Updated: May 15
Make note of', 'write clearly and legibly' Your hand, your pen and paper is mightier than the keyboard HANDWRITING expands your creativity and imagination power
We all know that technology nowadays is ruling every house and office and our daily lives too. It indeed quickens our work and definitely makes it easier but not reliable. The use of technology and tech devices has it’s own disadvantages such as charging, tech concerned injuries and issues and unexpectedly documents and files getting deleted. We have to save files and documents somewhere, where you are still not sure it’s going to be safe. Nowadays your tech instruments can get hacked too and more than anything no privacy. Sometimes your devices just refuse to work for unknown reasons. When such incidents happen I’m sure many of us have been so helpless. Seeing all these don’t you think the better option is to have them written down somewhere or have a hardcopy. So much easier, simpler and faster than switching on the device, typing, sometimes with errors and then saving it and then when required again opening them. Instead if I have to make a shopping list it is easier to write and put it in my pocket, just unfolding the sheet of paper from my pocket at the supermarket to read is enough. Imagine if I had to save it on my phone and my phone get's switched off, another extra precaution to be taken is to see if my phone is charged. Apart from all these drawbacks it will save you the time of scanning at the entrances or fear of someone stealing your devices. The only advantage with technology is the clear script whereas with written work it’s always safe that is how we have old manuscripts still available today.
By the way when was the last time you all wrote something? At least a line. For some it must have been very long time ago. Was wondering is it really possible to stay without writing? Incase you need to name things such as glass jars or containers or books rack etc what would you do? If you are using your phone or laptop then you will need a printout? I’ve faced too many issues such as important messages or text not reaching on time, network issues, work getting delayed or halted for days due to server issues, losing contacts on the phone or not synced. I see technology actually helps people give any number of reasons, just about anything can happen. Though it’s a tech world everything needs a backup. Ages ago, in the world without technology work was at a slower pace and done manually, but things were actually moving and never stopped. With the digital world I see more errors, typing errors, the T9s, informal abbreviations can ruin language skills. Further more with the pandemic, the work and study at home, makes us feel that technology is important, to a certain extent is alright but in excess can be dangerous for body and mind.
I’m not an anti- technology person but just trying to weigh the pros and cons of using technology. We have come from different eras and ages from ancient world to the current tech world and glad that we are able to do research, understand, decide and choose what’s best for us and the future generations. In today’s world with all the sustainability talk everywhere and carbon emissions and footprints, the lessor the technology the better the body, health and mind. From the time technology has been a part of our lives, health related issues have increased, as physical exercises have reduced. There is too much stress and strain using the devices for long hours along with various addictions. What the early generations were practicing, that is the age old techniques had a little bit of science in it and they were sustainable, not harmful to the people and the environment. They were also a form of simple exercise such as handwriting. Those practices were more humane, emotional, sentimental , loving and caring. Human beings are social animals and those age old practices brought people together to socialize but technology has made people drift apart. The sense of socializing has disappeared. Instead of directly greeting people with a smile now we have texts with emoticons and emojis. Well in this blog I shall talk about handwriting.
As technology advances and more tech devices are being invented every other day, more and more people especially the younger generation have completely stopped writing. The charm of cursive writing has diminished. Sending snail mails, decorative mail boxes outside our houses, the post and greeting cards have all become old practices. Though a thought on sustainability and health hazards is slowly bringing this tradition back but it’s not enough. As kids, the first word we learn to write is our name. A joy in cursive writing, trying various styles on your name becomes ones own trademark in the form of signature. That is why famous personalities and celebrities' autographs are something to die for and not forgetting their endorsements. If handwriting completely stops what about autographs? Will die hard fans be happy with digitalized signatures ? What about authors who sign their books ? Getting your kids cricket bat or baseball bat signed by the person they adore is worth millions. Apart from that a photograph of the person signing standing next to you is a moment to be proud of. When those people are no more that autographed piece increases in value mainly because it is handwritten. History itself is a written dated manuscript for future generations to know what had happened in those eras. There was no technology back then but till now their written records exist.
Technology is something I cannot depend on. It can goof up anytime. Many times inspite of being cautious and sometimes over cautious still does not help, important documents are lost no matter what. It’s better I write and keep my contacts numbers or have a visiting card holder which can be with me for years. Let me ask you something? When you call up someone and give them any information don’t we ask ‘do you have a paper and pen next you?’ and the same with us, if we need to take note of something during a meeting or conversation we spontaneously look for something to write on immediately. In which case it is easier to take down notes. If not using technology for work, I don’t have to worry about carrying my laptop, charging port, switching it on and off, virus infection, files getting deleted, not saved....ooff…too many problems. Instead I can sip a cup of coffee, or fruit juice, guilt free that I’m not adding to the carbon footprint and write down what I need at a relaxed pace.
BENEFITS OF HANDWRITING
Handwriting has many advantages though laboursome. It is a good exercise for our brains . Our brains receive messages and feedbacks along with the feeling or sensational touch of the writing instrument and the writing surface. Writing by hand strengthens the learning process, improves creativity, problem solving, the brain is forced to be engaged with the information, critical thinking, improves both literacy and reading comprehension, sharpens the brain, learns to direct precise movement with the thought and forces us to slow down. It is a complex cognitive process involving neuro-sensory experiences and fine motor skills. It increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain responsible for memory, thinking and healing similar to meditation, . Holding the pen, directing the pen and the surface touch on the paper utilizes the visual, motor and cognitive brain processes. The writing process connects the mind to the hand allowing it to learn and grasp one word at a time. These make the experience of writing a pleasure by letting your thoughts flow. It helps to think positively and improves your language. Expressive writing or creative writing has better mental, physical, emotional benefits along with reducing illnesses, stress, and improving overall thoughts and moods.
Suggestions from researchers and scientists are that handwriting should be taught in the first three years of schooling as a record taking option and later in Years 3 to 6, keyboard skills should be taught. The kinaesthetic action helps improve letters memorization and recognition better than those who were solely dependent on digital devices typing. Writing continuously in a flow helps in stronger knowledge of words, spelling improves along with spelling memory. Handwriting is better than keyboard typing as the latter only improves verbatim notes without giving any actual thought to the information being typed. How many of us have gone to typists at various organizations such as courts and other places? They type your documents blindly without giving it any thought. This fluency of memorization of keys is done while typing. Surely these typists must be typing heaps of documents in a day without memorizing each and every document. Keyboard typing is a simple memory- based movement. Executing keystrokes are repetitive movement based on letter placement on the keyboard.
HANDWRITTEN LETTERS A SENTIMENTAL & EMOTIONAL ACTIVITY & IT’S BENEFITS
By nature humans are sentimental and emotional, with feelings towards touch. Letter writing has powerful effects both on the writer and the receiver. There are many world famous letters which have captured our hearts for years, treasured for generations in the past, present and will continue to be so in future. Handwriting is like a mirror to your heart. You express and write what you feel. Your mood and emotions can be seen and felt with your writing style and flow of words which show your warmth, romance, love, happiness, sadness and friendship. To some it maybe a hard task right from choosing the right words to write , if a card then from choosing your card to physically delivering it in a postbox and not to forget the stamps too. Of course your loved ones are special, can’t you do this for them? A simple act of love that will put a smile on their face, making all your efforts every inch worthy. You may never know how many times your loved ones are going to read it again and again.
Writing a letter could be a challenge, one needs to carefully plan and think, as well as concentrate before he or she writes or you might have to repeat it again. You see there’s no erase or delete there. If writing on postcards or greetings, you need to show your words technique within the space. So you need to express yourself within your space limitation, where you might end up writing at the corners or try to be creative to use the space in various ways and still completely expressing yourself. After all this, the adrenaline rush when you drop it in the mailbox wondering how the receiver will react ,or, when will they get your post, and, of course the wait for their reply too with a little suspense as you too don’t know when you will get a reply. While writing letters you cannot do multi tasking. We sure do type a letter on a laptop doing some other work simultaneously. If on the phone then texting many people at the same time or chatting. One has to concentrate on what you are writing, solely thinking of that person. Maybe trying to remember incidents linked between just you’ll, so letter writing is kind of very private between the writer and the receiver.
Taking your time away from all the technology around you and sitting down to pen those sweet words to the one you love and care is priceless. We continuing with letter writing keeps us in touch, leaving us with the feeling that we are still following our ancestors roots. They had everything written in some form of the other. If these written and recorded scripts from ancient history were not available, we wouldn’t have been able to understand and develop to where and what we are now. Sending texts and emails are done for companies or for official work and the same cannot be done for your loved ones. If it’s done in this fashion to your loved ones it will also be responded in the same way such as junk mail and spam mail, your letter will become valueless. Handwriting letters and showing of your classy taste of pens is another thing that is going to set you aside, more like a gentleman or lady type. A class of it’s own. Many authors still do long handwriting such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Tales of Needle the Bard' the longhand leather- bound copy sold for $4M at an auction, that’s the power and value handwriting has. There are countless other authors who have penned their works. Like the way I said your pen too tell about you, Stephen King uses a waterman cartridge pen, and you can choose yours.
HOW HANDWRITTEN LETTERS HAVE HELPED BUSINESSES
Sending letters is not only for your relatives and friends but also is a very clever strategy to attract loyal customers and business partners too. One thing we all must admit is if a post arrives home we don’t ignore it like junk mail. We tend to open and read it. Royal Mail states 65% give full attention and over 90% will open and read it. For email marketing 10 % is considered a good response but in the case of handwritten letters it is 30% which is almost triple the time of emails. According to Royal Mail 45% of snail mails remain at home for over four weeks and is reread four times, but I would assume more. With me for instance I read every time I see the letter. Sometimes when we used to receive Christmas cards we used to hang them all on a cord across the room for the full festive season. Royal Mail also states that about 15% of it is shared with others, ofcourse if it’s beautifully written who wouldn’t want to show it off to others. If in a family then probably to every member. Royal Mail also states that through mail marketing about 25% of UK adults have either donated, made a payment or bought something. 41% of those who receive mails went online to find out more about the company. More than 87% trust a handwritten mail as emails nowadays are full of spam, differentiating with real and genuine mail is difficult. So many have been victims to spam and scam. Bank of New Zealand came up with a very interesting marketing idea. They shredded $1000 cash and sent it to potential customers demonstrating that they wasted their hard-earned money with other banks. It really spinned the magic, their enquiries for mortgage lending and home loans went up by 13%. While I’m talking here about the benefits of hand written letters to customers, you all must be wondering how to send handwritten letters to 1000’s of customers? If your loyal customers are indeed the classy type and prefer handwritten mails then you can opt for roboquill. But this is definitely not for your loved ones.
WHERE HANDWRITTEN MAIL IS STILL IN FASHION
Though handwritten mail is diminishing it is still being used by various organizations such as The Juliet Club and the popular writing to Santa for Christmas gifts. Every year tens of thousands of people from all over the world write letters to Juliet of the famous Romeo and Juliet pair in Verona. This tradition has been going on for more than 100 years now and most of them surprisingly do receive a handwritten reply beautifully signed by Juliet. Though some letters are from remote secretaries most are from Romeo and Juliet's home city Verona. Imagine you send a letter not expecting a reply but do find one in your mailbox painstakingly written just for you and of course not missing the personal touches too. Also the feeling that Juliet has replied with all her love to you. Thanks to the wonderful Juliet club which has helped many people with their replies. The similar case is writing letters to Santa. The US postal service has been working for the past 108 years now delivering mail to Santa. The Operation Santa is a big responsibility as catering to worldwide audience is a huge task. The organization manages to operate as best as they could by providing and fulfilling everybody’s Christmas wants . The two main goals for this Operation is to help needy families during the holiday season, and the second interesting goal is encouraging children to learn how to use the postal system and become better letter-writers. It also creates excitement for kids to write, send and receive mail by post. Though telecommunications has developed and taken over many of the traditional ways but not this. Many children, from all over the globe, continue to send their Christmas wish lists to Santa using old-fashioned snail mail. And incredibly, many of those letters are actually answered. From 2017 they have started accepting emails but still the best way to enjoy this is would be by writing letters. The handwritten letter volume keeps increasing each year which is a good indication that there are still people out there who enjoy writing letters. In 2016, the museum instructed volunteers to start using only block letters when writing, as most children do not know how to read cursive writing. It’s indeed very sad !!
The museum says that when children write letters it gives them an opportunity to tell a story as most kids write about how their day was or about their family members. These kids too value handwritten letters in return. Since the current generation of youngsters nowadays don’t receive snail mails like it was few years ago, this is a wonderful experience for them and exciting too. Thompson of Operation Santa says “ Hand-written letters from Santa or anyone else “may become an increasingly important and rare thing,”. They also say that there are some who nowadays feel emails are bulky and have started the romantic rebirth of letter writing. Good enough that some movies show the romantic side of writing letters such as the latest movie 'Vivo'. The movie fondly starts with a lovely handwritten letter from Marta Sandoval to Andrés Hernández. The writing of the song and it’s notes so lovingly hand written and preserved for years. Vivo and Gabi rewriting the song and it’s notes. So we see the full movie revolves around a letter and emotions linked to it. No matter what nothing can beat a handwritten letter penned from your heart. It can never go out of fashion.
Recently a girl from Nepal was in the news by the name Prakriti Malla, a student of 8th standard who’s got the world’s most beautiful handwriting. She writes “Handwriting is an essential skill both for children & adults. It remains the primary tool of communication & assessing knowledge for students in the classroom even in this modern age of technology”. Which is well said and true. Her designer font went viral on every social media page and she was awarded by the Government of Nepal & Armed Forces. People suggested that Microsoft would adopt her remarkable writing as an official font in their products & MS-Word. If you encourage children to write probably theirs too might be sometime.
FAMOUS LETTERS TO READ
There are many letters that are famous and worth talking about and they are in different categories political, romantic, innovations, best friends and more. Here I’m giving you a list of some of these which are worth reading during your free time. They are :- Winston Churchill to Clementine Churchill, Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera, Mozart to his wife Constanze, Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, Leo Tolstoy to Valeria Arsenev , Charles Darwin had written more than 1400 letters to his close friend a botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, Winston Churchill's refusal to make deal with Germany, Eleanor Roosevelt to Lorena Hickok, Emma Darwin to Charles Darwin, Oscar Wilde to Lord Alred “Bosie”, English poet Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf, Charles Eames’ marriage proposal to Ray Eames, Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir, Honoré de Balzac to Countess Ewelina Haska (June, 1835), Allen Ginsburg to poet Peter Orlovsky, Napoleon Bonaparte to Joséphine de Beauharnais, John Keats to Fanny Brawne, Lord Byron to Teresa Guiccioli (August, 1819), Voltaire to Olympe Dunover, written while in prison for their affair, Johny Cash to June Carter Cash, Elizabeth Barrett to Richard Burton, Ludwig van Beethovan to his “Immortal Beloved”, Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, Ronald Reagan to his wife. List of open letters :- Letter from Birmingham jail by Martin Luther King Jr,A soldier’s declaration by Siegfried Sassoon, J'Accuse…! By Emile Zola, Open letter to the Kansas School Board by Bobby Henderson, Letter on corpulence by William Banting, Open letter to hobbyists by bill Gates, Letters from a father to his daughter – a collection of letters written by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to his daughter Indira Gandhi.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BRING BACK THE WRITING TREND
For the lovers of hand written letters the feeling of pulling out your old letters from where it was kept carefully, the rustic feel, the sound of opening them and the smell of it all are pure magic. It takes one back to that time. For some the letters can make one feel better and closer to the heart . A letter can bring close and soften the hearts of those who’ve had an argument or misunderstanding, anything that created complications among them. It cannot be ignored like emails. It shows an extra effort to sort it out. The stamp from overseas or shores gives you a feeling of your loved one far away but still you are in their thoughts. Having sent a letter that has travelled across lands and crossed seas just for you. The stamps of those countries and pictures adds to that nostalgic feeling. Letters are like your fingerprints, no two letters are the same. You can decorate your letters or cards, stick stickers, put pieces or bits of remembrances that link you and your loved ones. some hardcore letter writing fans take letter writing to a whole new level with wax seals, letter openers, fountain pens, different types of ink, rustic paper, hand engraved envelopes, pen stands, desk holders and much more. You can join letter writing societies and clubs and make friends with like minded people.
So what are you'll waiting for, give a break from tech, relax and think of that most wonderful person in your life, could be your grandma or Grandpa, your mom or dad, your sis or bro, your niece or nephew, your uncle or aunt or just your long lost friend or maybe your enemy you would like to patch up with. Surprise them. We all have lost many of them to the pandemic and letter writing could help some of them. Be courageous and start this, tell them that, you are with them at this time when they need you but life must go on and you are there to support them and take them through. Go take some time to search the best sustainable paper or card, take some time to pen your thoughts or read through the lines in the card to see which fits them well and pen your way through it. Take some time to go to the Post office, stick a stamp and put it in the mailbox. Believe me you won’t get a feeling like it’s gone to junk mail or spam, you will be surprised by the reply. So, go on let your hands get some exercise, find a nice spot, think of the good times you’ll had, refresh your memory and pen it to them. Let them know how much they mean to you and hence you have gone through this whole process because you value them so much and they are special to you. You can let your kids write too or share some space in the letter or card to show and express their feelings You may never know, you may not be able to see a smile on their face when they receive it and a tear brimming in their eyes but you will feel it from their letter that you have brightened up their day. Once you’ve started your letter writing you can show you have joined the classy group of letter lovers. Nothing to match a classy pen showing from your blazer pocket, an elegant mark of it’s own. A pen is mightier than a sword. Give it a start now.