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The Importance of the Written Word

Everyone from Shakespeare to Thomas Jefferson have created their own variation of the famous phrase, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” It highlights the power that exists around the written word and although we now have many different ways of communicating those words, they continue to make an impact.

The sudden growth in artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-powered language generators (such as ChatGPT and Google Bard) has plunged the art of writing into a whole new world – and one which not everyone is happy about.

There are lots of people expressing concerns about these fast-moving developments, trying to understand their implications. Let’s take a further look at AI tools and the importance of the written word.

Man on macbook searching on ChatGPT

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot which can process language resulting in an ability to have what seems like a real conversation with a human being which can answer questions, admit its mistakes and challenge misinformation.

What has previously only existed in sci fi films is now becoming part of our everyday life and that also extends into the AI which can create the written word with ease. It’s not surprising that so many people are scared about where this may all lead – and if our creativity as writers will disappear as a result.

For anyone wanting reassurance, the fact is, writing is so important to us as a means of communication - it will always be part of our lives. The handwritten word is part of our individual identity, it’s our personality transferred to ink – so don’t be afraid to use it!

What are the benefits of writing?

There is something incredibly cathartic about putting pen to paper and actually writing by hand is recognised as a way to reduce stress – exactly why writing is good for the soul. It’s also a great way to clear your mind and increase productivity. Whether it’s writing down your daily to-do list or journalling, writing can be calming and relaxing.

Is writing a diary good for you?

Yes! A diary is not just a great way of being able to express your thoughts and feelings, but it can also help you gain self-confidence and even track your goals. It’s also a window into a certain period in your life which you can look back on in years to come – providing of course you’ve got neat handwriting so you can decipher it! For anyone who may be struggling with their mental health, many therapists recommend journaling to help.

Is writing a coping mechanism?

Writing can be a coping mechanism as it can help cut down negative thoughts, identify triggers and help alleviate issues such as depression and anxiety – although it’s highly important you seek professional help if you are struggling.

Man doing some handwriting in his office

National Share A Story Month

Everyone has a book in them, so the saying goes, and this month is the perfect time to show just that. National Share A Story Month is an annual celebration of the power of storytelling and story sharing.

Aimed at creating a love of books in children, this is fantastic opportunity to showcase the art of fine writing and penmanship by turning your own tale into something that can be shared.

It doesn’t have to be something that will be a best seller – although of course if you happen to have one of those up your sleeve even better – but it could just be a much loved story that you want to preserve for future generations.

Writing it in your hand is so much more personal and will be so appreciated – and you can easily turn it into a book that you can give to your family and friends.

Or it may be that you actually have that novel running around in your brain – well, now is the time to get it down on paper.

Handwriting: How to improve your handwriting

Now time to talk handwriting. When putting pen to paper, this literally is handwriting. Your handwriting is like your fingerprint – it’s unique and part of you.

If you’ve been wondering how to improve your handwriting, there’s a few simple tips you can follow. From making sure you’re using the right pen and paper, to the way you sit can all impact the way your writing looks. It’s also important to take it slow, check the sizes of your letters and examine what you’re doing so you know what it is you want to improve on. Keep practicing and you will eventually discover how to write well.

What is cursive handwriting?

Cursive writing is often better known as joined-up writing. You may not know it by its proper name, but every one of us was taught at school to do cursive handwriting.

It’s just one of the handwriting styles and it usually makes it easier for people to write more quickly because you don’t have to lift the pen up between letters. We’ve all grown up with the “art” so it’s important for us not to forget to use it.

How you write doesn’t usually matter (unless it’s an important part of your job), but having fancy handwriting is certainly useful at times when really only a handwritten response will do.

A 3D render of a handwritten letter with ink and quill

Why handwritten is often better

Are handwritten cards better? A birthday, an anniversary or even when sympathy is required, a handwritten card is always the way to go. It becomes personal and shows the recipient that you’ve taken the time and trouble to write to them in person.

Another area when something handwritten comes into its own is in helping you stay organised with a to-do list. Rather than typing it, is it better to write a to do list? Of course it is! A lot of people find that writing something down they need to remember on paper tends to stick in their head more. Whether it’s items you need from the supermarket, tasks that you need to complete for work or just somewhere to jot down your thoughts and inspirations, having a handy notepad with you at all times is something that nobody can really afford to be without.

Do people still write letters?

Although it’s not as common anymore, yes people do still write letters. Just as there are occasions when only a handwritten card will do, there are times when a printed letter just won’t cut the mustard. A thank you letter or a condolence letter needs to be highly personal and so it’s important to write them by hand.

In these times of change and with technology continuing to evolve at a breakneck pace, it’s good that there’s one thing that remains constant – the written word. Make sure you use it to your advantage!


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