Why the Written Word Still Matters

Maybe it’s because I’m a romantic, but I treasure handwritten notes.

I used to keep every single one of them from family, friends and boyfriends—it wasn’t until I moved that I made the decision to cut down the number of birthday cards I stored.

On a selfish note, I’m also extremely proud of my handwriting and love taking the opportunity to use it anytime I can.
Handwriting is an extension of someone’s character—something that can easily remain unseen in today’s digital word. It’s an honest expression, not unlike how we dress or how we speak.
The personalization of the handwritten word is infinitely more touching than an email or a text, because nothing says love like a killer email subject line, heart emojis and GIFs…


Phone calls are great, too, but the note is physically tangible and can be saved without worrying about your iCloud erasing or your hard drive crashing. 

What happens if you’re traveling and not able to readily Facetime or send a text?
What happens if he moves away and you want to tell him in another way how much you miss him?
What if she’s working abroad in a place that doesn’t have Internet?
What if the zombie apocalypse finally comes and the power goes out forever?
There are schools eliminating cursive from curriculums, trying to render it as “an obsolete skill,” but it doesn’t seem to add up. Although it’s an old-fashioned practice, it seems even more backward to not preserve the form at all. There may be a danger in losing sight of the basic humanness for the sake of meeting arbitrary criteria—the perils of standardized testing, anyone?

When you handwrite a note, you’re embedding a piece of yourself in the ink and paper. The beauty of handwriting is that it is a involved technical process—punctuation, spelling, choosing the correct word—but the unique freeform of each crossed t and dotted i makes everyone’s handwriting stand out.

Do yourself a favor—send birthday cards to your college friends and your 7-year old cousins. Write thank-you notes when you get a gift. Say hi to your siblings with a random postcard, even though you can send a Facebook message. Write your boyfriend a love letter and mean every single word you put to the paper.

It seems like a small gesture in the moment, but it’s worth taking the time to send someone a handwritten note… It’s amazing how even a signature in a birthday card becomes priceless when the writer is no longer able to respond back.

Note: It doesn’t matter actually sort of matters if your handwriting is illegible, chicken scratch. You don’t want to be misunderstood. And please check your spelling.

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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