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  Of course it has continually changed and now more and more our pens have been superseded by keys.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

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