Author Topic: Handwriting?  (Read 13971 times)

Timmmy

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Handwriting?
« on: November 25, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »
I have pretty horrible handwriting skills and always have.  I'm a lefty and I'm not sure my teachers knew how to teach a lefty.  It's all fairly legible it just looks like a 12 year old wrote it.  I'v wanted for a long time to improve it but never got around to actually doing it.  The job I have now doesn't exactly require good writing skills but it would make things look more professional. 

Anyone ever improve their handwriting as an adult?  How/what did you do? 


Do people even care what the handwriting of someone looks like?  Even though I have bad handwriting, I still judge other peoples bad handwriting. 

Elaine

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 11:32:44 AM »
I did it! I had terrible childlike handwriting, and always envied nice penmanship. I have gorgeous handwriting now. I actually taught myself calligraphy from a book and just practiced. I figured that if I could do calligraphy, I could have nice normal handwriting- and it worked! Just approach it like it's any other skill, it's all muscle memory.

I recommend getting a calligraphy book and learning to write with a fountain pen. Fountain pens force you to go in the "right" direction because otherwise ink won't come out. They also teach you to have better control, because if you pause ink will seep out and create a spot.

Dicey

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 11:40:15 AM »
Are you a lefty, Elaine? This thread caught my attention because I'm a lefty and print fairly well, but my cursive is pretty unattractive. I did take a college-level calligraphy course. I still have the folio. I'm amazed when I leaf through it, but my everyday handwriting is still crap and getting worse as I get older. IIRC, I had to buy a special fountain pen set, because of the reverse angle. I'll be interested to see if anyone else has other suggestions, as I still have dreams of lovely penmanship.

Elaine

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 11:41:00 AM »
I'm a righty actually! I just had awful handwriting.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 11:53:18 AM »
Fellow lefty with terrible handwriting.  I long ago gave up trying.  I can at least print so that I can read something.  But I rarely print.  I just type anything.  Trying to use a pen for too long makes my hand cramp up.  Plus my hand gets ink on it from dragging across the page. 

I don't think I remember how to write in cursive anymore other than to sign my name.  I'm 42.

solon

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 12:07:08 PM »
I'm a right-hander, but about a year ago I decided to teach myself to write left-handed.

I have a morning habit of writing (cursive) for 20 minutes. I just copy the text from some of my favorite books.

At first my writing was terrible - it looked like a third-grader wrote it. But now my left hand writing is nearly as good as my right hand writing. If you didn't know my writing, you wouldn't be able to tell I wasn't left-handed.

I think the trick to improving your writing is just to do it. A lot. Nobody has to see it, it's just for your own enjoyment and improvement!

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2014, 12:16:51 PM »
Check out the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" from the library. There's a chapter in there on handwriting.

When did you go to elementary school and was it in the U.S.? I'm convinced that you can tell who went to American elementary schools when based on their handwriting. I was in an international school overseas, and my handwriting is decent because it was taught as a subject. My wife, who's four years younger, grew up and went to school here in the States during the late 80s/Early 90s and her handwriting looks like a child's.

Lizzy B.

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 12:17:29 PM »
I had bad handwriting through most of school and made a concerted effort to fix it. Now, I get compliments on it. I found the trick was to practice lots and to SLOW DOWN, particularly when you're deciding what you want your new handwriting to look like. Get some good paper (lined loose leaf doesn't absorb ink well), a fountain pen or something that has the ink flow feeling you like (uniball visions and the varsity fountain pens by pilot are reasonably mustachian and personal favorites) and go to town!  Have fun!

Dicey

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 08:22:42 PM »
When did you go to elementary school and was it in the U.S.?
Private school, small classes. Penmanship was a topic. Palmer Method. No luck. I really think it's a left-handed thing. Doesn't stop me from endlessly admiring beautiful handwriting.

I am on a non-profit board. When we do our major ask mailings, I'm the one who folds letters, stuffs envelopes and affixes stamps. Well, somebody's got to do it, sigh.

Solon, I admire your persistence. I am sure you are doing your brain a world of good.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 10:11:56 PM by Diane C »

BlueHouse

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2014, 08:45:16 PM »
I don't like my handwriting either.  I love the ideas about calligraphy and left-handed writing - but only to try to form some new neural pathways. 
I see no point in actually improving penmanship other than for personal satisfaction because it's an obsolete skill. Kids aren't even learning cursive in school anymore because they type everything.  In fact, I read an article recently that said many children starting in kindergarten do not even have the motor skills to hold a pencil properly because they've never done it! 
Thanks for the ideas. 

madmax

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2014, 08:52:35 PM »
I did it! I had terrible childlike handwriting, and always envied nice penmanship. I have gorgeous handwriting now. I actually taught myself calligraphy from a book and just practiced.

Do you remember the name of the book?

CPA CB

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2014, 09:04:00 PM »
You mentioned you're a professional?

If this profession ends with "MD", I say, scribble away! The pharmacist will prescribe a random drug regardless.

If it's law - don't worry, no one knows what you're saying, and you can charge whatever you're want... Who cares about legibility in words?

If it's accounting (like me...) just stick to Excel! Everyone loves numbers...(right?)

In fairness - the Fountain Pen is the way to go. Fluid writing means immediate feedback... To draw a metaphor - it's better to learn to drive on a standard car, than one that drives itself.

Good luck!



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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 11:04:23 PM »
I have nice handwriting, always cursive. I judge people off their handwriting - the messier, the dumber. Sorry, but I do.

Flyingkea

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2014, 04:36:38 AM »
Fellow lefty with terrible writing here! The other day I filled out a paper form and realised it was the first time I had written anything for months. I used to have nice writing, until school taught me to link up my letters.
Doe you other leftys find you get ink stains and smudges all over your little finger when writing?

Sunnymo

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2014, 04:55:35 AM »
Yet another lefty here... I felt in primary (elementary) school that my teachers didn't understand the nuance of teaching cursive writing to lefties. Once I got to a grade level where they didn't mind print or cursive I just stopped the cursive.

All my uni lecture notes were printed and I had a few people borrow and photocopy them as they were so clear.

The only thing I 'write' is my signature but that is mainly muscle memory and almost drawing an image rather than writing my name

Timmmy

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2014, 06:36:18 AM »
You mentioned you're a professional?

If this profession ends with "MD", I say, scribble away! The pharmacist will prescribe a random drug regardless.

If it's law - don't worry, no one knows what you're saying, and you can charge whatever you're want... Who cares about legibility in words?

If it's accounting (like me...) just stick to Excel! Everyone loves numbers...(right?)

In fairness - the Fountain Pen is the way to go. Fluid writing means immediate feedback... To draw a metaphor - it's better to learn to drive on a standard car, than one that drives itself.

Good luck!

It is accounting!  My numbers are pretty good.  I write a lot of numbers, but I regularly end up needing to write messages to clients and they look horrible. 

I have nice handwriting, always cursive. I judge people off their handwriting - the messier, the dumber. Sorry, but I do.

No need to apologize!  I have bad handwriting and I judge people the same way.  That's why I want to improve it. 


Fellow lefty with terrible writing here! The other day I filled out a paper form and realised it was the first time I had written anything for months. I used to have nice writing, until school taught me to link up my letters.
Doe you other leftys find you get ink stains and smudges all over your little finger when writing?

I use a pencil +90% time.  I end up with a shiny silver left pinky regularly. 

solon

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2014, 08:54:50 AM »
I don't understand the ink-on-the-pinky problem. When I write (with either hand), my hand hangs down below what I've already written. How is it that your hand drags through it?

Bob W

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2014, 09:10:12 AM »
I empathize with you.   I have had poor hand writing for 48 years.  Last year when my son was in first grade I followed along and attempted to practice improved letters.  (I have never written in cursive).   To no avail.  It did not improve with increased effort and was frustrating. 

I cannot make a straight line or circle.  My fine motor skills suck.   It can be an indication of future Parkinson disease as well.   It seems that Alzheimer's and Parkinson's can be identified as probable at young ages due to the writing and style of prose.   My family has a history if this, so it is no surprise.

Bottom line,  I could not improve my hand writing.

The good news -  My son's 2nd grade teacher indicated he is at the top of his class in reading and math and at the bottom in hand writing.  She said she has seen this of a typical trait of bright students.   

But it really would be fun to be able to write and draw nice.  Would be fun to be able to sing as well but I think at my point in life the effort would not equal the reward. 

Good Luck!

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2014, 10:10:38 AM »
I've also got bad handwriting but rather than try and fix it, I simply type everything.  Thus the only time it's an issue is when "white-boarding" in a conference room.  Speech-to-text apps will become more and more ubiquitous in the coming years so you have to ask whether "fixing" you handwriting is worth the effort and opportunity cost. 

lizzzi

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2014, 11:11:01 AM »
Slow down. Use a pen you like. Since handwriting is becoming a lost art, I am trying to think of it as a bit of an art, and when i do write something by hand, try to make it look nice.

Dicey

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2014, 11:46:12 AM »
I don't understand the ink-on-the-pinky problem. When I write (with either hand), my hand hangs down below what I've already written. How is it that your hand drags through it?
I was taught to hold a pen the way you're describing. The trouble usually sets in when notebooks are added to the equasion. How does a lefty use anything with rings or spiral and still see what they're doing? They develop a hook, of course. Now, if lefties were allowed to use the left-hand side of the page to do their work, inky pinkies in school would no longer be an issue. Once the hook sets in, it's hard to undo it, especially after years and years of training.

Here's more lefty wierdness. I can't use standard rollerball pens. They just do not roll smoothly. Anything with wet ink is just itching to smudge. I was thrilled to discover jell/gel pens. The ink dries instantly, they come in lots of lovely colors and have tiny little rollers, which seem to work reasonably well. Must be something about the ink formula.

I confess, I love being a lefty, bad handwriting and all. It's fun when I meet other lefties, as we automatically have something in common. I joke that lefties are going to take over the world, but not with our handwriting because no one will know what we're talking about.

Beric01

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2014, 12:10:34 PM »
My handwriting is comparable to chicken scratching. Oh, and I'm right-handed. Add in very sweaty palms and you know you would have liked to be the professor grading my tests. I have ADHD, which apparently is at least a possible contributor to bad handwriting as well.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up in the computer age. I use handwriting for only 3 things:
  • writing my monthly rent check
  • sending in my "bike to work" reimbursement form at my company
  • signing a receipt (if that even counts as handwriting)

At work I take all of my meeting notes on the computer. I make grocery lists on my phone. Anything to avoid physical handwriting - often I can't even read it myself!

I have nice handwriting, always cursive. I judge people off their handwriting - the messier, the dumber. Sorry, but I do.

There's a lot of disabilities that can prevent an otherwise intelligent person from writing neatly. Try:
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Written language disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Vision issues

You might try being a little less judgmental in this area. I took a calligraphy class. I tried writing in cursive. I tried daily practice of writing letters. Nothing worked.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:15:50 PM by Beric01 »

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2014, 12:56:39 PM »
My handwriting is horrible.  I was overjoyed when I got into high school because printing was allowed.  Middle school was agony because I was required to use cursive.  I would literally take 0 credit on assignments because writing the final, clean copy of a paper was too difficult.

I tried calligraphy, tons of repetitive muscle memory drills, tutoring, and anything else my parents could think of.  Nothing worked.  I suspect that my moderate dyslexia was a big factor.


Timmmy

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2014, 12:57:49 PM »
I don't understand the ink-on-the-pinky problem. When I write (with either hand), my hand hangs down below what I've already written. How is it that your hand drags through it?
I was taught to hold a pen the way you're describing. The trouble usually sets in when notebooks are added to the equasion. How does a lefty use anything with rings or spiral and still see what they're doing? They develop a hook, of course. Now, if lefties were allowed to use the left-hand side of the page to do their work, inky pinkies in school would no longer be an issue. Once the hook sets in, it's hard to undo it, especially after years and years of training.

Here's more lefty wierdness. I can't use standard rollerball pens. They just do not roll smoothly. Anything with wet ink is just itching to smudge. I was thrilled to discover jell/gel pens. The ink dries instantly, they come in lots of lovely colors and have tiny little rollers, which seem to work reasonably well. Must be something about the ink formula.

I confess, I love being a lefty, bad handwriting and all. It's fun when I meet other lefties, as we automatically have something in common. I joke that lefties are going to take over the world, but not with our handwriting because no one will know what we're talking about.

FELLOW LEFTY!  WHOOP WHOOP!

The rightys of the world have no idea how easy they have it.  Everything is designed for right handed operation.  I love loaning people my left handed scissors and watching them struggle. 

I definitely have the hook to my hand while writing.  I wonder if that contributes to the problem. 

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2014, 05:54:07 AM »
At eighteen I decided to improve my handwriting. It wasn't illegible but was cramped and scrappy. I bought a cheap Parker fountain pen and promised myself a nice one when I was good enough. My advice is mainly that practice makes perfect. Practice slowly on everyday things (shopping lists, post it notes) and deliberately try and hand write as much as possible. Find a friend who has nice handwriting that you can copy. It's worth the effort - a year later I bought myself a beautiful Cross pen and a bottle of bright blue ink. I get compliments on my handwriting a lot now, even my 'everyday' handwriting (not my 'extra nice' writing for thank you letters etc). It's a skill for life once you have put a bit of effort in, and people are really impressed by it. But start slowly and buy a fountain pen.

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2014, 04:24:51 PM »
I've also got bad handwriting but rather than try and fix it, I simply type everything.  Thus the only time it's an issue is when "white-boarding" in a conference room.  Speech-to-text apps will become more and more ubiquitous in the coming years so you have to ask whether "fixing" you handwriting is worth the effort and opportunity cost.

+1

Judging people for poor handwriting is like judging someone for having poor calculator skills.
People still use them, but spreadsheets are infinitely more powerful.

Focus on improving your touch typing.

Dee

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2014, 06:20:01 PM »
I'm a leftie with adequate handwriting. A legible outcome that's a bit of a mix between cursive and printing. I don't dislike it. But I don't like writing and generally avoid it. Except when I'm in meetings or professional training that isn't fully engaging me. Then, when of my techniques for passing time is to practice writing with my right hand. I started doing so as I've gotten more into knitting and it's given me incentive to be more dexterous with my right hand. It is amazing how quickly progress has been discernible. Of course, it was atrocious when I first started. Now, while slow, tedious and ugly, my hand writing with my non-dominant hand is nonetheless legible.

My mom taught herself to write well as a young adult as part of her training in teacher's college.

It sounds from this thread as though most people, though not all, can do it through practice.

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2014, 08:12:47 AM »
Shouldn't lefties always have great handwriting and be amazing artists?

Flyingkea

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2014, 03:01:56 PM »
Shouldn't lefties always have great handwriting and be amazing artists?

Well... I do like doing artwork in my spare time. Does that count?
Interestingly, I used to teach Chinese students, and they all said when they found out I'm a lefty, that in their culture, we are kind, generous, caring type of people.

Dicey

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2014, 09:45:50 PM »
Shouldn't lefties always have great handwriting and be amazing artists?
In our minds, we are.

Fast lefty story: I joined a new company and at my first trade show nine of us went out to dinner. Everyone seemed to be jockeying for the corner seats. We finally figured out that five of us were left-handed! Oh, I loved that company...

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2014, 10:56:39 PM »
The unexpected outcome of a (Hand) drafting course was much neater hand printing all around.

Forming letters differently with guided instruction, and lot of slow practice.

I still don't handwrite in cursive, though!

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2014, 02:21:39 AM »
Shouldn't lefties always have great handwriting and be amazing artists?

One of the doctors I work with has the most amazingly neat handwriting (I know, right!). Everyone loves it when he admits a patient because his notes are clear, legible and comprehensive. I was watching him write some patient notes the other night and noticed he was left-handed. There goes another stereotype.

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2014, 06:36:53 AM »

I have nice handwriting, always cursive. I judge people off their handwriting - the messier, the dumber. Sorry, but I do.

There's a lot of disabilities that can prevent an otherwise intelligent person from writing neatly. Try:
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Written language disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Vision issues

You might try being a little less judgmental in this area. I took a calligraphy class. I tried writing in cursive. I tried daily practice of writing letters. Nothing worked.

Dysgraphia is another condition.  Very specifically, it affects the ability to learn to write neatly.  One common symptom is cramping or pain in the hand from writing, although you can have dysgraphia without pain.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2014, 06:40:39 AM »
I know, my friend got diagnosed with dysgraphia in high school. I still judge his handwriting though.

Timmmy

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2014, 08:39:50 AM »
I've also got bad handwriting but rather than try and fix it, I simply type everything.  Thus the only time it's an issue is when "white-boarding" in a conference room.  Speech-to-text apps will become more and more ubiquitous in the coming years so you have to ask whether "fixing" you handwriting is worth the effort and opportunity cost.

+1

Judging people for poor handwriting is like judging someone for having poor calculator skills.
People still use them, but spreadsheets are infinitely more powerful.

Focus on improving your touch typing.

My typing skills are outstanding.  I can (and regularly do) type while talking to and making eye contact with people that are in the room without error in my typing.   If people judged me for my typing skills I'd be happy. 

Thanks for all the input.  I've got some ideas to work some regular practice in to my day.  We'll see if it improves. 

lizzzi

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2014, 07:45:32 PM »
I just got back from visiting out-of-state relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday. My niece, a tenured economics professor at a Vermont college, mentioned that they are having huge problems with students who have trouble completing their college work because they can't write in cursive. Apparently the computer labs are over-booked, and if kids don't have their own computers to write papers on, they sometimes have to write page after page in hardcopy. It is exhausting to print out long papers with pen and paper. The ones who can use cursive have an easier time--less strain on the hands and fingers.

NeuroPlastic

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2014, 07:51:46 AM »
Take the moment to be attentive and relaxed each and every time you put pen to paper.  I was very dissatisfied with my handwriting, and tried to improve it with drilling the standard method I had been taught in school - this was a total fail and anxiety provoking. A few years later, I started again, but mindfully and without regard for the "rules."  What I write with now is a very legible script; not printing and not formal cursive, but easy to write and easy to read. And I have an opportunity for a moment's meditation when I pick up a pen.

Zette

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2014, 08:02:05 AM »
I know, my friend got diagnosed with dysgraphia in high school. I still judge his handwriting though.

Would you judge someone with a club foot for walking slowly?  You are being very unfair to your friend.

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2014, 02:38:49 PM »
I'd wager on my handwriting being among the worst of everyone here.

It's great though, it's like an automatic encryption on my notes - no one can read it but me.

I'm not sure why bad handwriting is a bad thing*?  :)


*Assuming, of course, your income doesn't depend on it.  And if it does, that's poor planning on your part.
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UnleashHell

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2014, 02:52:19 PM »
I spent hours writing as a kid to improve my handwriting. didn;t work. its awful.

hell my typing is bad - my writing hasn't got a chance!!  I can make some damn amazing spreadsheets though!!


Mind you I'm bad - my son and father could have a competition on who has handwrtting wose than I do  - thye are both terrible!

lizzzi

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2014, 05:28:21 PM »
I still think that slowing down and being mindful of what you're writing makes all the difference. I can write hurriedly and carelessly, and yes, my handwriting is terrible. If I am writing, let's say, a nice card to someone for an occasion that is important to them…maybe a sympathy card, or a birthday card for an important milestone year--I may even practice first on a piece of scratch paper. (To make sure the sentences will fit on the card, or whatever.) I cannot slant my writing to the right very well, so don't try that anymore--my handwriting is straight up and down. I am not good at graceful, looped capital letters, so I devised a set of printed capitals when I was still in school…sixth grade, I think. My capital E is particularly artist, IMHO.. I developed it from the way Elizabeth I of England wrote her capital E's. (You've all probably figured out that Lizzzi is an Elizabeth.) I can't write worth beans with a fountain pen or a gel pen…I like a traditional old ballpoint with ink, preferably fine-point, but medium if I have to. My advice FWIW to people who don't like their handwriting is to just develop a simple, almost printed style…connecting the printed lower case letters at the bottom to make it a look almost  like "real" (i.e. cursive) handwriting.

lizzzi

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Re: Handwriting?
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2014, 05:29:49 PM »
Meant to say "artistic" not "artist." Sorry.