So in the age of digital media, where we put our thoughts, feelings on the web and share our news on social media have we forgotten the power of the pen? When the hand-written letter, thank you note or documents is fast becoming a thing of the past, the art of elegant or even just legible handwriting may well be under threat. The unofficial holiday National Handwriting Day encourages you to put pen to paper, and to practice your handwriting.
Handwriting Day was invented by the American company Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) and it celebrated annually on 23rd January. They believe the art of handwriting is now almost obsolete in todays technological world, they want us all to realise what a pencil or pen, hand and paper can do.
Working in hotel marketing, I use a laptop and type away all day writing articles, press releases, emails full of copy requesting design for posters, leaflets and brochures and scheduling posts for social media. In my spare time, I update my own social media and write this blog as my hobby. I am so glad I learnt to touch type as a teenager, as I think I would find it unenjoyable. Thank goodness for spell check too, which I would be completely lost without!
However, I do write lists – to do, shopping and things to remember. I have my diary glued to me in work, so I can jot things down. My memory is not great, and would completely forget otherwise. I also have a blog planner for the year so I can make time for the things I want to write about as well as any adhoc projects and opportunities that arise.
Think of some of the important documents in British history, all of which were hand written
From legal documents such as the Magna Carta in 1215 and the unification of England and Wales in 1535, to death warrants of well known historical figures such as Anne Boleyn or the regicide document for Charles I, or even proclamations of a royal birth.
- Ballpoint pens were very popular amongst World War II pilots because they did not leak at high altitudes.
- The UK postal system destroyed 5,000,000 illegibly addressed Christmas Cards and letters a few years ago.
- You can be devoted to reading historic handwriting, a palaeographer will study for years to specialise in particular scripts used in a certain time and context such as book scripts and legal documents.
- Graphology is also handwriting analysis, and is based on the manner in which we write words and sentences.
- The first ever record was found on clay tablets from 3,300BC.
- One of the oldest pieces of handwriting that is stored at the British Museum is a list of beer rations allocated to building workers.
- 97% of people write their name when trying a pen out for the first time.