If you keep a journal or a to-do list by hand, you probably enjoy the tactile pleasures and slower pace of writing by hand. Although it may appear archaic in an age of digital devices and voice-to-text apps, handwriting is a valuable skill that can help sharpen your brain, slow the frenetic pace of your thoughts, and improve your memory. On January 23, the birthday of John Hancock, the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence, National Handwriting Day was observed. His autograph became so well-known that the term ‘John Hancock’ is now used interchangeably with the term ‘signature.’
History of national handwriting day
Writing, the element that distinguishes prehistory from history, is a critical skill that elevates human civilization and enables us to communicate and trade on a large scale. Writing not only allows us to record our thoughts and feelings, but it also allows us to record transactions, count items, and pass on information to future users, which is critical for the development of early societies. The true origins of writing are unknown, but we do know that it arose independently in several ancient world regions, from Mesoamerica to China, India, and Mesopotamia, beginning around 3400 B.C. The earliest known writings are from modern-day Iraq, and they are pictorial signs that were later replaced with a complex system of characters based on Sumerian language sounds known as cuneiform.
The construction of writing systems varies. Some use pictorial symbolism, while others combine characters to create new meanings, and still others use grammatical structures to create full sentences with depth of meaning. Symbols in alphabet-based writing systems represent consonants, vowels, or syllable sounds, whereas symbols in semanto-phonetic writing systems represent both sounds and meanings. Handwriting serves a variety of functions in utility and record-keeping, correspondence, literature, and art. The art of decorative lettering, known as calligraphy, elevates writing to the level of an exquisite art form. Ancient Chinese bronze ware, Mayan hieroglyphs, Western European illuminated manuscripts, and Islamic mosque inscriptions are all examples of traditional calligraphy.
Although we tend to record everything on electronic devices in today’s digital world, research shows that writing things down by hand has advantages that typing does not. Writing by hand can help you focus, reduce stress, and improve your memory. A handwritten note or letter also carries more weight than typed or emailed correspondence. Try handwriting a letter, a diary entry, or a to-do list and see what a difference it makes!
Why handwriting is important?
When we write something by hand rather than typing it on a keyboard or touching a screen, our brain engages in a different way. Writing improves memory, according to studies; students retain learning better when working with new ideas by handwriting rather than typing. Writing by hand engages the body, making it a more holistic activity. Putting pen to paper to form words and sentences has a distinct physical and multidimensional quality to it. Even in this digital age, many accomplished people believe that keeping a small notebook and pen handy is critical to their success so that they can jot down ideas in the moment and refer back to them later. Writing that is proficient has a soothing flow and rhythm. While technology and culture encourage us to work faster and more intensely, tasks like writing can help us strike a healthy balance between work, learning, and play. Being able to write easily in different handwriting styles, allows the mind to concentrate more fully on a topic. Struggling with handwriting diverts valuable brain energy away from any writing task, but once mastered, that skill makes all the difference.
What to do on National Handwriting day?
Its your day! You can do the activities that make you happy. Handwriting styles are upto you, whatever the style you like more. Here are a few suggestions.
Check out some video to learn how to write with pencil.
It is impossible to have good handwriting if you do not have a good grip. Videos demonstrate proper grip technique, which is one of the first and most important steps in forming legible, consistent letters and numbers.
Practice your calligraphy skills
Have you ever attempted calligraphy art or used a fountain pen? To try your hand at this relaxing and beautiful hobby, look up an online tutorial or enroll in a calligraphy class.
Write a letter to a friend or family member
Nowadays, communication is lightning fast. Spend some time writing a handwritten note to a friend or family member. Send it to them the traditional way.
Color in a coloring book
You might have thought that this little hobby was left in your childhood, but adult coloring books are back (and for good reason). Coloring, a form of art therapy, has been shown to reduce anxiety, increase focus, and promote mindfulness. It’s also entertaining! To celebrate National Handwriting Day in different handwriting styles, grab some colored pencils or markers and begin your own coloring book art piece.
Make your signature better
Nobody said John Hancock was the only one who could have a cool signature! Take time on National Handwriting Day to perfect your signature, which serves as your personal mark on everything from checks to cards. Experiment with different signature styles, spellings, and structures. Is it just initials? What’s your full name? A bigger first letter? The options are limitless.
Begin a journal
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can have a huge impact on your mood and mental health. Begin a daily handwritten journal to record your experiences, goals, and the everyday events that inspire you.
Facts about handwriting
- Handwritten notes are more effective than typed notes. People who take handwritten notes are more selective in what they write down, focusing on the most important concepts and organizing their notes more efficiently.
- Handwriting helps to keep the mind sharp. Handwriting engages motor skills as well as various parts of the brain and memory. Doctors recommend engaging in a handwriting hobby to keep the mind sharp.
- Handwriting helps to reduce linked distractions. When you write by hand, you are less likely to be distracted by social media, email, or the internet.
- Handwriting can be therapeutic. The act of writing by hand can be calming and therapeutic. Additionally, writing down thoughts and feelings can help to untangle a jumbled mind and reduce anxiety and stress.
- Writing it down can help you remember to do it. According to studies, those who write down their goals, particularly by hand, are more likely to achieve them. Writing down your goals can help you clarify them and hold yourself accountable.
Handwriting day dates
Year Date Day
2022 January 23 Sunday
2023 January 23 Monday
2024 January 23 Tuesday
2025 January 23 Thursday
2026 January 23 Friday