It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. If this maxim is a personal favorite of yours, then pardon me for saying, but this is one of the most understated famous adages that I have heard.
Not only are words important, but the manner in which they are conveyed is often even more important. I can bet with pretty high comfortability that any of my fellow Millennials (or those of younger generations) can testify to miscommunications or changed meanings that have come about through unclear mediums. But assuming that intentions are positive, there are innumerable ways of saying the same message, all of which add different dynamics. Theoretical truths aside, I’ll get to my point:
One of the saddest casualties of new communication mediums is the downfall of handwriting.
No one (at least compared to a couple decades ago) goes to the effort of handwriting notes anymore. And I heartily believe that we are the worse off for it. I apologize if I’m stepping on toes here, but the truth is that there are almost no good arguments for texts and emails over handwritten letters or notes. On the other hand, there are quite a few reasons that a handwritten note will always surpass an email or text.
1. A handwritten note shows more than just thought: It shows an investment of time
While the convenience of texts and emails are nice, and sometimes necessary, there’s something about writing or receiving a handwritten note that says “You’re worth more than just a moment’s consideration. You’re worth investment.” Time is sometimes our most precious commodity, so spending it on those you love will not go unnoticed. For those whose lives are hectic and say they don’t have the time: The amount of time you spend writing an email, or sending text after text, could easily be translated into just 15 minutes of sitting down and writing a letter. And trust me: The outcome is way more romantic.
2. Handwritten notes make online communication simply drab in comparison
First, while you technically could sit down and try to find fancy text fonts for emails or texts, at the best they’ll be perfectly uniform and computerized, and just as likely, you’ll spend as much or more time searching for just the right font, as you would writing an actual, personal, handwritten note (if this time consideration makes you worried, see point 1 again). Second, there’s a beauty and richness to handwritten letters that can not be overstated. Computerized text can’t come close.
3. Handwritten notes are uniquely YOU, in a way e-text can never be
You can never know for sure that it’s really Joe Schmoe on the other end of a phone line, texting those letters. It might as well be his college buddy trying to prank him, or some friend transcribing a response while Joe plays Call of Duty 17. This is not an issue with handwritten correspondence. There are few things as touching as learning the style of a loved one, and recognizing each signature loop and dash, proving that those words were written just for you.
4. Learning to improve your handwriting teaches patience and grace
I’ve heard the excuse countless times, “Well, I just don’t have great penmanship.” Not once have I heard this from the mouth of someone who had practiced their legibility. The phrase “Practice Makes Perfect” is mostly on point here, with one exception: While practice very rapidly improves your penmanship, your writing will likely never be perfect – and that’s a great thing! While it’s good to have neat and readable lettering, it’s the little mistakes and splotches that prove beyond a shadow of doubt the humanity of the writer.
5. Decreasing supply means increased value
While as a whole, handwriting has undoubtedly gone out of style, this works in favor of those who pick it back up. Your gesture of investment in someone, by writing an actual note, will mean that much more to your recipient, given the increasing rarity of the act.
6. Handwriting is infinitely more customizable (and actually cheaper, as well)
Pens, inks, papers, nibs, calligraphy styles – all are very easily channeled to your exact preference. And contrary to popular opinion, none of these are expensive in the least. I have two inkwells (35 and 33 cc’s) which have lasted me over a year, and cost less than $15 each. Good paper, and a solid refillable fountain pen are also fairly cheap – especially when compared to the cost of constantly buying new cheap pens. Not to mention, there is no comparison between that scratchy, inconsistent company pen you got on orientation day, and a free-flowing fountain pen, smoothly transferring ink of your own choosing onto fine paper.
7. Handwritten notes are unquestionably romantic
I don’t say this to brag on myself so much as to encourage those looking for simple, everyday ways to put a glint in the eye of a loved one, current or potential. I personally guarantee that hand-writing a note to a potential girlfriend will automatically step you up a couple notches (assuming that your writing capabilities lie somewhere between Shakespeare and a middle-school joke book). While I cannot guarantee that the same gesture will be as highly regarded by my own gender, we men are generally a little easier to read and our affections are often more easily bought (for better or worse). Not to mention that any guy worth your time will still put high stock in the feelings of a girl who takes the time and effort to write him an actual letter.
I guess this is the place where I should probably say something about not being sponsored by any pen or ink company, and let me assure you: The benefits of bettering yourself by picking up handwriting are very quickly and easily seen, and speak for themselves. Oh, and I forgot: I’ve got one last point!
8. True Love Leaves Stains
Pardon me if I get a bit stuffy here, but I think this is the most important part to hear: While there are a million practical reasons that your personal life, potential or real relationship, and even simple friendships will improve from picking up handwriting. But the greater point is this: True love isn’t just about what’s most convenient or practical. It takes work and time, it’s inconvenient, and it leaves stains. True love leaves marks. There’s a reason that both the greatest pain and joy are results of either failed, or maintained relationships. The gesture of handwriting a letter speaks to a greater commitment to putting another first, doing things simply because they show love. Just like ink stains on hands, true love isn’t invisible, it brings risks, and it leaves marks. Even successful relationships can bring trials and pain at times, but it’s your response that determines the outcome. Rather than seeing the stains of past hurt as blemishes, appreciate the lessons they teach, and push on. Grab your pen, fill your ink, and write on – Life’s a story, and the Editor-in-Chief is the omnipotent ruler of the universe.