It can be so easy to leave pens behind. After all, everyone knows that the world runs on digital communication. Right? Well… that’s still true, but the humble art of handwriting has its uses. Especially during the first months of Spring, whether you’re finishing off your wedding RSVPs or picking out the perfect birthday card. So, how can handwriting help you, even in the twenry-first century? Read on to find out more.
1. Get creative
Handwriting encourages creativity. The website for Headspace, the mindfulness app recently featured by Taylor, summarises recent scientific studies that say the act of putting pen to paper engages a specific part of the brain, resulting in greater learning, memory and reading skills. It means you’re more successful, and the amounts of brain activity produced spark inspiration for any situation. If you’re a visual learner, draw out a colour-coded mind map to plan that project better.
Creative writer? The most classic works of literature were written in longhand, at least initially. Of course, you have your pre-keyboard-era authors like Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, but Stephen King wrote the first draft of his novel Dreamcatcher with a fountain pen. He says that handwriting ‘slows you down, makes you think’ more about the sentences you’re forming. Why not give it a try?
2. Keep in touch
If big projects aren’t your thing, you can also use handwriting to make a difference in everyday life. In the USA, May 18th is Visit Your Relatives Day. If you can’t do that, why not do the next best thing and write to someone? Maybe a note to a neighbour who doesn’t get a lot of visitors, or a card to an older relative who is, perhaps, less tech-savvy, even a letter to a friend who lives in an area with really bad signal.
Just think how many people you can build a stronger connection with, all because of your handwriting. It adds a more personal feel to your words. Not only are you taking the time to physically write, you’re sharing your unique handwriting style with a special someone. Speaking of which…
3. Learn something new…
Love to learn? You could go back to trying cursive, the flowing, joined-up style of handwriting taught at school. Maybe you think your handwriting needs tidying up, or you’ve always wanted to be ambidextrous. Learning a new skill can be an exciting hobby, but it has its practical uses, too. From shopping with a credit card to handing out autographs, a signature is essential when presenting your unique personality to the world. And cursive can help you develop your signature.
Want to take handwriting to the next level? Try calligraphy, which is all about decorative lettering – not the simple cursive loops taught in the classroom, but a real handwriting art. Think monks and their hand-drawn illuminations, those large and intricate first letters of a medieval text. How beautiful.
4. …and about yourself, too
(Well, maybe.) Graphology is the study of handwriting, and covers every aspect of the inked word, from the size of your letters to the way you dot the i’s and cross the t’s. For example, if your handwriting slants to the right – as it does in italics – you are extraverted, impulsive, and future-orientated. If to the left, you’re apparently more reserved. It’s that simple.
However, some claim graphology as a mere psuedoscience, although others take it seriously; in France, it has even played a role in recruitment. But whatever your stance is, graphology remains an enjoyable, easy-to-understand way of exploring identity. What new things could you discover about yourself from a simple study of your handwriting?
5. Help your health
This one might not seem so obvious at first. Handwriting isn’t the most strenuous exercise for your hand muscles, nor is calligraphy, for example, the quickest way to share your creativity with the world. But that’s not the point. It’s about art and the focus needed to create something beautiful, for the same reason adult colouring books are popular. You don’t have to share your work with the world. It’s about making a more mindful you.
And handwriting is, above all, an excellent mindfulness strategy. Although important, there’s no sense of urgency when forging interpersonal relationships through, say, a friendly note. It forces you to think more, developing creativity, concentration, and focus. Add in the time spent away from a glaring screen, and you have the perfect break from the bustling world. All because of handwriting.
From learning a new skill to having a healthier you, handwriting is the perfect antidote to life in the twenty first century. In a world where digital living and working is the norm, taking a break is worth everything (even if you do love Taylor Magazine. But hey, you’re welcome to come back any time!). Handwriting allows you the space to sit back from the bustle of modern life, relax, and just breathe. So, what are you waiting for? Go take that time away from your screen, and put your pen to paper.