The Joy of Handwriting


As I type this post, I’m bundled up in an over-sized woolen jumper with a notebook lying flat across my lap, my laptop on the desk in front of me. These words I’m typing have been written before – in much more personal, albeit illegible, font. They’ve been written in my inked and smudged, inconsistent and scruffy font – a font that no computer can find. And they’ve been written into the notebook that lies on my lap.

This gold-embossed notebook on my lap contains 15 blog post’s worth of hand-made inked scribbles. To the right of my laptop, there’s a pile of letters, a single string binding together the fantastically distinctive hand-written words of my pen pal. About two pen’s length away, a stack of post-its and to-do lists lie on my desk – my own scrawled writing dictating the day ahead.

So yes, I handwrite everything. I draft all my blog posts out in a notebook, I write letters to a pen pal in a generation where letter writing is becoming a lost art, and I ink-out the day ahead.

Why? Because I am madly in love with handwriting.

There’s simply something indescribably perfect and personal and exhilarating that lies within the motion of ink flowing from nib to page. And it’s oddly personal how distinctive handwriting is, isn’t it? I look at my own handwriting, and I love how acutely mine it is; I love how the dots of the i’s are always a little to the right, how the loops of the g’s differ slightly to those of the y’s and how it’s all bunched together, as if I’m worried I’ll run out of space for all these words.

“She may have looked normal on the outside, but once you'd seen her handwriting you knew she was deliciously complicated inside.” – Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

In short, one of the best decisions I made during 2014 was to begin writing letters to another blogger [Hawwa's blog!]. As like-minded, bookish and arty individuals, letter writing seems to be our natural mean of communication. Receiving an email is wonderful and all that, but receiving a handwritten letter is so much more. They’re indelibly personal; small blots of ink, mid-letter, show where they’ve paused to think of what comes next; faint tea-stained rings, where they’ve reached for a sip of tea; and the endless flow of words shows exactly what they’re thinking. I wish I had time to write more letters. And more time to communicate in a way that seems, in so many indescribable and insignificant ways, mine.

In short, the physical sensation of putting pen to paper – it brings me such joy

Do you handwrite anything and everything? Do you love to write letters? What joy does handwriting bring you (if any)?
Just wanted to point out how gorgeous Hawwa's letters are – see bottom left of photo above!

21 comments:

  1. It's good to read a post about the joy of handwriting - and handwriting letters! I, myself, am a penpaller. I write to people from all sorts of countries. Not only is it a wonderful, cultural and friendly experience, but I love to write - put pen to paper. I think it must be true that writing requires practise. If I haven't written for a while, it takes me some time to get used to it again, and regain my characteristic form. I like to see how our handwriting subtly changes over the years.

    And yes, I write myself post-it notes, scribble on a notepad next to my computer any ideas that can't wait until later. I'm also eyeing up a Paperblanks journal to take things to the next step - never mind that I have several empty journals that just haven't "spoken" to me yet.

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    1. Yes! I was looking at my handwriting from a few years back, and it was simply bizarre – completely foreign to how it is now! I used to write all slanted to the right, and now my handwriting is bolt upright ha. :)

      The notebook I was talking about at the beginning of this post is a Paperblanks notebook! They're gorgeous (although I'm sometimes a bit scared to write in them haha)! :)

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  2. Yay! I am the same! I always handwrite the drafts of all my blog posts/reviews. I never go out without my notebook, what if I get some idea? I need to handwrite it down :)
    I love this post, thanks for sharing this with us!

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    1. It's okay! Thanks for commenting haha. And yep, I always have a notebook nearby for sudden ideas I have (otherwise there's no chance I'll remember them)!

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  3. I try and handwrite everything. Most of my blog posts are handwritten and then edited/typed up, and often I find that my ideas flow so much more when just writing.
    Also - and I feel the need to point this out - you're handwriting is beautiful on the card you sent me at Christmas. I don't know if you got my card(?) but my handwriting is awful!

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    1. Same here! I feel like my ideas just naturally flow when I'm writing, as opposed to when I'm typing. I think there's something more motivating about a blank page than a blank screen haha.

      And thank you! Yes, I did get your card – I really love your handwriting haha! It looks a lot like one of my school friend's handwriting. :)

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  4. I love to write letters and I always make sure to include one when I'm sending a Christmas/Birthday/Thinking Of You gift to one of my long-distance-probably-internet friends because they always feel so personal and it's almost like you can write about anything in a letter. I've always been a fan of notebooks and I have so many lying around my desk filled with lists and poems/letters that I've written and never intend to do anything with and of course blog posts. I do wish that I could handwrite more often but using the laptop is so much more convenient which I must admit makes hand writing feel more special because I don't do it every day.

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    1. I definitely agree with "it's almost like you can write about anything in a letter"! And I also agree that handwriting does feel a lot more special half the time. :)

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  5. I spy some of my letters, and your awsome cactus [that you knocked over - something to do with the mime order right?] xD and ALSO YAY FOR LETTER-WRITING AND HAND-WRITING. Because great minds think alike: I was just drafting a new blog post about handwriting and typography in my notebook right now..and as then I spotted this on my dashboard and was like wOaH.
    So I read it and it was awesome and here's the thing: the fact that you love writing is amplified to us by the fact that you are so gosh darn amazing at writing itself. If you wrote a post about how much you loved handwriting, it would have been great. the fact that you made the post spark with your personality as we read each line made it even more amazing. I envy your skills. Can I borrow them for my exams?

    And did that even make any sense?
    That's the problem with me. I like to write - but I never make any sense.


    And my grammar is awful.

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    1. Yeess your letters! (Aka. perfection). And yep, I unwrapped a parcel to find a proof of The Mime Order then accidentally knocked over my cactus in excitement. Anddd please do a post on that! PLEASE.

      And thank youu! That does make sense & it's such a perfectly wonderful thing to say. Your comments are the best haha! ;)

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  6. Handwriting is great! I love to hand-write person things, like a journal or a card. This year, my goal is to send all of my close friend home made and handwritten birthday cards in the mail. It's nice to have a taste of nostalgia in a fast paced world.

    Great post!

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    1. "It's nice to have a taste of nostalgia in a fast paced world." – such a beautiful line!

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  7. YES YES YES! I love handwriting stuff! My ideas just flow so much smoother. Granted, my handwriting *is* chicken scratch (no exaggeration), but it's *mine* and that's why I love it. I always try to handwrite stuff before typing. Who says paper and ink is dead in the age of technology?

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    1. Yes yes yes! So agreeing with this – "Who says paper and ink is dead in the age of technology?"

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  8. I do love writing letters. I'd love to have a super fancy, swirly, old fashioned style but my writing just appears a little crooked but neat all the same. I do love how different everyone's handwriting is though!

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    1. Same! My friend has beautiful loopy handwriting (seriously, it looks like its from the Victorian era) and I'm forever jealous of it!

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  9. I seriously prefer handwriting especially when it comes to taking notes in class + home work. I HATE how having homework online has become a thing. It's so freakin annoying like all of my homework has to be done online. We use webassign.com for our Calculus homework, myprogramminglab.com for my Computer Science hw + quizzes, an online forum for my Women + Gender Studies class. The only time I get to write something down on paper is when I take notes in my history and human communications class (this is why I like those classes hahaha).

    Blogging-wise, I don't write stuff down because I work faster when I'm just dumping my thoughts on my blog then fixing it afterwards. School-wise, I prefer writing stuff down (unless I'm writing an essay, then I prefer using a computer).

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    1. Ooh that's an interesting way of looking at it. I tend to handwrite most my school notes too – I think it's easier to digest and absorb that way.

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  10. I was part of a program where you made pen palls all over the world and it was delightful to receive handwritten letters in the mail. I want to get started with this, because I remember the joy of sending and receiving. For me, handwriting a post takes too much time (I type way faster), but I do scribble down notes while reading and I like to go through that review notebook :D

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    1. I've been meaning to join a program like that. I've never made notes on a book as I go (I tend to review books immediately afterwards, so there's no real need). :)

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  11. I love hand-writing things. In the age of the computer, it's scary how everything is all typed out - almost nothing is written anymore and I really want to bring that back :')

    I'm in love with this line you wrote "how it’s all bunched together, as if I’m worried I’ll run out of space for all these words." That's so quotable!

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