Hand Written vs. Typed

I thought I was doing so well over the weekend. Got two out of my three weekly posts written when I realized I hadn’t done Tuesdays! AAAAH.

Typing away at work, I thought about the difference between hand writing things and typing them. I made a list of items I needed to work on and wondered at the cramp starting in my arm. Really? I thought to myself. Has it been that long since I hand wrote anything lengthy? Then I realized, it has. I type just about everything at work and then after I get home, I fire up the computer and start typing again.

Can you imagine typing on this puppy! 1890’s Remington typewriter.


It’s no wonder our handwriting has gotten so horrible. For this reason, I’ve made a conscious effort to try and write more. I mean handwriting. I remember when it mattered if the teacher could read your writing. Old texts are valued for their beauty and art – the art of the beautifully executed handwriting. It was a revered art form. I found some examples here.

Lambert 1 Typewriter 1890's. source

I have to wonder if these small changes made over the decades have been an undermining factor in art becoming less important in the face of technological advances.

True art is hardly efficient. It can take years to hone and perfect a piece before an artist shares it with the public. Stock images reproduced at lower cost make a company more money, long term.

People may think I’m a dinosaur, intent on holding onto the past, but I still believe in picking out and hand signing cards. I get e-cards all the time, but they don’t have the same effect. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a photo box full of cards. Store bought, hand made or mass produced Christmas cards. They all have one thing in common. They’re hand signed with a personal note inside, sent by someone either I or the hubby care about. Signed with a flourish or rife with stops and starts and blotches of ink. Those are my favorite cards.

I’ve printed out emails I’ve gotten from family, but they don’t hold the same appeal as a hand written letter. I’m just as guilty of taking the easy way out when time is a factor, but I try to send a handwritten note whenever possible. Though my handwriting doesn’t look quite this pretty.


I guess I’m more rambling than anything. To me though, the look of someone’s handwriting is still a factor in how I perceive that person’s ability. If it’s legible and consistent, I’m fine with that. I have a hard time with handwriting I can’t read or when those pesky little text abbreviations start creeping in. I’ve turned down an applicant because they wrote bcuz on an explanation for why they left a previous job. If the job had been tweeting the company’s information, that would have been different.

I guess what I’m saying is, the work we turn in is a reflection of ourselves – whether handwritten or typed.

Which do you prefer? Does it depend on who will see it?



19 thoughts on “Hand Written vs. Typed

    1. I started out that way, but I’ve so much of a pantser that when i start, I sit at the computer and, pardon the word choice, word vomit onto the page. I write what comes to mind, no filter for the most part. I’ve tried that on paper and I just can’t write fast enough! ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry for the mental image :/

  1. My handwriting made the good nuns weep. The Jesuits in high school taught us to type, then never wanted to see a handwritten paper again. Since the stroke disabled my right hand, and I never learned to write with my left, I’ve given up writing with a pen and do all my typing on the computer, which, believe me, is a heck of a lot easier than using a typewriter, because I no longer have to screw with correction tape, Wite-Out, or an eraser to make my many corrections.

  2. I hand write my prompts every day, so I probably do between 200-500 words every day by hand. I LOVE the feel of a pen, the way it glides across the paper.

    The only problem is that I have to type those stories up which is a pain *slumps*

    I think I need a secretary ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol


    1. I think so too Vikki! I used to do “The Artist’s Way” morning pages. It just got to be too much for me. Stressed me out because then by the end of the day, I didn’t want to write on my manuscript. It’s a great concept, just doesn’t work for me at the moment. I still hand write stuff here at work. And all the Christmas cards that go out. I put a personal note in each one. Usually takes me about 4 days to finish them all. I hand address them too. I refuse to totally give in! lol

      Thanks Vikki.

  3. While I haven’t spent quite as much time on penmanship as I often wish I could, most of my stories I still write out longhand. This includes the one manuscript I submitted to a publisher rounding 900,000 words (according to Scrivener) and several other stories. I spend a lot of time and energy choosing the right pens and notebooks.

    And like you, Melanie, I save written correspondence. It’s a family thing… My grandmother has a number of her father’s letters he’d written while traveling for work during the Depression. He’d trained in penmanship with a master forger in the circus when he was a child, and his letters are lovely…and all very different because he used them as practice for maintaining his skill.

    Oh, and she still has that kind of typewriter. She inks her own ribbons to keep using it.

    1. I don’t think I’d have the patience to hand write an entire manuscript! Good for you!! Okay, master forger? That’s a story I definitely want to hear more of ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds interesting. I’ve never used one of the old, old typewriters. I think it’s awesome you and Raelyn have had access to those.

      Thanks for stopping by Eden.

      1. Odd you mention handwriting with patience… I never saw it that way. Handwriting is peaceful and visual (and a small pen and notebook can fit almost anywhere).

        Of course… typing the thing in can get frustrating.

        (re: Master forger) That’s what I was told. He must have been quite good, since there are no records of him ever having been arrested, and my great-grandfather’s letters have so many different styles of penmanship. There is one scrap of paper where it shows him having practiced the signatures from the Declaration of Independence….

        There are a lot of stories about things my great-grandpa did. He was a product of his time, for sure. And I bet with a few questions you could come up with a bunch of similar pieces of family history of your own, Melanie. ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. It can be peaceful for me too sometimes, especially if I take the writing outside. Inside? It frustrates me because I know I could go to the computer and do it faster ๐Ÿ™‚

          Oh, there’s a few things in my family’s closet! And I plan to put them in a book, if I can ever finish the edit/rewrite I’m working on now. Eventually I’d like to work on the genealogy of my family, but it will be tough because a good chunk is in Czech. Thank goodness for Babylon and Google translators!

          1. That sounds fascinating! I wish you the best of luck on it. (Have you considered asking around on somewhere like Reddit or at a university for someone who would be willing to help you translate things (perhaps a native speaker who might recognize colloquialisms or little turns of phrase that don’t translate directly)? (I confess, I do explore Google Translate more than I’d like to admit… but I try to run most things off a native speaker when I can too).

  4. I’m sure we’re losing documents because we do so much digitally now. But I have wrist issues (from too much mouse work combined with taking closed door minutes by hand for three hours). I don’t write by hand if I can type it.

    1. Definitely Donna. I have the wrist issues too, though sometimes taking the time to write or even crochet helps loosen them up a little. I need to figure out something, I’m back to waking up with numb hands again.

  5. I agree handwriting does reflect a person. The messier the writing the more I’m inclined to feel they hurried or couldn’t be bothered. And abbreviations should be limited to notes to self, text messages, or industry standards (like the medical field). I can’t imagine abbreviating anything on an application, LOL, I’d have turned them down too.

    I hate my handwriting but sometimes it’s just easier, stream of conscientious stuff maybe. Lists are always handwritten, for example. I’ve tried tons of digital lists and they just do not work. Sometimes if I’m stuck on a scene I’ll try writing by hand and that often helps.

    But you’re so right. We’re moving away from penmanship being important. I grew up when receiving one of my grandfather’s newsy letters was an event. We’d linger at the dinner table while my dad read the letter and we’d connect to the family spread far and wide. That same family now communicates via email and FB but I firmly believe if my grandfather hadn’t taken the time to write those letters we wouldn’t be as close-knit as we are.

    Now I want to go practice my writing ๐Ÿ™‚ Interesting post Melanie!

    Oh, by the way, I had to work on a typewriter similar to that model you pictured. (I think it was from the 1920’s, give or take a decade, LOL.) It took some serious finger muscles to operate! The owner finally had to buy something from a more recent decade when I could no longer find ribbons for the beast.

    1. Wow! I can’t imagine working on one of those things. My grandfather also used to write those type of letters. He’s 86 now and getting a little shaky, so my grandmother has taken over. I love his penmanship. I also hand write my lists – digital doesn’t work for me either. I’ve got to be able to take a pen and cross off that item. I’ll hand write scenes sometimes too, but that’s usually because I’m sick of sitting at the computer! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great response Raelyn.

      1. Yeah, it was a beast to work on. Hunt and peck was the only method I could use with it ๐Ÿ™‚

        My dad still does the Old English Calligraphy. Gorgeous. I used to do Calligraphy as well (something I’m revisiting with the wee beasties) but never mastered what my father picked up simply by studying old manuscripts.

        And it’s kinda funny reading these comments, I’m definitely from a different time. Eden’s grandmother’s father…oy, I feel old. Those are the kinds of stories I grow up hearing from my grandparents…who lived them.

        In high school I learned to type on an electric typewriter. My boys are learning in elementary school how to type on an iPad. My oldest was laughing about a word processor style typewriter just over the weekend and couldn’t believe how limited it was. I’d had a similar one and at the time it was the next best thing to sliced bread! ๐Ÿ˜†

        1. I learned on an electric too. An older one that you still had to have muscle strength for the keys.

          You wouldn’t believe how much a typewriter (with the correction tape taken out) can tell you about a person. I did that the last time I did interviews. All the applicants had to take a typing test and I wanted a TRUE idea of how well they typed. One girl got like 12 wpm and just said “Oh well, your typewriter thingy was broken.” Uh, next! I think a person applying for a secretary position, i.e. lots of typing, should be able to do at least 45 wpm, with mistakes. And then the looks I got when I asked them to fill out an application!! OY! Amazing how much people reveal when you ask them to *gasp* write something or *GASP* use a typewriter! LOL Sorry.

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