards, touchpads and texting are turning longhand into a dying art.
I know that my brain works differently when I have a pen in my hand – I can feel it – but my handwriting is such an aesthetic affront to me that it gets in the way of creativity. Anything longer than a grocery list just grosses me out.
The best writing I’ve ever done was either in longhand or on a typewriter, a machine halfway between handwriting and a computer keyboard. It’s much more annoying to fix a mistake when using a pen or a typewriter – have you ever noticed how often fast typists hit the backspace key on a computer keyboard? – so I think things through before committing them to paper.
It’s better writing.
Getting help for tibiwangzi
But the problem for us Westerners pales by comparison to the problem for Japanese and Chinese youth. Whereas we need remember how to write only a couple dozen different alphabetic characters, writers in Asia must remember how to compose thousands of pictographic characters.
Recognizing these characters for reading is a completely different matter from pulling them out of your memory and putting them on paper, and tibiwangzi, or “take pen, forget character” afflicts millions of mostly young, mostly electronic-input-oriented Asians. The pervasiveness of this “character amnesia” prompts young Chinese to fear for the future of their ancient writing system.
What would it take for you to resume your childhood use of pen and paper? Would you use it for copying excellent text, as Rodrigo suggests? Can you imagine writing a creative brief or a press release in longhand?
If, as a marketing manager, you discovered that you wrote better in longhand, would it justify the additional time to transcribe your handwritten copy on a computer?
John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.”
photo credit: Marquette La