Why Hand Write?

Here I am, sitting at my desk in the colorful space, “Write Under the Stairs”, of TT Patton, typing my message to you about the importance of handwriting.  Yes, TYPING about handwriting. Writing, I mean physically writing with one’s hand, is becoming a lost art. Is it not obvious?

But who cares about being artful when your phone has an application allowing you to very conveniently take electronic notes?  I will be the first to admit to texting “Myself”, as I’m so creatively named in my contact list, when a friend tells me the name of a musician or a book I should look into.

Elsa's NotebookRecently, however, in an effort to write more with my actual hand I invested in a notebook to carry with me. This has been more positively received in the presence of others than my cell phone.  The truth is, a person’s handwriting is a reflection of his or her self, and not just of their personality.   It’s who and how they are at any given moment.  Handwriting gives us a context that is lost with its computer text counterpart that we so heavily rely on today.

At the first day of Creative Writing Camp this week, my campers individually finished a story they had begun together.  Writing with fountain pens, they put their personal touch on both the story’s ending and the way it appeared on paper in their self-decorated journals.

CW1-Journals-e1371491664476So.  This summer I challenge you to write with your hand as much as you can.   Whenever you get the urge to use your computer or phone to compose something ask yourself if you can simply write it down.  I also encourage you to challenge kids to take on this task as well…it is not uncommon for today’s kids to type more than they write.

Then, when you have written every would-be text message on scratch paper, developed blisters, and think you’ve shown this challenge who’s boss, do the unthinkable.  Write with your other hand.  This will likely be frustrating, but could also be fun in its inevitable hilarity.  When the summer is said and done I guarantee you the wonderful feeling that comes with producing something with your own, two-of-a-kind hand.

Elsa Guenther
Creative Writing Specialist

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