Is Handwriting a Dying Art?

Let me give you a few questions to ponder. When somebody tells you that they want to give you their phone number, do you reach for a pen and paper or do you open your contact list in your phone? If you want to remember an appointment, do you write it down on a calendar with a pen or pencil or do you set up an e-mail reminder? When you have an idea that you don’t want to forget, do you write it down in a journal of some sort or do you digitally record it, perhaps e-mailing it to yourself?

If you had asked me all of this fifteen years ago, my answers would be just a little bit different than they would be now. I almost always put phone numbers in my phone but I sometimes write appointments on paper calendars so that I can see the plan regardless of whether there is service where I am or can use a phone at the time. When I have an idea I nearly always write it down on a bit of scrap paper but sometimes I will then take a photo of that paper and e-mail it to myself. Best of both worlds?

There are some that make the case that handwriting is a dying art — one indication of this is that in many schools, cursive handwriting is no longer taught and in others, it is being taught far less extensively than ever before. The last time I tried writing in cursive, I was embarrassed by how ugly my lower case s was followed by wondering why my ns looked all wrong. I use cursive for my signature but even that is no good. I feel like taking a refresher course on the subject.

You would think if handwriting was truly dying that pen sales would dry but this is not the case. I still order plenty of them for my office including my favorite, the Bic Atlantis. When I hold one in my hand it feels quite comfortable and it makes it very easy to write in my journal just about every morning.

If you are a writer I think that you may find it helpful to outline what you want to write — but not on a computer. By writing out what you have in mind with a pen and paper, you not only can visualize what will be but it actually has an effect on the brain which helps you learn what you are planning better.

Pick up that pen and get to writing! The art of writing is not dying! Write on!

14 comments

  • My handwriting, is, and has always been, horrible. I always write in cursive when I must. Printing takes too long. I can sometimes read my handwriting after the fact, but oftentimes, not. That’s why I prefer a keyboard. My fingers can better keep up with my mind and I can always later read what I originally wrote.

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  • Lillian Boyington

    I haven’t looked at your last link yet, but immediately, the 5 senses come to mind.
    Every one of the 5 senses one uses in learning a task or remembering an item increases the probability of recall exponentially.

    http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Wallis1.html

    I use that very fact to recall things later. If I write it (feel) (see), I have used two of the five to reinforce the thought/task – and if I can (hear) it, I’ve done myself one better.
    When reading my weekly parshah, I log on to ESVonline where there’s an audio as well as a visual option on the screen and I’ve reinforced the information that much more on my mind.

    I open my phone store a phone number, I update my electronic calendar to remember an appointment. You have given me an idea I hadn’t thought of to use the electronic age to my benefit. Taking a picture of a note had never crossed my mind. I may use that. SMILE

    But on another note: I have snapped a picture of a mis-labled shelf item at WalMart to prove my point on a price discrepancy at the register (which I knew would occur). It worked like a charm!

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  • Lillian Boyington

    I’m a pen fanatic. Pilot is my favorite brand. :)

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  • Gordon,
    No matter what the idea is, at least half the planet seems to get there ahead of me. One day about a month ago for no particular reason I decided to use cursive instead of print in my little daily journal, a small black ledger that I use to record purchases and events and the occasional stray thought. But as I took pen to hand I was a little stunned to find that writing was difficult! At the age of fifty-seven I ain’t no geezer, but one does become slightly more aware of the onset of, the encroachment, uh…well, you start to notice things. So I began to conciously attempt a fine hand in my morning entries and have gradually got it back. A small victory, but then I am easily amused.

    I wrote about it and my readers seemed to all be happy to admit to bad handwriting. (Sometimes they seem to miss the point of a post, which is, I think, more a reflection on my writing skill than their powers perception.)

    I found your Blog by way of DWB’s place. I got there by typing in Fosse vs Fred Astaire and was led to his “Michael Jackson got his moves from Bob” piece.

    Moonwalking, good handwriting, bicycles…like I said I am easily entertained. But I am also always fascinated by what is happening as the Internet puts us all, all the world over, into closer and closer contact. I also have a realization that has been nagging at me that I will go into should we meet again. Now I am off to Walmart to stare at pens.

    tj

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    • TJ,

      Thanks for the fantastic comment. I’m glad that you have found us here. I think your troubles with cursive penmanship come from not using it on a regular basis. Glad you got it back! I look forward to learning more about your nagging realization.

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