In The Age of Keyboards, Don't Neglect Your Penmanship

Remember all those drills you did in elementary school to shore up your handwriting? It may be time to dust off some of those skills.

Remember all those drills you did in elementary school to shore up your handwriting? Looking back now, you may wonder if things would have been different had educators possessed the prescience to see how little we write by hand today. At the same time, our reliance on keyboards and touchscreens have severely stunted our penmanship.


It's important to remember that society and culture are constructed upon language. While digital currently trumps physical, the value of good penmanship still remains high. If you've allowed your handwriting to suffer (or you're my primary physician), here are some tips to improve your longhand courtesy of Chris Kornelis of The Wall Street Journal

1. Choose your weapon: The pen is mightier than the sword. Just as you wouldn't see Aragorn running into battle armed with chopsticks, you don't want to practice your penmanship with an inferior instrument. Kornelis lists quite a few fancy pens in his article but I'll spare you the details and simply relay that the best tool for your purpose is a fountain pen. Unlike the streaming rollerball or obstinate ballpoint, a fountain pen promotes relaxed writing and superior legibility. Alternatively, a good pencil will also do the trick. Check out Kornelis' piece if you're interested in purchasing a pencil more expensive than your last car payment.

2. Establish a regimen: Kornelis recommends this site for downloadable worksheets just like the ones you used in Miss Mulberry's 2nd grade classroom. Remember: when practicing, repetition is key. You're looking to boost muscle memory and train your motor reflexes.

3. Put it into action: Compose a handwritten note. Draft a letter. Buy some stamps and send them through the post. Go crazy, folks. Just do your best to incorporate what you practice into everyday life. Handwriting and penmanship may seem like dying arts, but it's important to keep your skills sharp.

Let us know what you think about penmanship. Can you imagine decades from now a generation unable to write? If digital keeps spreading, will people inevitably abandon things like cursive?

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Photo credit: Vima / Shutterstock

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