Put away the keyboard, quit your texting, and close those chat windows because today we’re going to celebrate the fabulous form of written communication known as “handwriting.” Yes, January 23 is National Handwriting Day!
In this age of 140-character text messages, 210 wpm typing speeds, and insta-face-snap-chats, you do recall what actual handwriting is, don’t you? The feeling you get when you hold a pen or pencil firmly in your hand, touch it to paper, and form beautifully connected lines and curves to form letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. The way you can create an entire story with nothing more than a crayon and a little imagination.
So even if your handwriting is no better than Billy Madison at a third-grade blackboard, join us as we hold our pens up high and give a spirited salute to National Handwriting Day.
Why Is National Handwriting Day Celebrated on January 23?
National Handwriting Day came into being with the help of the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) in 1977. Concerned that the days of handwritten letters might be going the way of the dodo bird and dinosaurs, WIMA stepped in to save the cherished art form.
The date of January 23 honors one of America’s founding fathers, John Hancock, whose handwriting is displayed prominently on one of the most iconic documents in history: the US Declaration of Independence. Hancock, born January 23, 1737, on a cold winter day near the Massachusetts Bay, not only was first to sign the Declaration of Independence but also notably inscribed the largest and most-recognized signature on the entire document. Graphologists have been studying and admiring his handwriting for over two hundred years, and it has stood the test of time even as writing has become digitally enhanced in the technology age.
The Benefits of Handwriting
Why is handwriting so important?
For one, handwriting enables a person to learn faster and retain information, and having the ability to physically write letters and words offers many cognitive, artistic, and educational benefits. The act of combining the body’s motor skills with cognitive function essentially helps our brains think better.
Handwriting is also one of the most expressive forms of communication. Not only can you share meaningful words and phrases with handwriting, but you can also do so with a personal flair that, similar to a thumbprint, carries unique qualities and individual expression. Handwriting can reveal an individual’s personality and has a sincerity that cannot be expressed the same way in type form.
Handwritten signatures are used on legal forms and other important documents because they are so personal to the individuals who wrote them. When you compare one person’s handwriting to another’s, you can often identify a letter’s author just by the penmanship.
Handwriting Is Everywhere
Looking back on our own lives, we can recall being children who first learned to write their ABCs in a wide-ruled, grade-school composition notebook; dreamy teens who drafted eloquent poems and stories and novels in a personal diary; young adults who hastily wrote love letters to a soul mate; or young professionals who scribbled down notes in preparation for that first executive presentation.
In fact, throughout history, handwritten documents have been used not only to tell fantastic tales but also to express love, declare war, make peace, inspire movements, and declare nations’ independence.
None of these accomplishments would have occurred without handwriting.
Let’s All Celebrate National Handwriting Day
When is the last time you sent someone a handwritten letter? Make today the day! Craft a note, document your thoughts, write a book. It doesn’t matter if you represent nations on enriched parchment or write a top-10 hit single on a cocktail napkin. One does not need a pricey laptop or tablet to draft the next Harry Potter novel when a No. 2 pencil will do the trick!
At Elite Editing, we can help right what you write, whether it’s done with fancy word-processing software or scribbled on the back of a notepad. So tell us, how will you celebrate National Handwriting Day?
- National Handwriting Day Receives Congressional Recognition, PR Newswire, January 17, 2018.
- The Story of How Handwriting Evolved, and May Soon Die Off, New York Times, August 25, 2016.