The Japanese word shakyo can mean both the act of transcribing sutras (Buddhist prayers) and the sutras that have been copied in this way.
Shakyo started as a method of spreading the knowledge of sutras, as well as serving as a form of training for priests, but today it is not confined to trainee priests, and has become a popular hobby.
Transcribing a sutra has the same effect as when praying.
A lot of people transcribe the Heart Sutra, and although it contains a lot of difficult Chinese characters, there are transcription sets available that allow the novice to simply trace characters that are printed on another sheet below, enabling them to do it without fear of making a mistake.
Just to look at the gracefully written characters of the original is a delight.
The neat lines of calligraphy have the effect of putting us in a better state of mind.
Another pastime that has the same effect as transcribing sutras is that of copying pictures of Buddha.
The original drawings all have different nuances, and it is enjoyable just to look through these as you select the one you wish to use.
You can dedicate the finished result to a temple or, alternatively, take it home and use it as a kind of goodluck charm.