We all remember the elementary school days of slaving over handwriting worksheets, trying to get all those loops and curves just right. But did you know handwriting is more than just a skill learned in school? There are actually many benefits of writing by hand and putting that good old-fashioned pen to paper, including improved creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
And what better time to celebrate this practice than on National Handwriting Day, celebrated January 23rd, 2019? Ring in the holiday in style by exercising your creativity, writing a letter to a loved one, or doodling in a notebook during a meeting (don’t worry, we won’t tell the boss!).
It may seem like every other day is some obscure holiday (speaking of, January 23rd is also Measure Your Feet Day), but observing National Handwriting Day actually dates back to 1977. Coined by The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, the holiday falls on John Hancock’s birthday. Hancock is likely the most iconic scribe in US history, thanks to his famous signature on the Declaration of Independence.
As mentioned, writing actually has deep-rooted benefits:
Learn more about the many benefits of handwriting in our infographic, The Benefits of Handwriting vs. Typing.
While on every other day of the year we turn to our keyboards and smartphones, let’s use National Handwriting Day as a chance to dust off the old pen or pencil and get writing.
1. Write a Letter
There’s nothing quite like receiving a handwritten letter or card in the mail and unfortunately, this is becoming a lost art. But National Handwriting Day is the perfect time to revive this tradition! First, make a list of all the friends and family you want to reach out to. Next, pick up some simple postcards or custom stationery and think about the message you want to write. Maybe you want to include some fun past memories, a handwritten poem, or an update on how your life has been. No matter what you write, the recipient is sure to appreciate the effort and you will be practicing your penmanship at the same time!
2. Draw a Doodle
Whether you’re on a call, sitting in the waiting room, or just lounging on the couch, doodling is a great way to express some creative freedom and exercise your writing skills. Take your doodles one step further by expanding them into a larger sketch. Who knows, you could create your next piece of art! Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or creative person, it never hurts to tap your inner creativity with help from pen and paper.
3. 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, which is similar to art therapy, has been shown to reduce anxiety, create focus, and encourage mindfulness. Plus, it’s fun! Grab some colored markers or pencils and start your own coloring book art piece to celebrate National Handwriting Day in style.
4. Learn What Your Handwriting Says About You
More than just a means to an end for writing assignments, your handwriting is actually a great window into personality traits and preferences. Graphology is the study of handwriting and analyzes a writer’s character, personality, and abilities and it’s been around for a long time. In fact, how you write can indicate more than 5,000 different personality traits and can even be used to detect certain diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, earlier. Below are some notable characteristics:
Read more in our infographic, What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?
5. Analyze Handwriting Styles from the Past
While you’re examining your own handwriting, try looking into some of the most famous scripts of the past! Like speech patterns and dialects, handwriting changes over time and it’s fascinating to look at the history of penmanship. See how famous authors wrote some of their best work:
As you can tell, handwriting really tells a story about a writer’s work and style. Take National Handwriting Day as a time to celebrate this art form.
6. Create a Vision Board
National Handwriting Day also corresponds with the beginning of the year and making resolutions. A vision board is a great way to visualize your goals for the upcoming year and creating one from scratch is the perfect way to celebrate handwriting and art. Vision boards are simple to make. All you need are some old magazines, newspaper, other media, and art supplies. Find things that resonate with you, such as a person in a suit for career growth or a big salad for healthy eating, and put them on your board. Then, hand write words of motivation to finish the piece.
7. Practice Your Signature
No one said that John Hancock is the only one that can have a cool signature! Your signature serves as your personal mark on everything from checks to cards, so take time on National Handwriting Day to perfect it. Try different styles, spellings, and structures. Just initials? Full name? Larger first letter? The possibilities are endless.
8. Keep a Dream Journal
Dream journals are a way to keep track of your dreams and are often used to find patterns in thoughts and emotions. They can be used as a springboard for a writing piece or just as a fun hobby to monitor what your brain is cooking up! First, find a journal that you love and can keep right by your bedside. Then, make a habit of recording your dreams right when you wake up. Even if they are just fragments of memory or emotions you felt, starting the habit is key to dream journaling. You might be surprised with what you come up with! Ryan Hurb at Dream Studies explains his process for dream journaling.
Handwriting is more than just a tedious task we learn in school. It is a window into our unique personality, an instrument of creativity, and a brain exercise! Celebrate National Handwriting Day this year with some fun, stress-free writing time, art, or journaling.
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