On penmanship


"Through the (almost) 5 years since I’ve left college, I’ve been keenly
aware of the declining quality of my penmanship.  Like so many others, 99% of
the written word I generate is recorded via a keyboard and computer instead of
via pen and ink.  About two years ago, I decided that, in order to reverse the
declining quality of my handwriting, I needed to be very intentional about
regularly picking up a pen and writing.  Around the same time I came to this
realization, I was gifted my first fountain pen by Mr. Anderson.  Shortly after
receiveing the pen (and ordering some inks from Levenger), I picked up my first
Moleskine and started writing regularly.  Since that time, I’ve tried (with
varying success) to sit down at least once weekly to write a few pages. 
Honestly, I can’t say that my penmanship has improved a whole lot, but that’s
okay.  I’ve really come to enjoy the ritual that comes along with “real”
writing.  Like the ritual of filling, tamping, lighting, and enjoying a nice
pipe with a friend, I take joy in the process of selecting ink, drawing it up
into the pen and putting the ink to paper in a meaningful way…"



7 thoughts on “On penmanship

  1. Ditto on my penmanship. I’d actually manufactured new “fonts” and trained myself to use them when writing. (It’s kind of amusing to see the stark changes in my writing, they don’t look like they’re from the same person.) But the most significant method I’ve seen to improve my penmanship is to simply slow… down… when writing. Be more deliberate. We think faster than we write. I’m so used to the enhanced speed of typing that I automatically attempt to apply that speed to writing as well… which is a disaster. I have to constantly remind myself to simply reduce the pace.

  2. What styles do people prefer? Lately I’ve used a Chancery style italics found in the Operina:


    Although I love the look of good copperplate.

    How do other people write?

    By the way, I love the tip about slowing down. I know when I’m working on something direct and specific, I become a much better writer.



  3. i too spent some time a few years ago noticing that my penmanship was not only becoming a messy blur, but also that the consistancy of it was lost. part of my solution was also a part of my urge to maintain the written and not typed word.

    a friend who lived on the other coast and i decided that barring the need for an immediate response, we would exchange written letters rather than email. it is great to see her handwriting on an envelope… it makes me soften, slow down and take time for myself. i find myself saving her letter until after i have put away groceries or taken care of whatever other activities i need to do. i want to be able to sit down, get comfortable and read her letter without distraction.

    she, however, has very meticulous and consistant handwriting.

  4. My handwriting has decayed since grad school and law school… Part of it is e-mail and keyboards, part may be that I suspect too much keyboard time has cramped my right arm. But fountain pens (yes– Levenger and Fahrney’s inks are delightful…though J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune is my favourite) are a kind of antidote. They keep me in practice for doing “fonts” that can still be read.

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