24 Apr 2018
Everyone knows someone who’s obsessed with stationery but no-one quite knows why. There isn’t even a word for someone who loves stationery – even though there is a word for someone who loves beards (pogonophile), cats (ailurophile) and everything (pantophile, which we assume also includes the love of pantos… altogether now: “oh no it doesn’t, oh yes it does!”).
But National Stationery Week and the associated World Stationery Day (26 April) are not devoted to these people. The organisers are using the publicity it generates to promote and celebrate handwriting. Writing things by hand is fast becoming a lost art, but there are compelling reasons why we need to embrace and regularly practise it… and not just because an ancient relative expects a neatly written thank you letter every time they send you a present.
However bad your handwriting is, keep doing it! The National Handwriting Association, a charity that was set up to promote the importance of teaching handwriting skills, says: “Handwriting is a very complex skill to master, one which involves linguistic, cognitive, perceptual and motor components, all of which have to be co-ordinated into an integrated fashion.” In fact, scientists have discovered that handwriting stimulates three different areas of the brain, an effect which typing does not have. Other studies have discovered that you are much more likely to remember information you handwrite than if you type it, and students who type their lecture notes directly onto their laptop put themselves at a disadvantage because they’re less likely to understand and retain the information. So by handwriting your notes and letters, you’ll be improving your cognitive abilities which will help you pass exams, do a great job and help to ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Psychologists have also been looking at the effects of sending and receiving handwritten letters from friends and family. People who were asked to write and send a letter a week reported they felt happier, more emotionally engaged and more able to make sense of things. And thinking about it from the recipient’s point of view, in amongst all the bills and junk mail, how lovely would it be to receive a letter from someone who’s gone to the time and trouble to write down their thoughts, just for you.
So why not use National Stationery Week as a great excuse to get your fingers and your brain moving. At the UOE Store you can buy notebooks that are perfect for keeping a diary or writing down your thoughts, as well as paper, cards and envelopes for writing letters to your loved ones, and the pens you’ll need to help you write as beautifully as you can!