When you read someone else’s copy, you might say to yourself “I need to use that style,” or “I’d never write like that,” but you’re only doing a superficial analysis (and you’re prone to distraction, to boot). But when you write by hand, you slow down. You engage the part of your brain that creates, not just the part that takes in the sights, and it changes your perspective.
He goes on to describe how writing it out will "challenge your muscle memory".
Now how does that apply to genealogy?
I thought of a couple of ways.
Transcribing a document - When you take the time to write it out (or type out if you don't have readable handwriting) you are
- concentrating on each word
- learning the standard wording of typical documents of that type
Learning how to write family histories or case studies. The point is not to copy someone's work in your articles/books etc. but to improve your writing as outlined above
As you hand write (print) names on a family tree (in pencil of course as you will likely make changes), you are concentrating on the names, dates and places.
The 5th standard in the genealogical proof standard is "a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion." When we write things out, we are thinking things through.
We learn by different ways. We may favour one over the other but generally it is helpful to learn by multiple means. Writing by hand is tactile/physical/kinesthetic learning. As I prepare to teach a night school course on genealogy at the end of April, I want to keep in mind all the various ways people learn so that we have variety and to give the students time to write things out.
Do you think it helps to write things out?