Jessie: In New Hampshire where the weather can’t seem to make up its mind.

On January 23, National Handwriting Day, I posed a question on my Facebook page on the subject of handwritten notes. It produced a lively response from readers. Ever since I have been thinking about what people had to say about it all.

Perhaps it is becoming a bit of an obsession!

Although commentors were divided as to whether or not they still send handwritten notes the overall tone of the conversation leaned towards a sense of nostalgia for the practice of doing so. Several of the people who no longer communicate by hand seemed to regret that the practice is falling by the wayside. Maybe it is the historical writer in me that felt a little sad that there may be a whole generation of people who will not have newsy letters from elderly aunts and well-wishing cards from far-flung friends to keep amongst their treasures.

I think much of the reason for the trend away from handwritten correspondance has as much to do with the tools as it does with the perception of time saving or convenience. It is rather discouraging to go to the trouble of penning a note only to be confronted at your own less than perfect handwriting scratched down on a pulpy bit of paper with a ballpoint pen. There is nothing at all pleasurable about that experience!

But there is another way to go about things. As some of you may already know I am hopelessly addicted to fountain pens and all the assorted accessories that accompany them. What is there not to love? The variety of inks alone is a joy to consider! Scented inks, glittery inks, those made with iron gall. Waterproof inks and invisible inks and even those used with a broad nibbed pen for highlighting documents. And the variety of colors is so vast you are sure to find just the right one to use for any purpose or mood.

And then there are the pens themselves! There are extra-fine nibbed pens for those who revel in precision and italic stub nibs for those whose bent runs to exuberance. There are pens that have twist caps and a few that have a point that vanishes with the click of the thumb. Some are slim and some are like cigars in the size. Whatever would please you is sure to be available.

A few I like to keep on my desk for daily use.

In a world that often feels fraught and hurried and filled to the scuppers with incivility there is something so delightful about sitting still for a moment or two with quality tools to express yourself with individuality and flair. Whether you are someone who writes for a living or someone who writes grocery lists on the backs of junk mail envelopes I hope you will take the time to treat yourself and someone you care about to your unique mark on the world very soon!

Readers, do you still write handwritten notes? What about thank you cards or even grocery lists?

45 Thoughts

  1. I do not write handwritten notes anymore. I probably should though, since I do like to receive them. One of my friends is really good about sending notes regularly, and it’s always a treat to get something from her in the mail.

  2. I still occasionally send a handwritten note or card. I love to hand write lists…grocery lists, to do lists, etc. I keep a handwritten list of books I want to read and of books I’ve read. I also keep book lists in Goodreads, but it is not the same as handwriting the lists.

  3. As I’ve gotten older, my handwriting seems to have gotten older to. Didn’t understand that until it happened to me. 🙂 Most of the time now I type my letters so that mistakes and punctuation can be changed, but still write a personal closure at the end. I do send cards to special people in my life in which I write a note. If I want to say something longer than a few lines, then I type that and enclose in the card as well.

    I still have an assortment of pens from both my parents and grandparents just because they are interesting, unique or just fascinate me in one way or other. I can remember when picking the type of paper, pen and how to write it was almost as important as what you were writing in those letters too. Yep, my age is surely showing now.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. It sounds like you have found a best of both worlds sort of arrangement, Kay! I wish I had pens from my family members but I just don’t. I suppose I will be the parent or grandparent who leaves them to others instead:)

  4. I would send handwritten notes for a personal event, like a wedding, a birth or a death. But I discovered long ago that I type much faster than I write (so did my father), so if you’ll forgive me for typing, you’ll get a much longer note from me–and faster!

    1. I htink that is true for a lot of people! My typing is really not my strong suit which may be one reason I love to write by hand. It is slow but it is supposed to be!

  5. I still write notes to friends and family, but my handwriting has also disintegrated a bit – or maybe I’m trying to write too fast. And my adult sons write notes to me, too, on occasion – letter writing lives on!

    I love all your pens, Jessie.

    1. Even though I love to send things through the post I use newer tech for my grocery list too. I dictate the items into my Echo and the list shows up on my Alexa app. I love that the list is in my phone and I never end up leaving it at home by mistake.

    1. I always love it when other people add to the list! I never can remember exactly which sort of toothpaste not to buy for other people so if they add it they get what they like to use!

  6. For Christmas, I gave each of my twin 7-year-old granddaughters a box of note cards and stamps. They live 2,000 miles away from me. Since then, we’ve been writing, and it is so much fun! Every so often I add stickers, but mostly we write about what they’re doing. It has taught them how to address envelopes, write return addresses, and practice their writing. I’m saving their cards and plan to return them when they graduate from high school. I’d highly recommend it.

  7. I write my grocery lists. But like Edith, I can barely read my handwriting these days – and I used to have beautiful handwriting. I love the look and feel of a fountain pen, though.

    I recently found all the letters my grandmother wrote to me in college. So sad my daughter won’t have a similar cache (both her grandmothers are deceased). Such a treasure. And my grandmother had wonderful handwriting.

    1. LIz, my handwriting was far worse before I decided I wanted to clean it up a bit a couple of years ago. The key is slowing down. I thought I would find it aggravating to not be on the dead run all the time when noodling ideas for a book or planning a menu for a party but it turns out I find it even more productive. I end up thinking things through better and also I can read what I wrote later on!

  8. I created a typed shopping list of everything I could think of and print off a stack of copies to highlight with the items I run out of or need. It doesn’t stop me from handwriting the sale items on it but it is a great tool for stocking up remembering to buy salt or the correct size trash bags.
    I do hand write notes and I still send Christmas cards but I print the address labels from the computer. I make lots of other lists and my to do list gets added to constantly in handwriting.
    Finally, I carry a notebook in my handbag when I am out and about. I write meeting notes in it (lots of meetings) and ideas and lists and contact info and anything else that comes to mind!

    1. I love your grocery list idea, Doris! I have a notebook in my bag at all times too. I have a couple of favorites and whenever they are on sale I stock up so I never find myself without one I love to use.

  9. I have a white board on the fridge with an ever changing inventory of the freezer’s contents, I write shopping lists before I leave home (brain farts due to old age) and we do hand written replies for gifts and thank you cards. We were taught this at a young age. We taught this to our children also.

    All of our grandchildren had to write hand written thank you cards for gifts received for Bar/Bat Mitzvot or birthdays.

      1. Staples sells them. Mine is maybe 12×14 and I have it on the side. The doors are covered with book cover magnets that I won from authors in giveaways.

  10. I received a handwritten letter from my best friend in high school just the other day. It was lovely to get it but I’ll probably reply via email.

    I do my grocery lists by hand (and my calendar and to do lists), but then when Bill actually goes to the store he converts them to his grocery list app.

  11. You mentioned poor handwriting. I’m sure part of the problem is so few of us write by hand on a regular basis, so it is a skill we don’t keep up.

  12. Had to laugh – I have become that elderly aunt who sends the newsy notes! I love everything about writing notes and letters and lists – the pens, the paper, the notebooks.

  13. Like others, my handwriting isn’t as nice as it used to be. And, like a couple of others have said, it is because I write too fast. When I slow down, it still is pretty nice. I write the addresses on envelopes and short notes in some Christmas cards. I always have a hand-written TBD list and grocery list going. I prefer emails and texts for longer communications. I type very fast and can get a lot more accomplished that way. So, I guess I’m of two worlds. I like it that way. A few years ago, I came into a whole box of letters written by my father to his mother in 1930s. I learned more about him that way than any other way. It was wonderful. BTW, I just never mastered using a fountain pen. I get ink everywhere! I’m impressed by you, Jessie!

  14. Yes I still write notes and greeting cards! people seem to enjoy them so much, especially if they aren’t feeling well.

  15. For some reason, despite repeated attempts, my comments are not being posted. This is becoming very frustrating.

    1. Lee, I am so very sorry that you have had trouble getting your comments posted. I hope I have solved the trouble on our end because we are delighted to have you here!

  16. I write notes to shut-ins, some every week and some once a month, and write notes on holiday cards but I use the computer so they can read them. I hand write grocery and to-do lists and things that I’ll read myself. I get some hand written notes that I can hardly read so don’t want to do that to somebody else.

    1. What a thoughtful thing it is that you do for others!Difficulty with legibility can be a real problem! There are some notes from relatives that I have to read for my kids since they cannot make out the handwriting.

      1. LOL My husband asks me to read his notes to himself! He can’t read his own writing. I’m the only one who can.

  17. I used to send handwritten notes to my grandparents, but that ended when they passed away.

  18. I think I have about 18 pens and 25 different inks. I love taking time out of my day to write letters and people really love getting them. It’s neat all the shimmer, sheen as well as all the different colored inks. I like doing a little art work in the top right hand corner then I start writing, I write slowly so my hand writing is very clear and stylish, I’m told I have good handwriting and I think it’s getting better. It seems I can hardly wait to write my next letter to someone. My mom goes crackers when I write her, same with my sister. I just write what’s own my mind and what’s going on…it’s easy and the reaction is astounding.

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