Handwriting in a Digital World


My kids hate writing. They complain every time they have a written assignment or if I ask them to write a letter to a family member, yet they love receiving handwritten mail.

It has become so easy and fast to just type everything or use voice memos to save information, but there is something special about writing by hand.

If you have read some of my previous posts, you know that I am a compulsive list maker and have been keeping a bullet journal for the past 6 months (I had not realized it had been that long already!). I have always enjoyed writing things down, but I have also found that when thoughts have to flow through my hand onto paper I remember them better. I tend to be a visual learner, so if I see something I am more likely to remember it. That is infinitely magnified when I have to write it out in order to see it.

Writing things out by hand also helps to prioritize. Say you have a list of 20 things you want to get done today. Now, you are asked to write out those things. Most people are not going to sit down and write out all 20. You are probably going to pick out a few of the ones you REALLY want to get done and then get started on them.

The same goes for taking notes. I was listening to an audiobook (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) while taking the kids to swim practice. I would try to remember little nuggets that I wanted to write down later but could never hang on to them for the entire drive. So I though I would just go online and find an outline. I found one that is several pages long. I could just print it out, but the odds of my ever looking at it again are pretty slim. I know that when I sit down to write out some notes in my journal (which I will look through again since I use it everyday), I will only write down those things that are most important to me. Since writing something out by hand takes time, we want to make sure that we are using that time for things that really matter which makes it a great way to see your priorities.

And of course, there is the personal touch. Everyone loves receiving a handwritten note. Why? Because we know that someone took extra time to write it for us. Putting the extra time into writing by hand shows someone that you care enough to put in the extra effort.

A few months ago, I wrote my oldest son a love letter because it was something that he desperately needed at the time. I told him to keep it and take it out to read any time he feels he needs to. He sleeps on the bottom bunk in a set of bunk beds, and the other night I saw him make sure the letter was folded and tucked into one of the boards above his head. I hope that letter is something he can continue to cherish for many years. When I sat down to write it I took my time and chose my words carefully because I wanted to make sure it was filled with all of the love I have. To see those words of love fill a page is truly a beautiful thing.

In this world of digital everything, don’t forget to use your hands.

2Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.

Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV

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