We type so often these days – on computers and our phones – that we can get a little out of practice with our handwriting. It often shows too, with much writing sitting on the scale somewhere between messy…and completely illegible. So if we are continuing the journey towards digital, why should you spend the time to improve your handwriting?

1. It makes you smarter

And who doesn’t want to be a little smarter, right?! It turns out there’s more to writing than communication. Writing by hand has been shown to improve information retention, comprehension and even cognitive development.

A recent series of studies discovered that university students taking lecture notes by typing performed worse on later conceptual tests that those who’d handwritten their notes.

Research published in the Cognitive Neuropsychology Journal in 2009 suggest learning and writing in cursive was important for cognitive development as the brain has to integrate thinking, sensation and control of movement. Brain imaging studies show that cursive writing activates ares of the brain that typing does not.

2. It could make you more productive

When you need to communicate with people by hand – whether through a brief note or more extensive meeting notes – people will simply be able to better understand you if you can write clearly and legibly.

So let’s face it – if you have to spend five minutes every day trying to decipher what you’ve written, its lost time! We often rely on handwritten notes from meetings or lectures – so having writing you can later read is key in being your most productive.

3. It can help with your creativity

Writing by hand slows you down – and that can help with creative thought. Big picture thinking is better suited to writing by hand than typing.

Studies have shown that children are better at generating ideas when writing by hand.

4. A little bit of pride

We all like to look our best, present at our best. So if you improve your handwriting, you’ll no longer need to be ashamed of your chicken scrawl! You can hold you head high when you send a special card or letter, knowing the recipient will not only be able read what you’ve written but also may be a little impressed at your penmanship.

5. A little bit of pleasure & beauty

Practicing writing beautifully can lead to more pleasure in the written word. Thanks to the sharing opportunities on Instagram and Pinterest, we’re often inspired by people’s beautiful script or elegantly rendered bullet journals. Projects like the blogger-driven #Rockyourhandwriting have seen tens of thousands of people photograph and tag their handwriting (shout-outs to Boho Berry, Decade Thirty, Pretty Prints and Paper and Tiny Ray of Sunshine for driving this awesome handwriting renaissance!).

Interested in learning more about writing by hand?

Check out the New York Times Science Podcast tackling “Does handwriting matter”.

Find Milligram’s best tools to improve your handwriting.