If you have to work to remember how to say the words you’re memorizing how to write, what’s the point? Unless you’re in some field such as academic history where you wouldn’t expect to ever be speaking the language, it doesn’t make sense to learn to write things that are not part of your active vocabulary, because you won’t be able to read them when you hit them anyway if that’s the case.
We also have limited but legitimate data (taken under test conditions) showing that students were able to write a significant number of characters after only being shown huge amounts of text that they could read (for 6 months, high school level in the US, so no language environment). The students were never told they would have to write by hand from memory, there was no testing of writing by hand from memory, and the test where we measured how many characters they could write (out of a total of 110 or so they had ever seen) was unannounced and came after a 2-week school vacation. They were never taught stroke order. We “mentioned” radicals that seemed useful during reading instruction (“See this part? That’s on a lot of characters that have something to do with speech or talking”, that kind of thing.) We still had students able to produce between about 20% and 65% of the characters under those conditions. Plus they could read really, really well.
The other thing (and this is personal, your experience may not be the same) is that I lived in Taiwan for a long time, I went to graduate school in Taiwan, and I never had any occasion to write anything by hand from memory other than forms. I did a survey of Taiwanese (n=150) and found that in the case of non-students, they only wrote four things by hand: forms, greeting cards, phone messages and shopping lists. The only time I ever wrote anything out by hand (and I could reference my phone while doing it) was when I sued someone and had to write out a Post Office Evidentiary Letter in triplicate. And I’ve been out of Taiwan for over 10 years now, so it’s only more computerized/tech-y now, so more resources and less need to write by hand from memory…unless you’re taking a test somewhere.
I seem to have to do a test of handwritten-from-memory Chinese about every 5 years on average. I just do a month on Skritter.com before the test and am careful to look at the test booklet if it has text in Chinese (I can use those characters as a reference). That’s enough for me to pass and forget about handwriting until the next exam for something where it’s “absolutely crucial” that I know how to write by hand from memory. I’ve never really used the skill in any of the jobs those tests were attached to, though.
But it does impress Chinese people at parties, I guess.