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February 06, 2013


Wendy Gregory

I agree that handwriting By HAND using the old fashioned paper and pen is so important - and not just for learning and remembering. Would that love letter from your husband or the thank you card from your young niece mean even half as much to you if they were sent to you as an attachment or an email? I don't think so.

John C. Miller

I will speak for myself only but I find writing something down on paper is far more powerful than typing it. It's as if writing something down burns itself into my brain. When I type, for me, I concentrate on where the keys are and the execution of typing. When I write there is no thought of "how do I make the letter t?". I learned that as a small kid 60 years ago - there is no thought of that anymore. When I hand write anything I focus totally on what I'm expressing.

I still have hand written letters of my Dad, Mom and Grandparents. I recognize their handwriting, take comfort in seeing them again and when I read their letters it's as if they're with me again. An email or typed letter would not be the same.

Hand-Writing matters to me. Thank you for your article.

John in Marietta OH

Jeff Poulin

It's good to have those studies showing the benefits of handwriting, especially as they reinforce my own observations over many decades. The slight effort and the judgement needed to take useful notes in a class or meeting make a huge difference in retention.

Beyond the benefits for memory and motor skills, there is physical pleasure, or at least satisfaction, in writing legibly with a quality instrument. Young people may dismiss this as unimportant and time consuming but they are denying themselves an enjoyable experience on many levels.

Thanks for an excellent column.

Elizabeth S. Wheeler

A lovely article. Thanks so much. I agree that physically writing down things helps me remember. . . . even take notes in church!

One granddaughter, senior in high school, does not like to write by hand because her hand writing is not good, she says. She also has trouble writing essays, book reports, most anything requiring creative thought. I certainly will relay your essay to her for consideration.

Liz Wheeler

John C. Miller

I have a comment for Liz and her granddaughter. When I was in the third grade back in 1956 I had a teacher who taught writing. I remember her telling me that she gave me a D on my report card because in all her years of teaching she had never had a student as poor as I was in writing individual letters. She said she didn't give me an F because I was trying. After all these years I still remember her and how bad I felt afterwards. But as years went on I learned to love writing - not only the mechanics but what I wrote. I have no idea who told your granddaughter that her hand writing is not good, but tell her it's fine - it's what she writes that's important and she should be proud. Encourage her to write by hand even if the final product is typed. Just my thoughts. John


I read your lovely post last night, just before bedtime. I remembered it tonight in time to include a link in my own post. My pen friends, readers, blog followers and I, think handwriting matters. We want penmanship taught in schools again. Handwriting is a necessary form of communication. Thanks for the nod to writing.

Barbara F Campbell

As an older adult (61) I find writing a letter is not as easy as in previous years. So I really appreciate being able to type it out on my computer. However, when neatness is not an issue I love to write in my journal and especially I love to doodle. It just feels good to write and even more fun to doodle.

Great article...thanks!
Cleveland, Ohio

Mim Harrison

Dear Wendy, John, Jeff, Liz, Limner and Barbara,

Wow! Thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments. In answer to our own question of whether hand-writing matters, I would say it most definitely does to Levenger readers.

Limner, many thanks for the shout-out on your lovely site--much appreciated.

Liz, didn't you love John's advice for your granddaughter? Here's a bit of incentive for her: if she'd like to write a short note to Steve at Levenger, there will be a reward waiting for her. Our pen-mail address (sounds better than snail-mail) is 420 South Congress Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33445.

My best to you all, and with thanks,



I made it a resolution this year to send hand-written notes to friends for no reason at all, so I am working hard at getting my handwriting back to Palmer-esque quality. So much wonderful history is being lost to emails: received and deleted. I still treasure the box of cards and letters that my mother had send me while I was in college...such treasures now that she is gone.

Lisa Roden

Interesting observations, Steve. I commented via Twitter. The only way to hand-write a note.


While I am addicted to my iPad, iPhone and laptop, I do miss writing and I find the less I write the worse my writing becomes. So much so that I can seldom decipher my notes when I get back to the office.

Writing is also a more intimate act. We can all type the same word on a screen and not tell who typed which one. Our handwriting, though, is unique to each of us.

Thanks for this well written reminder that handwriting is important.

Diane Maher

This is a subject that is frequently brought up on the Fountain Pen Network, a forum for fountain pen enthusiasts. You would be surprised at the number of people who post a thread wanting to improve their handwriting, but who are not sure how to do so.

I enjoy writing in a journal with any one of my fountain pens. I still take notes on paper at meetings and when asked to review something, will frequently print it out because I can make comments on the page.

I think that handwriting is important too.

Yoke Yin

Of course the hand-writing matters!! Unfortunately, people nowadays don't see it that way. I used to love writing with pencil, fountain pen and brush (Chinese caligraphy). When we were in school, every day, the teacher assigned us a Chinese Character and an English letter to practice writing.

I type on the keyboard but I also miss the days that I sat at the desk and wrote a letter to my family and friends. I stopped doing that a few years ago because they thought I was weird. How sad?

Kevin Thomas

I love this article! It reminded me fondly of my late father who would always use the expression 'talk paper', if he wanted to remember something or if he needed to think, he'd say son, hand me that pad, i need some talk paper! And he was right, it did help him think better, to solve problems, to work things out in his mind. And so it's been passed on to me.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Rus Stolling

Hand writing has been an art since the first letters were formed with sharp sticks and wet clay. Writing serves not only for transmission and recording of information, but as well for expression - thus, Art - Art of thought, Art of composition, Art of skillfully formed characters.
Some of the most significant and beautiful documents in the world were written by hand; The Magna Carta, the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States, the Bible, ad infinitum; and with the most primitive equipment - pens cut from reeds or feathers.
At our college, I cut quill pens from goose feathers and challenged students to write a few words. Of course, it was the graphic arts students who did best. Even I, who have been credited with "good, nice" handwriting "for a guy", produced laughable results. If you have ever seen an original document written by Thomas Jefferson or George Washington, you will marvel at the skill of the writer.
I detest writing with a ball-point pen. For speed in writing, it can't be beat; but speed degrades legibility. Years ago, I used to write with a fountain pen, slowly, carefully, with thoroughly formed thoughts and well formed letters. Now may be the time to return to those days of slower living and greater deliberation.

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