Why Writing By Hand Still Matters

As we approach a season where there are many notes to write, invites to send and gifts to label, I’ve noticed some interesting discussions about handwriting. With so much being communicated these days using keyboard/pads, many people wonder if writing things longhand is obsolete… a lost art… scrawls that will be indecipherable to our grandchildren.
Not so fast technology. Handwriting has history, personality and staying power.
Handwriting is unique, a personal expression. It has more “soul” than the printed word will ever have. The fact that our technology includes so many styles of stylus says that straight out. What’s more, there’s a new digital pen (The Lernstift) designed by a pair of German entrepreneurs to help you write by hand more legibly. It’s in the final stages of development, so watch for it if you’re interested in improving that penmanship.
Schoolchildren still learn those cursive letters, copying them over and over just as we did, only today kids don’t fill notebooks and diaries with a careful script that can’t be deleted. They have options that didn’t exist for us. In fact, it wasn’t until sophomore year in high school that I learned to type (on a then state-of-the-art electric typewriter). My children all learned in elementary school… and it’s called keyboarding now, typing is… well, old-school.
Perhaps the best defense of the handwritten word is this, every great work of literature in our libraries today was once pen put to paper and finished with a signature.
If that’s not enough, here are a few other good reasons to continue learning (or practicing) writing by hand…

  • many job/loan/medical forms are still filled out this way
  • helps with eye hand coordination and fine motor skills
  • love letters, thank you notes and condolences still must be written by hand
  • it identifies you and is unique to you.
  • it’s an art form, a tradition from longstanding history, a way to express yourself
  • you can hold onto it, in a way you can’t keep texts, emails or chats.

In the working world, your handwriting conveys so much about you. Sloppy and  illegible suggests (unfairly) sloppiness elsewhere, while too flamboyant will have you fighting to be taken seriously. Even in our tech-savvy workplace there are plenty of places where we write by hand — phone message pads, white boards and post-it notes — all bear your easily identifiable script. Sure, it’s fun (for a while) to challenge the deciphering skills of those around you, but the appeal fades quickly and you’re left looking bad.
So, how will you handle the many handwritten messages you’ll be sending this year? What you write adds that all-important personal touch. Make sure your words are readable and the impression you leave is sure to be a good one. It’s worth the effort to practice a bit, to take your time when writing by hand so that your reader cannot mistake the time you put in, not only in choosing the right words but in setting them to paper.
With so few people doing this, you (and your business) are bound to stand out.