Most of us rarely put pen to paper in today’s digital world; except, perhaps, for a note in a physical diary or calendar (if you still use those), a note on a gift, or card; even then, 46 million cards were sent through Moonpig last year alone and as you can digitally write your message and send direct to your recipient, many people rarely write those. Yet, there’s something so meaningful about receiving a handwritten note or card and there’s surprising benefits for you as a sender too.

Improve dexterity with handwriting

There isn’t anything our technology can’t help us achieve; it’s become our communication tool with family and friends, we manage our schedule and that of our entire family through it, we listen to music, read books, watch films, play games, work, plan, manage finances and so much more. But it also comes with significant challenges that not only impacts our mental health (in many ways) that can make us feel even more disconnected, disorganised and disengaged, but there are some physical repercussions too.

Like the rest of our bodies, our fingers need to experience a range of motion to help them stay flexible and strong. As the hands and fingers are made up of a lot of joints, working on your dexterity, which can be improved through handwriting, can help with other tasks that become more challenging as we age, like getting dressed. If you spend most of your day working on a computer, you’ll know the feeling of stiff fingers when you try and do something else. Handwriting can help. 

It can combat loneliness

Learn calligraphy

We’re bombarded with junk mail (both through the post and our inboxes) that we really notice and appreciate something personal in the post. Consider the last time you received a personal note or card in the mail. How did it make you feel?

Additionally, although we have the ability to be more connected with friends and family all around the world, studies are showing that social media is having the opposite effect and is actually making us feel more disconnected with our loved ones and reality itself.

With an overwhelming 50% of adults in the UK experiencing feelings of loneliness, imagine the impact a letter, a note or card could have on helping them feel like they aren’t really alone.

How to practise

When we do take the time to write cards or letters, we can end up doing it in a rush, or typing something up instead knowing it can be done a lot faster. This will do no favours for you in improving your dexterity so make it a new hobby. Like any hobby, you really do need to set a good amount of time aside to practise it. So, why not make re-learning to write your goal for the year? Learn the craft of calligraphy to not only create beautiful handwritten letters, but you could end up using your new skill to create beautiful art for your home or even gifts for your loved ones in the future.

Carve out the time for your new hobby

Like all good things, it’s best to schedule and make the time for your new hobby. If you’re just learning from home, rather than participating in a class, block out the time in your diary to practice and hone your skill every week, allowing at least an hour to go through your worksheets or a guided tutorial online.

To get you started

There are lots of ways you can access materials to learn the art of calligraphy and its many styles; from YouTube videos of calligraphy hobbyists, to free download sheets through Pinterest, there are plenty of free resources you can use to learn this new skill.

There are also plenty of books that act as worksheets to help you learn about the different styles of writing and how you need to hold your pen, the types of pens you need, and the distinctive features of lettering to create the styles you like best.

I loved the Disney Art of Hand Lettering book to get me started on my calligraphy addiction; it showed the various styles the Disney company uses and includes templates, worksheets and guides to help you recreate them. It also outlines a comprehensive kit list of the different tools you’ll need to get started and you can scale this up as you go.

Meticulous Ink, a letterpress and fine stationers in Bath, Somerset, offer workshops at their studio to learn different styles of handwriting, or you can purchase beginners kits which includes pen, ink, nib, and worksheets to get you started.

Whether you’re looking to improve or build on your handwriting skills or learn something new from scratch, there’s a range of tools to help you.

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