It's National Handwriting Day: What Will You Write?

With January 23 being National Handwriting Day, I thought it’d be appropriate to start off this blog talking about that.

How many of us really write anything by hand anymore? I’m not talking about jotting down little lists to take with us to the grocery store, but really writing–putting thoughts down on paper.

When people find out I’m a writer, they just assume that I have notebooks and journals filled with writing, and while that might have been the typical case for a writer a little over a decade ago, today it’s not. I know I don’t have very many (if any).

In fact, if you’re like me, most of your day to day writing is done online with a computer. I spend pretty much my whole day typing on a laptop, no matter whether I’m writing articles for a client or creating my own content for an upcoming book or blog, which brings me to my next thought:

Are we, as writers, losing a part of the writing experience by forgoing the traditional pen and paper method of writing?

For me, the answer is yes. While it’s easier and much quicker for me to simply type my thoughts up on a computer, there is something to be said about grasping a pen in your hand and watching as the ink flows from the tip onto a piece of paper. It’s a powerful feeling to know that as you create a series of letters, you’re forming words. To me, handwriting is a form of artistry. (Seeing as how I have absolutely no artistic skill when it comes to drawing or painting, I’ll grasp onto any other way to be an artist that I can. Haha.)

When you write by hand, you put more of your blood, sweat, and tears into what you’re writing. I say this because if you write for any length of time, your hand begins to cramp or tire, and yet (if you’re like me) you trudge on, not content until your thoughts are painstakingly conveyed onto that sheet of paper. If you make a mistake, you must pay the consequences of it. You can’t simply backspace or delete it with ease; instead, you must cross out the mistake, erase it, white it out, or even leave it. You’re forced to deal with it.

I like handwriting. I always have. Even as a child in school, I relished when the teacher gave us an assignment that required us to handwrite definitions of terms. I get a weird sense of pleasure from clutching a pen or pencil between my fingers and feeling a smooth sheet of paper under the side of my hand as I neatly form the letters that I envision in my mind’s eye.

However, in this digital age, I have gotten away from the practice of handwriting. Working online keeps me typing on the computer, and even when I create my own content for publication, I create it for publication online so that I might reach a larger audience. Until the beginning of this new year, I hadn’t kept a journal, diary, or whatever you want to call it since I was a child. One of my new year’s resolutions was to take some time each couple days (if I can’t get around to it every day) to write something by hand in a little journal that I bought. Not only does it give me a sense of accomplishment, but I think it’s been a healthy writing exercise.

Whether or not you keep a handwritten notebook or journal or you choose to do all your writing digitally, take a moment today to handwrite something. You might find that it proves to be an activity that you want to incorporate into your daily writing habits.