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Any advice on how to improve my penmanship / handwriting?


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26 replies to this topic

#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Bob Movies

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Posted December 16 2002 - 08:31 PM

My writing is not very neat. When I write anything out by hand, I print it. Can anyone recommend a book (or other method) to learn better penmanship? I'm not interested in calligraphy, I'm interested in normal, everyday handwriting.

Thanks!

Bob

#2 of 27 OFFLINE   DonnyD

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Posted December 16 2002 - 10:32 PM

"Drawing" letters of the alphabet is an artform and the technique is not an easy one to master. Go to a bookstore and find a book on calligraphy that includes the layouts that give you practice sheets for training your hand and eye to "form" the letters correctly.
Repetitive drawing of the letters is necessary. Even if you're not interested in calligraphy, the techniques are very necessary to meet you needs.
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#3 of 27 OFFLINE   Jagan Seshadri

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Posted December 17 2002 - 06:45 AM

Repetition is the key, as well as having some chosen font to emulate. I spent four months as a student working in an engineering office where I had to have very clean writing based on an "architect style" font. In my case, clean writing was perceived by others as job competence, so I worked at it. By the end of that summer my writing had improved noticeably.

Then I studied engineering - no time to write cleanly, no reward for writing cleanly. Classmates of mine had (and still have) handwriting like 2nd graders. Still, I never forgot how to write cleanly. It's hard to forget those kinds of things.

-JNS

#4 of 27 OFFLINE   John Miles

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Posted December 17 2002 - 07:09 AM

I actually enjoy being mistaken for a doctor, so I don't have any interest in improving my handwriting. I'm pretty sure I could write my own prescriptions. Posted Image

On a more serious note, wouldn't it be nifty if our schools could save the time they currently spend trying to force us to make elegant loopy scribbles just the right way, and spend it teaching us to think and write well instead? We Americans already have an unhealthy obsession with physical penmanship in our schools, in my opinion, and I'd like to see the class time put to better use.

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted December 17 2002 - 07:39 AM

This is probably where I get flamed, but I've got to say that in my experience, American handwriting is *awful* (I spend most of my time dealing with academics, so I assume I'm dealing with the better examples of penmanship!). I know that what is written is more important than how it looks, and with the wide availability of word processors, what does it matter, etc, but even so ...

#6 of 27 OFFLINE   jeff lam

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Posted December 17 2002 - 08:31 AM

I would guess practice is the best way. Use the same style alphabet you used in elementary school. Then write it over and over but don't rush because that is what tends to get sloppy.

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Ashley Seymour

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Posted December 17 2002 - 09:27 AM

On a more serious note, wouldn't it be nifty if our schools could save the time they currently spend trying to force us to make elegant loopy scribbles just the right way, and spend it teaching us to think and write well instead? We Americans already have an unhealthy obsession with physical penmanship in our schools, in my opinion, and I'd like to see the class time put to better use.

Right. In the future we will all be typing anyway so lets teach typing to 1st graders. In the meantime, teaching penmanship is still valuable.

Before setting down with script to emulate pick up a book on handwriting analysis. All the loops - or lack of - have psychological implications. There are even theories that you can change your personality by changing how you draw your letters. Where you cross you t in one indication of your goals. Very low down equates to low goals or a system that the writer feels comfortable reaching for and achieving. Over the top of the t is a sign someone is a dreamer and may be out of touch with what is reasonable. Then there is the whole relm of psychotic behaviors manifested in handwriting.
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#8 of 27 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted December 17 2002 - 11:31 AM

So, should I work on emulating the handwriting of great and accomplished serial killers? With the perceived lack of American penmanship skills, I'm sure I could have a fulfilling career as a ghost-writer for American serial killers! Posted Image
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#9 of 27 OFFLINE   Ashley Seymour

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Posted December 17 2002 - 02:18 PM

So, should I work on emulating the handwriting of great and accomplished serial killers?

Max? Is your goal to become a serial killer? If so, yes, emulate the appropriate traits. If no, then even writing the same may still have a negative effect.

How should someone write to be at risk of becoming a serial killer, or for that matter, an inmate in one of our criminal institutions? How about someone with a cruel streak, dangerously impulsive, unable to plan ahead, doesn't learn from mistakes, out of self control, on the verge of craking up, paranoid, suspicious, unable to get emotionally close to other people, dishonest, untrustworthy, sexual perversion?

Taken indivudially the above traits don't make a serial killer. But all together in a person would make make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
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#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Mike Voigt

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Posted December 17 2002 - 03:30 PM

Huh? Lots of time on handwriting skills? In the US? Where?

Where I went to school, we had a class on orthography every day (handwriting skills) for 6 years! I managed to miss the first 2 of them, and it was a struggle... never did learn to write really well. Never got any good grades in it, either. Some of my classmates, though - wow!

Mike

#11 of 27 OFFLINE   Steve Berger

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Posted December 17 2002 - 04:26 PM

If you want a less painful way to practice penmanship you might start a journal of your activities. It might be easier than just writing words for practice. Plus you end up with real interesting reading 10 or 20 years down the road.

#12 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted December 17 2002 - 07:15 PM

Quote:
Before setting down with script to emulate pick up a book on handwriting analysis. All the loops - or lack of - have psychological implications.


No they don't.

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   dave_brogli

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Posted December 18 2002 - 01:32 AM

You could get sent away somewhere. I went to a group home when I was 13-15. Wrote letters to my family and girlfriend (which is now my wife Posted Image )everyday.
My penmanship has always been very highly complemented. Although a little girlyPosted Image I guess practice and more practice makes pefrect.Posted Image

#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted December 18 2002 - 03:50 AM

Quote:
(I spend most of my time dealing with academics, so I assume I'm dealing with the better examples of penmanship!).

That assumption would be wrong. It seems to be a general rule that people of higher education have the worst penmanship (i.e. doctors, lawyers, professors have the worst).

Bob - If you want to learn better penmanship, why not get some lessons/workbooks meant for young children who are learning the same? If it's a skill you need to learn, why not start at the beginning?

My penmanship has always been very highly complemented. Although a little girly Posted Image
As long as you don't dot your I's with little hearts or turn your O's into smiley faces, I think you're OK! Posted Image
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#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Leila Dougan

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Posted December 18 2002 - 04:01 AM

Actually its been found that doctors don't have any worse handwriting than the general public. We only tend to focus on it because 1) we assume that the more educated a person is, the better the handwriting and 2) misread doctors' handwriting can have some very serious consequences.

#16 of 27 OFFLINE   Ashley Seymour

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Posted December 18 2002 - 04:11 AM

Andrew comments:

No they don't.

And you are of this opinion because?
Go Orange, Go Blue,
Fight Fight Fight BSU!

It's not whether you win or loose that counts, but whether you win.

#17 of 27 OFFLINE   Jonathan Burk

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Posted December 18 2002 - 06:20 AM

Ashley, not to poop on your parade or anything, but since you asked (and with a tip of the hat to Andrew):

http://skepdic.com/graphol.html


Here's an excerpt from the article:

Quote:
Graphology is claimed to be useful for everything from understanding health issues, morality and past experiences to hidden talents and mental problems.* However, "in properly controlled, blind studies, where the handwriting samples contain no content that could provide non-graphological information upon which to base a prediction (e.g., a piece copied from a magazine), graphologists do no better than chance at predicting... personality traits...." ["The Use of Graphology as a Tool for Employee Hiring and Evaluation," from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association] And even non-experts are able to correctly identify the gender of a writer about 70% of the time (Furnham, 204).



#18 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted December 18 2002 - 07:01 AM

Quote:
And you are of this opinion because?


Jonathan has already made the key point. The simple fact is that analysis of handwriting to determine personality does not have a particularly good record in *controlled* experiments ('proof' of its efficacy is often derived from badly-run studies).

[Please note that none of this is intended as a criticism of handwriting analysts who work on determining forgeries and similar stuff in forensic science].

#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Jonathan Burk

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Posted December 18 2002 - 07:35 AM

Quote:
Please note that none of this is intended as a criticism of handwriting analysts who work on determining forgeries and similar stuff in forensic science

A year ago, I sat on a jury in a personal injury case. The case involved a patient visiting a doctor's office 20+ times over 4 months. The defense brought in a handwriting expert who showed us the sign-in forms from the doctor's office, and it was her opinion that the signatures weren't from many different visits over many months, but were signed 5 at a time, and it wasn't the same person doing all the signatures. Fascinating stuff.

And to answer the original post, I would suggest trying to slow down when you write, and think about what you're writing. Since you already have the "habit" of writing sloppy, you'll have to unlearn what you have learned.

#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted December 18 2002 - 10:30 AM

Sometimes my brain races so fast, my hand can't keep up and the pen starts to wander all over the place.

I was joking about being a serial killer. Although, I am fascinated by how many women fall for these men and attempt to have sex or obtain sperm from them even while they are on death row. Presumably the killers write letters to these women, so it is reasonable to assume they have somewhat legible handwriting.

Do serial killers have above-average penmanship when compared to the general public? Maybe I can get a degree in the humanities using this... Posted Image
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....


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