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Are Texting, keyboards and touch screens to blame for terrible handwriting?




It’s generational, but those of us brought up with handwriting competitions at school and handwritten essays and the written examination are judgmental of a generation who apparently have terrible handwriting and can’t spell.

Do they need to? They can touch type – can you? Faced with a sheet of paper and a pen to write an essay they may struggle to be legible and make spelling mistakes – but how often do they do that, or will they need to that.

Isn’t it like complaining in the 8th century that scribes would be rubbish with a chisel putting their words in stone.

The goal is everything – clear communication. Doesn’t technology deliver this?


Head down and write !

Paper Work Pens

I was brought up on a fountain pen. Snobbery at my boarding prep school equated Biros, ITV, Radio 1, comics and guitars with a different class and one that they were not going to indulge. You develop your handwriting with an ink pen age 8-13 and there’s no going back. Writing with a Biro I find is like trying to scratch your name in ice with a ski-pole.

Hear I am, prefered time of working 3.00am to 5.00am, head down, collecting my thoughts, ploughing through reams of paper as if I was sitting a time examination.

I think it works, for me at least. The ‘Muse’ joins me after half an hour and the ideas flow. I then sleep on it. Further ideas and fixes bubble up and I add these before breakfast. If I don’t write it down, by the evening it is lost. If I add it to the many hundreds of pages of Google Docs and notes it is as likely to become buried in electronic fluff.

In the image above I’d been brought to a halt by an empty ink cartridge. These have become costly. £4.50 for a packet of five cartridges! I must go online and find a supplier.


We remember ugly fonts much more easily. Does this make them better for learning?


Handwriting (Photo credit: chrischapman)


New scientific research revealed (January 2011)  that students learn better when learning is made harder, specifically when using a font that is more challenging to read. Neuroscience blogger Jonah Lehrer discusses his own gut feeling that we remember ugly fonts much more easily.


Comically ugly fonts are the best.


So perhaps I should blog like this?



Try these:



And what about handwriting?



‘It’s a really interesting way to convey information’, says Jonah Lehrer, ‘as it can take a lot of work to decipher handwriting’.


How about these for examples if you’ve forgotten what handwriting looks like?



or this?



Let’s get back to handwriting.


Or find a way to handwrite here. With a stylus and tablet?


The handwritten note, letter, or journal entry tells you something about the writer’ mood, gender, age, level of education (or intoxication), even their occupation.


I’ve collected hand-written letters between 1969 and 1993 from family members and friends, including my grandfather whose 1918 RAF Log Book I feature above. If ever published, these artefacts will be best read in their original form rather than transcribed.




I don’t know what to call it – office isn’t right, it doesn’t have a phone for a start. I should call it my ‘garret,’ my attic room in central Lewes. It looks onto a courtyard of sorts, the backs of buildings tiled red and varying in age from the 17th through to the 19th century.

There was a 14th century house for sale in the local estate agents last week, next to ‘Anne of Cleves’ House, a property given to her by her fiancé Henry VIII; it’s that kind of place.

The Battle of Lewes in 1264 between Simon de Montefort and Henry IV resulted in the creation of a ‘parlement.’

Yes, yes. History for the tourists.

Meanwhile, having posted the address, here it is again:

No.4, 2 Station Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2RW

I have received a note from g1rly-g1rl

Send me a handwritten note and I’ll do the graphology thing with it.

You can address it to ‘Jonathan.’ This will be as close I ever get to being treated like royalty or a celebrity; I am known by my Christian Name alone! Like Charles, or Jude, or Kylie … 🙂

A few lines are best, a least a paragraph!

Don’t send anything rude, I’ve sent a contract promising not to ‘carry out any immoral activities.’ I didn’t ask if I could get away with writing obscene stories.

g1rly-g1rl ‘s handwriting looked familiar; it could have come from an old girlfriend. It has one those confident, bright, legible forms that shows a combination of maturity and intelligence. The large lower loops on the ‘y’s suggest a person who has ‘a great deal of feeling and lots of emotional needs’. I could make this up, actually it’s coming from ‘Lovestrokes: Handwriting analysis for love, sex and compatibility.’ Its 20 years old; it still contains several letters from my wife’s sister – spooky!

g1rly-g1rl is a down to earth secure person are you? Confident, yes, clear headed, yes …

You can get an instant sense of someone from their handwriting. My father, nutter, would pass letters to a graphologist before her appointed someone to a senior position in the company her ran (we’re talking profits of £15m, 76 companies around the world here). He’d dismiss applicants out of hand; he had a particular loathing for ‘bean counters’, you can spot their tight fisted, dry handwriting a mile off. He dismissed those whose writing was inconsistent, backward slanting, forward slanting or shifting around the page. He loathed the big egos too, anyone who did massive ‘I’s and took up half a page with their signature.

Handwriting can indicate a great deal

I miss that in all the diaries I’ve kept. No matter what I’m saying the confidence in my handwriting style is self-evident, as are times when I’m anxious or frustrated. My handwriting is just as garbled when I’m drunk as the splurges of letters I’ve been known to post here. When I’m in a great mood my handwriting shows it, not unlike g1rly-g1rl ‘s but with a determined, slight slant to the right (leans to the mother).

If I were to choose a partner online (I’m not), I’d want to see a recent picture of them, naturally, but I’d also like to receive a few handwritten letters so that I could get a sense of what they are like: loving, confident, well educated, creative are what I look for.

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