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The Importance of Handwriting in a Digital Age

by Amanda Doyle January 23, 2020 3 min read

The Importance of Handwriting in a Digital Age

Happy National Handwriting Day!

Every year on January 23rd, analog lovers across the country come together to celebrate writing on National Handwriting Day. This special day brings to mind a question for those who haven’t yet fully come to appreciate the pleasures and practicalities of writing by hand:

Why bother writing by hand in an age so dominated by digital typing?

We’re so glad you asked. More than ever, handwriting holds a special importance in our modern digital age, and this is why.

Handwriting helps us remember important information

Whether it’s in jotting down this week’s grocery list, keeping a to-do list posted on your fridge, or taking notes to prepare for an exam next week, handwriting plays a crucial role when it comes to remembering. 

While it's tempting to label typing as the next evolution of handwriting due to its benefit in speed, that doesn’t quite paint the whole picture.

Although typing may usually be faster, handwriting is scientifically proven to be more effective than typing when it comes to recalling information - especially for any lengthy time. So the next time you reach into your bag for your laptop to type out a few notes, think twice and consider picking up a pen instead.

Read more about the cognitive benefits of handwriting in this article.

Handwriting cultivates creativity

Have you ever stared into a blank Word document, waiting to unleash a master-class essay, poem, short story, you name it, for what seems like hours only to throw up your hands in frustration as you find yourself clicking on a new tab to browse YouTube for “just a second”? The problem might not be your brain, but your writing method of choice.

Whereas typing opens the door to distractions, handwriting allows you to focus and really get in touch with your with your writing - pun intended. Handwriting facilitates brainstorming by freeing us from the rigid, linear structure of typed documents and enabling us to express our flow of ideas as they come to us using physical space in whatever way feels best. And there’s no feeling quite like scratching out your creative thoughts with a quality pencil or drawing your ink across the page with a fountain pen – the tactile experience simply can’t be beat.

Handwriting gives us a sense of accomplishment

When writing on a computer, even your longest, proudest, most valued piece of work can be shrunken down to a tiny icon smaller than an inch, sitting on your desktop among a field of other little icons. There's a feeling of insignificance that comes with that convenience.

With handwriting, you physically see and feel the effort that you put into your project. Every moment the pen moved quicker with excitement and ideas, and every time something was crossed out to plant the seeds for something better right after, you can see it up close and continue to feel that strong connection with your writing. There's not much that can compare to the sensation of holding a stack of your own writing on paper and literally feeling the work that went into it.  

Handwriting is enjoyable

What we write is personal, so the tool you choose to write with should feel personal as well. Once you find your method of writing that you like most - whether it's pen, pencil, or nib and ink - complement it with great quality writing paper: Now you're ready to fully reap in the inherent joy of writing itself. 

The next time you sit down to write by hand, pay attention to the way your writing tool touches the paper. Hear the sound of it moving across the page. Feel the way your letters swirl and dash with each other. Get intimate with your handwriting that's unique to you. Enjoy the singular pleasure of giving your focus to the act right in front of you, and the way your writing rewards you with new discoveries about your ideas and yourself.

This is handwriting. Can you do this with a smartphone?

Keeping handwriting alive

We hope today can be a reminder to spend more time enjoying the act of handwriting. We hope it makes you feel more mindful and creative. And if you entered our handwriting contest: Thank you for keeping handwriting alive!

We are happy to announce that the winner of our handwriting contest is...Lisa Tsang! Their habit for 2020 warmed our hearts so much, and their gorgeous calligraphy-written letter completely wowed us, complete with nib and ink illustrated accoutrements. Congratulations Lisa and enjoy your new Michael Sull American Cursive Handwriting book!


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