Handwriting practice. I remember it well. Having been in primary school in the 70s we were taught ‘joined up’ or cursive writing. I remember the hooks, loops and lines, descenders and flow. We started with thick chiselled pencils, tracing paper held in place with paperclips over the tattered well-used school books. A line of c’s. A line of a’s. A line of ca’s. 

Over and over. Practice makes perfect. Beautiful flowing script. 

Then one day we were given ink pens. And my handwriting came undone. Blot by smudge.

For I am a leftie. Left-handed. ‘Cack-handed’. 

I remember having a permanent midnight blue tinge to the outside edge of my little finger where it relentlessly followed my pen across the still wet words. 

At school I have saw left-handed classmates write almost upside down, their wrists contorted into hooks to avoid the ink. When in secondary school and made to write pages and pages of geography notes from an overhead projector I started turning my exercise book 90 degrees. We were using biros by then but the smudging problem remained.

One year, around the age of 10, I had some masochistic urge to learn calligraphy – I know! I even had a left-handed nib on my pen but the books were soon disappointingly discarded.

Ink splodges aside though my handwriting may not be fully cursive (similar to most adults according to the National Handwriting Association) but it is still mostly ‘joined up’ and legible, having evolved to write with the pen higher than the rest of my hand. My writing is neat when I want it to be and fast flowing when required. 

In my work, typing up others’ notes, I have seen and transcribed all sorts of handwriting from beautiful Victorian script to words that start with a letter only to become nothing more than a wavy line leaving me scratching my head. 

The written word has been around for a very long time. Over 5,000 years in fact.  Of course it has continually changed and now more and more our pens have been superseded by keys. Even the greetings cards, only a few years ago we always wrote by hand, are now easily ordered online and arrive in print form. Yet who doesn’t love to see a handwritten envelope on the door mat? 

I most certainly do!


National Handwriting Day for 2021 is 23 January. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Here’s a Fun little quiz to see what your handwriting says about you.

  • A look at some basic graphology to compare your handwriting personality – The Independent

  • Write someone a letter, a poem or just a few lines in a nice card

  • Sign up to a postcard group

  • Find a nice notebook and start a diary or journal

  • Try your hand at some calligraphy – there are lots of tutorials on YouTube

Take A Letter Relaunch

Take A Letter Relaunch

Out with the old…definitely!

Most of us will all be happy to see the back of 2020 and usher in 2021 with hesitant hope. I’ve been lucky business wise that I have continued to have work throughout the year. It was a little quieter but generally not bad. I know it has not been the same for other businesses, small or otherwise. For a lot of people there has been more time to dwell, reflect and consider what is important. For me I decided it was time for a Take A Letter Relaunch.

Sometime over the past few months, and not before time considering I have been a virtual assistant for a few years now, I finally decided on my niche. When I considered starting up Take A Letter I researched it thoroughly. Over and over I kept reading how it was vital to specialise but, as someone with nearly 30 years’ experience in administration, I found it difficult to pin myself down. Wouldn’t I be limiting my earning potential if I didn’t offer social media or diary management? Wouldn’t it be better to offer a little of everything in the hope of catching at least one client-shaped fish? And so I did. 

However, over this past year one of my clients needed regular typing work and then another came along. Of course most people can use a keyboard but typing pages and pages is tiring on one or two fingers and I realised that an area of expertise I had, but thought was perhaps a little old-fashioned (I learnt to type with the keys and my hands covered), was still very much needed. 

When I learned to type we were also taught how to lay out letters correctly, open and closed punctuation, the difference between yours faithfully and yours sincerely. This was also how I chose my business name. When I re-trained after a break I learned how to ‘word process’ – how to format, layout bullets, headings, insert tables. There is a huge difference between this and ‘keyboard skills’. 

Over the years I have typed all kinds of documents; building tenders, legal contracts, correspondence, research papers, publications, medico-legal reports and more. Why would I not offer this is my main service? It was where I started, I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve typed on a manual typewriter, electronic typewriter, word processor, PC and now laptop. I’m good at it and, just as important, I enjoy it. Every piece of work is different, I may be typing a subject I am familiar with or I may be learning something new along the way. 

And there it was – my ‘Duh’ moment! 

And in with the new…

I have spent the last few weeks planning, writing and developing my new typing and document admin services. My logo and colour scheme have been freshened up and the website updated. There was only one question left to ask myself really – why on earth had it taken me so long to figure this out?