Is handwriting a valuable skill, a lost art, or a pointless task?

by Zoe on October 1, 2013 · 4 comments

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When was the last time you wrote a letter? It was probably a birthday card or, if you’re like me, a thank-you note (Actually, the last hand-written note I wrote was to my husband James; before I left town for four days I left it on his pillow).

But what’s the point of handwriting? Nearly all of our communication is done online or through our phones. Even my grocery list is created using an iPhone app. And it seems that online communication is most valued when it’s short and concise. Need more than 140 characters? BORED.

Handwriting is thought to be so pointless by some that there is debate about its usefulness in education, since pen and paper writing becomes less common with each generation.

calligraphy To Do list

Photo and illustration by Seb Lester

Handwriting, cursive, calligraphy – it’s a lost art. And it IS art. Just look at some of this guy’s work (and look at what they sell for).

There’s also an art to writing out your thoughts on paper. Having to quiet your mind so that it can be patient enough for you to get your thoughts out, taking the time to focus, not to get ahead of yourself, using fine motor skills to be neat and clear – it takes time to learn, you get better the more you practice. And writing by hand actually helps you learn more effectively.

That’s why I chose writing by hand for this month’s challenge. Not only am I writing, but I’m going to write to someone. Who doesn’t love getting letters?

October 28-day Challenge: Mail a handwritten letter to someone I know.


  • Letter must be written and mailed on the same day  within 24 hours [UPDATE: Since I write letters in the evening, I need to be in a post office for out of Province letters] (no preparing of anything, even the envelopes!)
  • Postcards count but they have to have thought put into them (nothing like “wish you were here!”)
  • MUST be handwritten but doesn’t have to be cursive
  • Care needs to be put into the writing, no scribbling or messy letters
  • It has to be a different person for each letter
  • Must be written on paper without lines [UPDATE: New that it's more challenging to be neat]

**Not familiar with the 28-day challenge? Read about it here.**

  • Nichole

    I love and look forward to getting my letter in the mail. Presumptuous?

    What a great idea! And challenge. I’m inspired to write a few personal letters and notes myself now that’s not to a potential employer would didn’t hire me. (Excuse my bitterness)

    Happy writing

  • Marissa Fogel

    Dude. I love mail. Good challenge.

  • zoeSocial

    Mail that’s not bills, of course. And yes, I figured a challenge where I could hone my skill and make at least 28 people smile would be a challenge worth doing.

  • zoeSocial

    Well, I would not want to ruin the surprise! ;)

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