Do handwritten memories have a place in the digital world? Of course they do! Writing your memories down by hand can be even more therapeutic than typing them. Plus, handwritten memories are apt to be particularly valued by loved ones; we all love seeing the handwriting of people we love.
Comfortable in the digital world?
If you’re reading this in blog format, you’re probably a computer user. However, there are generations of people with tons of memories that should be preserved who aren’t comfortable with the digital age. You probably know and love one.
In fact, individual comfort levels with the digital devices vary greatly. Teens and tweens, for example, view computers, smart phones, and social networking as a completely intuitive way of relating to the world. Others, like me, are tech savvy, but regard such devices as tools, much like the telephone. We use them because they connect us and help us get our work done. People who were introduced to computers at an advanced age often are less at ease with them, using them almost grudgingly, out of necessity or to keep up. Still others shun them.
Your—or your loved one’s—”computer friendliness” is important to consider when deciding whether they want to “go digital” or whether they prefer to start capturing handwritten memories.
If you’re not sure, ask a couple of basic questions. (You can ask them to yourself or to your loved one if you’re encouraging them to document their memories.) Are word-processing programs your most efficient way of putting words to paper? Do you like the convenience of editing, sorting, cutting, and pasting? Do you find paperless files easier to organize? Do you have a readily available (working) laptop, tablet, or computer? (This one can be a deal breaker.)
If the answers were more along the lines of “Perish the thought!” or if the questions themselves filled you or your loved one with distaste, remember that digital media isn’t necessary in order to write. It’s simply an option. People write best when they’re comfortable with their tools.
Start Preserving your Handwritten Memories
If you love the feel of pen and paper, there is no need to go high tech. Find a notebook or attractive journal and just get started. Handwritten words are getting to be more and more of a treasure. In fact, the handwriting of a loved one can evoke strong emotions and facilitate connections. If you write legibly, your family will almost certainly enjoy, even treasure, seeing your hand. The “if,” however, is critical; you must write legibly.
This is a lesson my family learned the hard way. My grandmother’s handwriting was beyond illegible. In fact, her handwriting—the term itself is perhaps generous—was self-taught and looked more like a toddler’s imitation of cursive. If not for my mother’s ability to decipher and her determination to record my grandmother’s writings for the rest of us, my Grandma’s whole “Treasure Chest” might have been lost to us.
Though my mother typed Grandma’s memories, she annotated many in her own hand. Somehow, my mother’s handwriting embodies her personality. When I look at it, my heart inevitably experiences a tug.
In her Kaizen Journaling Blog, Dolly Garland explains some of the allure and power of handwritten words: “I actually believe that the process of writing by hand makes a difference. It’s slower than you can type, but that means that you are connecting more with your words. I personally find that if I write something down by hand, it makes a far stronger impression on me.” She also stresses that many tech-savvy people simply prefer writing with pen and paper. They feel a stronger connection to their stories that way.
If handwritten memories make a strong impression on the writer, think how meaningful these handwritten memories will be to future generations. Don’t let an aversion to computers and digital technology slow you down. Regardless of whether you want to use pen and paper, typewriter, computer, tablet, or blog, the important thing is to simply write down those stories.