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Take Time to Celebrate a Dying Art: Handwriting

handwriting

January 23 marks an obscure holiday that Dictionary.com, despite being a website, fully endorses: National Handwriting Day. Handwriting Day is not just a holiday dedicated to penmanship. Today is about you, and what makes you you. Your handwriting is unique and it is personal. It is as important and distinctive as your fingerprints. It doesn’t matter if it looks like chicken scratch or like Spencerian script; it is yours and yours alone. (Even Jane Austen was known for having terrible handwriting.) With every pen stroke there is something so pure and so human. We reconnect with ourselves and create a personal connection with others, sometimes a connection more intimate than a handshake or a hug, through handwriting.

There are hundreds of thousands of fonts in the world. But there are approximately 7.1 billion people on the planet, which means there are potentially 7.1 billion types of handwriting. Every style of handwriting, including yours, is special in its own right.

Today I encourage you to embrace the slowness of your script and to take a few minutes to do one or all of the following:

1. Try handwriting one of your social media posts, take a photo of it, and then post it. Bonus points if you include the hashtags #HandwritingDay and #mHDay. They will be collected into a gallery here.

2. Instead of texting or Facebooking a long-distance friend or relative, send them a postcard or write them a letter. US postage prices are actually going up on January 26th–so this would be a great excuse for you to stock up on Forever stamps. Plus, who doesn’t love mail?

3. If you’re the type (pun intended) to type your notes in class or in a meeting–detach your fingers from your QWERTY and jot those notes down by hand. Studies have shown that you’re more likely to remember the content you’re trying to absorb if you write out your notes.

How are you going to be celebrating Handwriting Day?

25 Comments

  1. gxnfar -  January 23, 2016 - 6:29 am

    Still my 70% of educational work is on handwritten … Although today we have technology until writing some thing via pen m not feeling student …. Love to write

    Reply
  2. Aquarian -  January 24, 2015 - 8:44 am

    I have been keeping diaries for over 60 years. I write everyday using Spencerian script. The more I write the better my handwriting becomes. I send greeting cards, all written. My friends and relatives treasure the cards. Whenever I forget to send greetings, my friends ask if I had taken a dislike to them. This is because they want to see my handwriting. So all my correspondence become personal and, in fact, is a revelation of my personality. I still have letters written to me by friends who are no longer alive. Whenever I read their letters, the persons come alive through their handwriting. Recently I started typing my daily journal in the computer. It is not a satisfactory way to keep a journal because I tend to go back to correct what I had written weeks before. If handwritten, it is not possible to erase and correct or put new thoughts into what is already written. The other loss of turning away from handwriting is that we become faceless. My typed letter will appear the same as someone else’s. The art of writing letters is also lost. I am all for handwritten texts than the impersonal messages through the computers.

    Reply
  3. Jim Speed CPA (Ret.) -  January 24, 2015 - 5:37 am

    During the course of researching my Family Tree – I have had occasion to view old census records. Generally, the handwriting of the Census Taker is incredibly beautiful calligraphy. I just wonder if everyone then had such artful handwriting. Or, if there was a handwriting test to become a Census Taker?

    Reply
  4. Gabriella -  January 24, 2015 - 3:03 am

    To date, I still love my writing…I find it very relaxing and also true that I remember much more what I study when I write them notes myself rather than using the QWERTY keyboard.

    Reply
  5. Idaraesit William -  January 23, 2015 - 10:23 pm

    oh just hearing hand writing day for the 1st time but it gives me joy to be aware that such a wonderful act is being formally and officially recognized, I so much grow a passion for writing and by regards I have a long jotter on my bed to edit new thoughts and inspirational words and besides I put down morphemes too

    Reply
  6. Elizabeth -  January 23, 2015 - 3:01 pm

    http://blog.dictionary.com/writing-day/#comment-388234

    It took me a half hour to figure what the heck this website wanted asking for a url. Why would you ask that and had it ever occurred to anyone you might get a lot more comments if you either omitted the question or explained what a url is for those of us who had no clue. I even tried ask and I don’t know how many guesses,daaaaa

    Reply
  7. Elizabeth -  January 23, 2015 - 2:57 pm

    Annie, the first commenter “How very observant of you”. I usually notice everything and I must confess that the way the pen is held slipped by me. I am wondering if this is the way it is held in a country other than the USA or some other reason? My guess as to your occupation is either a detective or an insurance fraud investigator. Good catch.

    Reply
  8. Djinn68 -  January 23, 2015 - 11:34 am

    To all those who have made disparaging remarks about a form of communication they deem too simplified I will say this: as African Americans were expressly forbidden to write (or read) during slavery, I celebrate my ability to do both as there are still individuals in this world who can’t do either be it for personal or political reasons. For all those who do cherish holding a pen (and to those who aspire to do so), WRITE ON!

    Reply
  9. Annie -  January 23, 2015 - 10:43 am

    I find it very interesting that in the photo of a hand writing at the beginning of the article that the pen is not held correctly. I have a callus on my finger left over from my handwriting days, which I don’t miss too much. I always hand write cards and notes.

    Reply
    • Mythayah -  January 23, 2015 - 8:57 pm

      Not everyone holds the pen or pencil the same way. I find it strange that out of all the things you could/should have focused on, this is what you chose. Peculiar…..

      Reply
  10. Tech and pen -  May 11, 2014 - 11:41 pm

    Handwriting is personal and unique, unlike text on a screen. It shows you something about that person. I was born into an era of text and technology, but I still handwritten notes to people. It is NOT a thing of the past. It gives you a chance to connect with the person more fully. Texting has upsides to, but please do not ignore the paper and pen. My handwriting is not perfect, but it is mine and unique, and that makes it beautiful.

    Reply
  11. Artist With Brains -  January 30, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    Oh HO HO. Dying art? What about that school makes you do handwritten essay homework everyday! Well, must be mistaken.

    Reply
  12. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 28, 2014 - 2:45 am

    I completely agree with Paul’s and Michelle’s posts. Writing can never be completely (or at least effectively) replaced. Thank You Handwriting Day!

    Reply
  13. P -  January 27, 2014 - 8:25 pm

    Personally, I used to have an excellent handwriting, however, in middle school I often got “luch detention” & they put us to write over & over againmwhat was on the boad, so for me to go eat, I would write fast & sloppy, so… my handwriting became… not so good & stayed that way b/c I haven’t taken time to practice.
    When writing I do preffer typing on the computer b/c if I make a mistake I can go back & fix it fast & also type faster (which again, one can practice & hand-write faster), it just depends on what Im writing.

    Reply
  14. Michelle -  January 26, 2014 - 8:02 pm

    Despite working on a computer nearly everyday and having a “smart phone”, as well as a tablet, nothing is faster than writing by hand.

    I’ve worked in various offices for over a decade, whether it’s at a non-profit or a financial office–there’s a reason you will always see paper note pads, post-its, highlighters and pens right next to laptops and desktops.

    Computers will sometimes freeze, phones will sometimes stall and tablets will slow in opening applications, but paper and pen will never have any of those issues.

    Reply
    • Brett -  May 6, 2014 - 4:02 am

      I can guarantee you that I could type a note faster than you even if my computer freezes. Are you forgetting that many, (Including myself) can type at 80 or above WPM?

      Reply
  15. Sam Carroll -  January 26, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    My mother died last september. One of the fondest memories of her I have is her emaculate handwriting. I remember her in the 50s and 60s sitting at night penning page after page of all the alphabet. Everyone would comment on her flawless script. Even the last note that I found from her was the luncheon menu she wanted at her visitation. Her handwriting made a lasting impression on many people and myself.

    Reply
  16. Saquina Akanni -  January 26, 2014 - 11:20 am

    Ditto all. Food for Thought on Fisher’s comment. First, how old are you? Considering the comment it implies GenY, therefore your entire life is limited to a very small number of years on the plant earth. The is something called Soft Skill that you may want to research. Keep living and you will become aware that whatever come our of your mouth or you type in a public forum has nothing to do with reality. It is a reflection of you and your reality in a moment in time. What you know now represents your past. That is limited. Keep living and growing. Let go of ego perspectives, and open up to other perspectives, perceptions and points of view. You will be amazed at what you will become aware of. Consider that Handwriting is an art like calligraphy and reflects your inner world. Sending you the best in life, love and light to live long enough to acquire Wisdom:-) The Prosperity Doctor

    Reply
  17. wolf tamer and coal miner -  January 26, 2014 - 3:34 am

    Wow, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Handwriting Day. I’m glad we have it though. My handwriting is very neat and also unique, although I wish it were more like my mom’s handwriting. I always save cards & letters for a really long time; for me, a handwritten letter or card is so much more special than an email (even though I love to see that little red circle that shows I have new mail).
    #HandwritingDay*

    *explanation: I don’t have a Facebook so I use Dictionary.com instead.

    (Yes I am the same person as wolf tamer and tree puncher only my status has been upgraded as of my Minecraft exploits yesterday.)

    Reply
  18. Bennett -  January 25, 2014 - 6:22 am

    I concur with the previous post! Writing is very personal and exhibits intentional effort, it is so easy and readily available to text, instant message and so on. It is definitely becoming a lost art and in my opinion enabling this generation, causing them to depend solely on technology. Yes, go with the time, but don’t eliminate the past, it is how we’ve gotten to the present!

    Reply
  19. Paul -  January 24, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Not intending any harm or ill-will toward you, Fischer, but I sincerely hope you are forced to endure a prolonged electrical outage. We will then see where you stand on handwriting. Or will you ask others who are proud to carry on this “slow, often sloppy, and ineffective way to write anything” to do your writing for you? And perhaps I should mention all the wonderful literature that was written in longhand before it was set in type? No, I’m afraid I don’t have time to list even the authors, let alone their voluminous works.

    Reply
  20. Nathalie -  January 24, 2014 - 1:55 pm

    I feel it sad that it’s come to this, but I’m all for any sort of handwriting promotion. Not only is it more personal, unique, and effective with important-to-remember info, but it connects us to our past in a very specific way. Handwriting plays a large role in our memories, too. Who has not kept love notes from school crushes? Encouraging notes from mothers in lunches?

    Damning handwriting as useless or a waste of time says much more about the person making such a statement than the actual practice of penmanship.

    Reply
  21. scarda -  January 24, 2014 - 11:20 am

    So unless you have a keyboard with you at all times, you cannot make note of anything new you have thought? Very limiting! All sorts of important inventions and messages have been written/drawn by hand on fragments of paper, and all sorts of messages from ages past have been written by hand on pottery, cloth, walls, etc. No, the keyboard is not the road to creativity but is far more likely to be its end. Your hands are made for more than smacking keys. Try it sometime.

    Reply
  22. Fischer -  January 23, 2014 - 4:59 pm

    This is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard about in my whole entire life. Handwriting is a slow, often sloppy, and ineffective way to write anything, so honestly, MOVE ON PEOPLE!!!! Technology is an extremely key innovation to making our society the best it can be, in education and almost any profession now. Message to everyone- QUIT LIVING IN THE PAST, PLEASE!!!!

    Reply
    • Tech and pen -  May 11, 2014 - 11:44 pm

      Handwriting is personal and unique, unlike text on a screen. It shows you something about that person. I was born into an era of text and technology, but I still handwritten notes to people. It is NOT a thing of the past. It gives you a chance to connect with the person more fully. Texting has upsides to, but please do not ignore the paper and pen. My handwriting is not perfect, but it is mine and unique, and that makes it beautiful.

      Reply

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