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Handwriting and Technology

With the advent of technology, it’s no surprise that a lot of us, yours truly included, have largely shifted over to typing things out from the tried-and-true longhand. Handwriting Day 2021 fell on a weekend, so as usual, I’m a day late and a dollar short.

Whatevs. We can still talk about handwriting anyway, since it’s something we all do (duh). The origins of Handwriting Day as an observance go back to 1977, thanks to the Writing Instrument Manufacturers’ Association, or the WIMA. They chose January 23rd in honor of John Hancock’s birthday.

No, I’m not talking about the company that hawks their cheapie life insurance policies on TV every two seconds. I’m talking about John Hancock himself, who was first in line to sign the Declaration of Independence. His unique signature was another deciding factor in the WIMA’s choice to hold this observance on the 23rd.

As mentioned before, handwriting is one of those things that seems to have fallen by the wayside for a lot of people, and instead use our computers and tablets to write things out. This blog’s one of those things, and if it weren’t for technology, I wouldn’t be at my computer at the butt-crack of dawn writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading it wherever and whenever you are.

My blogging life involves both handwriting and technology, along with my day job. Maybe yours does too. For me, handwriting helps with the initial process, where I can write things out so I can go back and finesse things later on.

I’ve also found that getting the initial ideas out on paper also helps out in case something happens and I lose the computer-typed version. It also helps in times where I’m not at the computer, since it stays home no matter what. I’ve always had laptops, and I tried taking them with me to classes back in college like some of the others in my classes did. They had white Macbooks, and I had a 15-inch screen HP Pavilion at the time. I took one class where a laptop was more or less a requirement, since I literally couldn’t keep up with the pen and paper approach. Even a means of recording didn’t do me any good.

That approach ended as soon as that semester ended, and I never went back to carrying my laptop with me. It was so much of a hassle, and the weight it added to my bag was unbelievable. The Macbook would’ve probably helped in the weight department, but the hassle of carrying it and all the accessories for it wouldn’t have mattered to me.

On top of that, those Macbook screens were ridiculously small anyway.

But back to handwriting. There’s just something to be said for the good ol’ fashioned pen and paper approach, whether it’s for school, a day job, or a blog. Or even something like a journal, a letter to someone or nobody in particular, or a shopping list.

Speaking of which, I’m finding that this is a great method on how to use up a notebook.

I’ve always been fascinated by other people’s handwriting, and back in college, I found this book about graphology at the local library. It was one of those that translated the intricacies into tidbits accessible to those of us laymen, or not in the know like the writer was. It talked about the possible significance in writing instrument choices, and colors where applicable. For instance, I remember how they wrote about the way purple pen ink speaks to possible eccentricity or outside the norm. Black ink spoke to a powerful feeling, with the stark contrast between the paper color and black ink.

Conversely, I would guess that white ink on black paper would likely say the same. At this point, white ink pens are the easiest to come by for the black notebook paper I have still knocking around in my room. Back when they were more popular, enough to where they could be had at the neighborhood drugstore, there were pastel colors, along with other dark-colored paper and notebooks.

Damn, I miss those Gelly Rolls, haha. And those Gelly Roll journals, too.

It was a long time before a computer came to my house, and even a bit longer before the Internet came onto the scene for me. Before that, I hand-wrote everything I had for school, and what absolutely had to be typed, I stayed after school in the library to use the computer. The local library charged like 10 cents per page, and the local library was something I didn’t always have access to. When I got a manual typewriter at a flea market during my senior year of high school, I used that for my assignments. I also used it for stories and other things using notebook paper, some of which my family had laying around the house since the 70s.

For me, the computer was what reduced my handwritten stuff, and significantly so. I’d imagine that if I didn’t have regular access to a computer, I’d have probably plowed through my stash of notebooks at least 5 years ago with what I’ve amassed on my flash drives for my own stuff and for my day job.

My handwriting tool of choice is pens, but sometimes pencils make an appearance too. I usually write in blue or green ink, generally speaking, but for my blog, I have a specific color scheme where I write out each post in a different color depending on the subject. This way, I’m using up more of my pen stash the way it deserves to be used.

As far as paper goes, I tend to go for the spiral and twin-wire types. The book styles are ones I’m not a major fan of, but will definitely use up since I’ve still got some in my stash. Bonus points if the paper’s colored, like pastel or neon hues. I also like the journals with the flower designs off to the side and the gilding, too.

Over to you, readers. What’s your favorite type of handwriting tool, and if you have a paper or notebook preference, what is it?

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