(StatePoint) February is International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo) -- a challenge to handwrite a piece of correspondence each day of the month -- meaning there’s no better time to tap into the power of the handwritten word.
“With our many digital forms of communication, we have gained immediacy but lost intimacy,” says Ariann Langsam, vice president of marketing for Pilot Pen, whose background is in biology and neuroscience. “But handwriting is scientifically proven to solidify both cognitive connections needed for learning and comprehension, as well as emotional connections between individuals. We can make a powerful impact on the lives of others by connecting through the written word, and there are neurological and social benefits that keep writing by hand relevant not only during International Correspondence Writing Month, but all year long.”
It’s Good for the Soul
In an era when digital devices and social media seem to dominate how we connect with loved ones, the art of letter writing has become rare. But sitting down to write correspondence by hand can be a much more personal way to connect than modern modes of communication. A recent study conducted by Pilot Corporation of America reinforced the emotional social benefits that come from putting pen to paper. A remarkable nine out of 10 respondents perceived cards with handwritten messages as more thoughtful and heartfelt than cards with printed messages. Even more respondents (92%) shared that they have saved handwritten cards or letters from a loved one as a cherished keepsake. When asked what emotions they felt when receiving a handwritten card, respondents reported they felt “appreciated,” “touched,” “cared for,” and “recognized”. We could all use a bit more of these feelings. This month, consider taking a few minutes to send a handwritten note to a loved one or friend.
It’s Good for the Brain
The benefits of handwriting are firmly grounded in principles of learning and memory. For children, learning to handwrite letters plays a role in fostering the transition to literacy. Mounting evidence suggests that handwriting practice, particularly in preschool and early elementary school, may provide children an advantage in learning this vital skill.
Writing by hand serves students well beyond those early years. Researchers at Princeton and UCLA discovered that college students who took handwritten notes outperformed students who typed their notes. The study authors believe this is because typing notes lends itself to taking down information word-by-word. Taking notes by hand, however, required students to think more deeply about the lecture content and be judicious in what they wrote down.
You may no longer be in school yourself, however you still likely need to record information. Whether it’s instructions from your boss, recommendations from your doctor, or thoughts before book club, consider jotting things down by hand to help you better synthesize information.
Make it Count
To impress your pen pals during the month of correspondence and make your InCoWriMo challenge a success, you’ll need to gather some supplies: stationery, envelopes, stamps and a trusty pen. To take on a month-long writing challenge, Pilot suggests the G2, America’s number one selling, longest-lasting gel ink pen. You’ll be able to glide well beyond 28 days of penning handwritten letters, taking notes, tackling to-do lists and anything else that comes across your desk. For tools and inspiration, visit PowerToThePen.com.
From the classroom to correspondence and beyond, rediscover the art of handwriting and make a bigger impact by putting down the digital device and picking up a pen.