5 benefits of handwriting we'll lose if it becomes extinct

Writing by hand can be slow, but it offers a lot in return

More and more, we're writing by hand less and less. With the ubiquity of laptops, smartphones and tablets, there's much less of a reason to break out a pen and paper when a keyboard is right at our fingertips. While you're generally able to write things down much faster by computer than by hand, there are plenty of things we'll be missing out on in the name of expediency. Here are some pretty important things that will be gone if handwriting dies away.

1. Writing by hand offers a lot more cognitive stimulation

Handwriting out your notes activates different parts of your brain than by typing them. It is this process that makes handwritten notes much better for learning. When you write by hand, you're often taking down notes at a slower pace. Because of this, you have to take the time to sort through the information and decide what's important enough to write down. A side effect of doing this is increased recall and comprehension. Taking the time to dismiss information you already know or don't need to remember allows your brain to laser focus on what's really important.

2. Handwriting shows your personality

There are trained handwriting analysis experts for a reason. Everyone forms their letters differently on the page, whether in cursive or print. This is in part due to the different physicality of each person, but often personality also shows up in handwriting. If you know someone particularly well, you can probably pick out their handwriting out of a line up easily. And there is nothing unique about punching keys on a keyboard.

3. Pen and paper fosters creativity

Many famous authors opted for writing their works by hand over using a typewriter or a computer. Authors Susan Sontag and Truman Capote always opted to write their first drafts by hand, only typing them up later in the editing process. Sontag said she preferred the slowness of writing by hand. Using pen and paper does give you more time to consider what you're writing and where you're going next than typing does. Additionally, with only so much space on the page, you naturally consider your words and phrasing much more carefully. Every word has to count.

4. Writing by hand keeps you more focused

Merely because a pad of paper can't open a portal to adorable cat videos, writing by hand inherently has fewer distractions. It's just you and the words. There are distraction-free writing apps out there, but it is also nice to take a break from staring at a screen. After looking in the same place for a fixed period of time, your brain starts to drift off. Having a brand new environment and textures to absorb as you jot things down by hand keeps you much more attentive to your work than with using a computer.

5. Handwriting gives that personal touch

As mentioned before, handwriting has a certain personality to it that typed font doesn't. Receiving a handwritten letter or postcard feels much more personal than an email. You're holding the same piece of paper that someone else held. It is a deeply personal connection that ones and zeroes just can't replicate. Taking the time to find a nice stationary or postcard, write a note and send it also shows an extra level of care from the sender. It shows much more time and thought than sending off a quick email can ever do.