Why Handwriting Matters

Variation on my handwriting
Variation on my handwriting

This week I watched a well-dressed, articulate co-worker scratch out some notes in her on-trend, black Moleskine with a G2. For all intents and purposes, her set-up rivals any of the pen and paper bloggers out there though she is not a pen geek. When I looked at the writing, I was shocked at how awkward and unrefined her writing was. I didn’t expect her to have text book-perfect handwriting but she is fashionable, intelligent lady  and I had always assumed her penmanship would matched her outward appearance. Instead, her writing made me wonder if she was a serial killer.

My handwriting is not as neat as it could be and seeing her writing makes me think I should continue to focus on improving my writing. In this day and age where emails and text messages are the most common means of communication, handwriting can still color your perception. Or worse, could color someone else’s perception about you. I don’t think its a good career move to have handwriting that makes you look dangerous or unbalanced. Unless that’s the look you are going for.

There are some excellent books to help adults improve their writing.  Check out my previous post on handwriting recommendations.

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  1. I was once selected as a candidate for a job because I filled out my application in purple ink and had the “nicest handwriting of all the applicants”. You see, this job entailed “logging” every piece of fine jewelry received each day. (Yes, by hand- telling my age.) I never thought my nice handwriting would get me a job, but since then, I’ve always tried to keep it neat, even when in a hurry… You never know what impression it may make. 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you! I have worked hard to make my handwriting lovely and I LOVE to see beautiful penmanship! Although some may feel that it is “normal” for men to have sloppy writing, I know men who write with strong, well-formed, legible letters and that really gives them extra points in my book. Thank you for another great post!

  3. This is very true. I took the GRE a few days ago, and one of their requirements was to write out a confidentiality statement in cursive. I’ll admit I practiced just to make sure I could still do it! After that I promised myself I’d start writing letters in cursive and otherwise practicing my handwriting so I’d get better. My “everyday” writing is fine, I think, but I’d like to be able to mix it up a little bit 🙂

    Practicing handwriting takes patience, and that’s something many of us could use more of these days.

  4. My epiphany came when I realized I was giving notes to patrons that not even I could decipher. I’m a librarian, that won’t do! I picked up Fred Eager’s book The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting and what a difference. Patrons began to complement me on my handwriting, which was good feedback to keep it up. It is really amazing how many people appreciate lovely handwriting.

  5. Now I’m really curious what your colleague’s serial killer handwriting looks like!

    As for my own handwriting most people seem to think “Grandma” when they see it. Maybe the abundance of more-or-less parallel downstrokes and transitions which grow spiky-ish when I’m in a hurry remind them of Kurrent which is the style of handwriting that was taught in my Grandma’s day. Here’s what Kurrent looks like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurrent

  6. …and I will second your list of recommended books! Also look at the several titles that the late Scotsman Tom Gourdie (1913-2005) published in his long career. Gourdie’s ‘Simple Modern Hand’ was an adaptation of italic that could be done w pencils or felt tips (or monoweight fountain pens) as well as italic pens. Several of his books are available used on Amazon…but at grossly inflated prices. 🙁

  7. I think my handwriting is fairly legible but I found it’s all affected by speed. If I slow down for my daily journaling I can step back when I’m done and be proud of my script. In a meeting taking a ton of notes. Readable but NOT pretty.

  8. But there’s one good thing in bad handwriting – you can deсipher other scribblers’ scribbles %) There was one professor at the Univ., who made me work for him just because of that.

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