I mostly hand write these blog posts initially. I think there was a time when my handwriting was neat, perhaps in school, but not now. From a distance it looks OK; fairly small, consistent in size and mostly in straight lines on plain paper. But up close it’s messy. It’s not properly joined up, although some letters flow into each other a bit. The main problem is letter definition. This deteriorates the faster I try and go. If I try really hard to slow down and pay attention, I can usually get the letters to come out OK. There is some pleasure to be gained in slowing right down and really making an effort, but it’s also very frustrating. Usually I have got a whole load of ideas I’m trying to get down on paper as quickly as possible, and going slowly doesn’t feel right.
There are several letters I have issues with:
- n u v h r: If I don’t write these carefully they end up all looking the same, so ‘live’ can look very similar to ‘line’, for example.
- h k: These can also end up looking similar if I don’t define the k properly.
- l e: I do a loopy l, so l and e go similar if I make the l too short or the e too long.
- w m: I often don’t put enough definition into w and m, so sometimes they end up looking like a wide u or n.
- I don’t like R. I find it hard to do for some reason. I sometimes do a curly k, which ends up looking similar.
When I write, it just doesn’t feel like my pen is flowing across the page smoothly. It’s a struggle. It’s hard work. It feels stilted and jerky. Sometimes it hurts my wrist, either when going extra slowly or really fast. If I try and join up my writing by deliberately not lifting the pen from the paper it becomes an unintelligible mess. I don’t understand how people do this!
Sometimes I can’t read my own writing. I have written quick notes to myself that I have been completely unable to decipher later on.
I still prefer hand-writing to typing for first drafts, because I can do it anywhere, and the linear nature of writing on paper means I’m not tempted to try and edit as I go along. Typing at a computer the temptation is always there to edit sentences and rearrange as I go.
The image below is the first page of my original handwritten draft of this post so you can see for yourself. Happily, I have been able to read everything I wrote while typing up this post!