Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Have Terrible Handwriting...and I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore!

   I'm working to change my handwriting. It's no easy task, but I've done harder things, I suppose.
  I used to have excuses for having illegible handwriting. Some of them were valid, and some of them weren't. Examples of both are:
  • I'm left-handed. (This excuse is hogwash. Lefties can have good handwriting).
  • I had hand tremors (Not hogwash, but it can be worked around.)
  • I'm set in my ways. (True, but I can change the "set).
  The big question, once I decided to work to improve my handwriting is in the how. How do I change my handwriting?
  I did what I do when I want to learn more about something. I started searching the internet for advice about how to improve handwriting. There's a lot of good advice out there. I was following some of it by instinct. Using a fountain pen is suggested because it's not as "slippery" (my word) as a ballpoint pen. Fountain pens are easier to control on the page. And, as I've pointed out often, they're cool. Old school cool.
   There are a lot of sites that offer worksheets to learn cursive, but not many to improve cursive in adults. After a while I figured out there really isn't much difference. The only difference is the difference between training and RE-training.
   Re-training is more challenging than training. Unlike third grade, when my hands had no idea how to shape cursive letters, my hands have been shaping cursive letters for decades now. That they've been getting progressively worse at the job doesn't bother my hands at all. In fact, my hands like--I mean really like--making sloppy k's, and b's, and m's that look like they might have twelve humps.
   No one thing made me decide to improve my penmanship. Lots of little things led to this decision of mine to re-train my left hand to make letters on paper that other people can read. Oh...who am I foolin'? I want to make letters I can read!
   I've been practicing. The letters I make on the page still look like my handwriting, but by slowing down, deliberately forming each letter of each sentence, and moving my hand as I write instead of pushing the pen farther and farther out with my fingers has made improvement come quickly. I'm not sure if my wife has been reading the stack of meaningless "free writing" that comes when I'm practicing making words on the page. It's kind of stream of consciousness-like, and thankfully benign. There's no "secret Dave" coming up with manifestos of world dominion dreams. I know! Whew! Right?
...Well, there was one rant against Meet the Press...but that's better than the alternative of me mooning the TV. We won't count that one.
   I'm glad I type 120 words a minute. Keyboards are my thing, and I never minded when I had to type papers instead of writing them longhand. The time has come, however, when I want to have handwriting people can read. I'm going to improve my handwriting. I'll know it's done when I can write without thinking about each letter as I make it and I'm still able to read it the next day.

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