23 January is #nationalhandwritingday

I am really grateful to my school history teacher (we had the same amazing woman for 5 years) who taught us to write an A4 page in 10 minutes. She knew that if we couldn’t do that, we wouldn’t pass our history exams. That was in the pre-computer era.Then when I became a teacher, in the computer-era, I had a real struggle to teach my students the same skill. By then it was more imperative (can that be possible?) for handwriting training so students had the stamina to get through an exam writing by hand when everything else was done on computer.

There are pros and cons to both handwriting and typing, but overall I think the skill of handwriting is far more valuable than that of typing. Fine motor skills which can’t be developed on a machine. For many of us, our initial thoughts take place on paper – words or doodles, there’s invariably a piece of paper to write on irrespective of where you are whilst a computer or android, mac or other tablet is not.

As a writer, I use both handwriting and typing – depending on what I’m doing, where I am and what my deadlines are. Interestingly, my writing approaches and styles differ between the two and I noticed when experimenting with voice-activated typing systems that my style was completely alien to what it was when I wrote. It must be that different parts of our brain are stimulated by each respective recording method.

This seems to be supported by others.
The Guardian reports
Freakanomics found mixed results – I think more quickly writing than typing (less distraction)
BBC claims the writing is on the wall – so true. If I haven’t written for a while, my handwriting is ill-formed and doesn’t flow as smoothly
How does it all differ to caligraphy? Chinese calligraphy is a prize-art form.

Importantly, children with dyslexia and dyspraxia should be encouraged to write – not for writing’s sake but because of the other benefits. Some helpful advice can be found on how to manage the challenges these children face. And there’s a National Handwriting Association.

Convinced that handwriting is important and need to improve yours? Here are some handy tips.

And for those needing some inspiration for story lines, perhaps the Hidden Code of handwriting might help.

How do you create your masterpieces? Please share but don’t forget to let us know what type of masterpiece you create. That is just as important in determining the most appropriate creative process.

“Work on a good piece of writing proceeds on three levels: a musical one, where it is composed; an architectural one, where it is constructed; and finally, a textile one, where it is woven.”
― Walter Benjamin

Thanks Pablo for the image

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