Handwriting: Lost art or just not necessary anymore?

Photo credit: © Limych | Dreamstime.comI’m not sure when this happened, but somewhere along the line, I have lost the ability to handwrite.

Seriously. My hands can’t form letters with a pen anymore. They fight me and form these swishes that are loosely tied together and shape what looks to be a word. Or maybe not.

I’ve become accustomed to typing. Not only typing. I’ve become accustomed to tools like autofill and autocorrect. (Not always a good thing.)

Being a writer and one that thinks very quickly, I have to type. My hand doesn’t keep up with my brain anymore.

It wasn’t always like this. I got my first computer during my freshman year of college. Before that, I remember doing research papers on a word processor that showed the equivalent of a Twitter post on a tiny “screen.” Mostly, though, I used to write neatly on notepaper. Even in college, I wrote in those blue books for essay tests. (Are those still around anymore?) Those old school (literally) writings are evidence that I used to have decent handwriting. (I won’t give myself too much credit.)

Now, my handwriting is more like hand scratching, and my signature is just a big scribble.

It doesn’t help that I’m a lefty either. Writing from left to right with your hand blocking the letters you just penned, smudging both paper and hand as you go, is just plain annoying. Not to mention the spiral of a notebook impeding your ability to lay your hand at an appropriate angle for writing. Or the fact that you end up slanting everything the opposite way.

I think part of the problem is that I now count on having a laptop, desktop computer, smartphone or other device at my disposal at all times. There’s probably a bit of laziness there too. I get sick of writing by hand and legibility goes out the window. Quickly.

My husband and I joke that our oldest son, G, has terrible handwriting. He’ll be six next month, so there’s plenty of time to perfect his handwriting. I question whether or not it’s even necessary though. Will he ever turn in a handwritten report, or will he simply type it on his computer? (And, of course, it’ll be his computer and not mine or my husband’s.)

I’d like to think the art of handwriting is still appreciated and relevant. I still take notes in my little notebook during meetings and conferences, or when I need to jot some ideas down quickly. (Though, admittedly, I’m eying an iPad to replace the notebook.) I also think that a taking time to send a handwritten note goes a long way both in business or in your personal life.

What do you think? Is handwriting dead, or is it just not appreciated anymore?

Will my two year old ever use the book version of a dictionary or thesaurus?


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art, music, parenting, philanthropy and other musings from a working mom in brunswick, maine


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