Writing by Hand Versus Typing

How do you write? Do you run to your computer and type as fast as you can to get it all out? Or when an idea comes to you do you need to write it by hand?

When talking to other writers there is a mixture but most of us write our first words by hand. Only after that first draft is on paper will many of us then transcribe it onto the computer.

There seems to be something more organic about physically forming the letters and words using a pen or pencil and putting them onto paper.

Yet we seem to have no problem typing words for blogs, emails and tweets. Why is that?

Is it a matter of ‘serious’ writing versus the more conversational, less important quick communications of today’s social media?

Maybe we consider the social media words more temporary and our fiction, poetry and memoirs more permanent and lasting?

The Importance of Handwritten Things

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to a memorial service this weekend for my dear friend, Nancy, who was also a writer, journalist and poet. Part of the service was a wonderful slide show set to music showing photographs of Nancy throughout her life and interspersed throughout this presentation were shots of beautiful, serene scenery and a few of Nancy’s handwritten poems. I was instantly struck by the importance of handwritten materials.

I have posted in the past the question about how you write; whether by hand or on a keyboard and it seems everyone has their own method, often combining both. But more than the writing process, this moment last weekend showed me how terribly important and personal handwriting is.

I know many schools don’t even teach cursive writing anymore and there is less emphasis on neat handwriting. I find this terribly sad!

As I read Nancy’s wonderful words, written in her familiar script, I felt an immediate connection to her. I don’t think this would have come across as strongly if the words had been typed.

I think of all of the recipes and letters my mother has given me over the years. They make me smile when I see her familiar style of writing. I still have hand written letters sent to me by my father and feel his style of writing is a direct reflection of his personality as well

I know this is why we save the first drawings and letters written by children. These are all snapshots of exactly who they were at that moment.

Will future generations miss all of this if the only records of their family and friends are all digitally generated, all using the same fonts and styles? The words themselves will have to have even more meaning and feeling but I think we will lose something incredibly important!

I have always kept letters and cards from the people who mean the most to me and in light of the digital age, will cherish these even more.

Do you think we should keep writing by hand? Will we lose an important connection to people without it?

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