Fr. Z’s 2013 New Year’s Resolutions – ADDENDUM

I posted my 2013 resolutions HERE.  People especially liked #3.

I am going to add another resolution.

I will write something – by hand – every day.

By hand, that is, on paper with an actual pencil or pen!

My handwriting is getting sooooo bad.  I am quite simply disgusted with myself.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Andrew says:

    Slowing down a lot helps with my handwriting. It requires a change of attitude since it takes much longer than typing.

  2. disco says:

    Terrible handwriting is a time-honored masculine tradition, Father.

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    My crackpot theory on this subject is that if you go without writing by hand for a long time, you may find yourself unable to recognize your own handwriting when you resume. If you go too long, you might have a moment of panic in which you cannot recall for certain how a particular letter, such as a lower-case “j”, is supposed to look.

    I recall getting a certificate in grade school for completing handwriting. The method was invented by a Mr. Rinehart. I got into a bit of trouble by pointing out that it appeared that Mr. Rinehart had signed the certificate using the earlier, competing Palmer method. I suspect I am not the only one who noticed.

  4. Simon_GNR says:

    My handwriting’s pretty terrible these days – I had difficulty writing out Chrsitmas cards and gift tags neatly. I supose it’s like any learned skill – use it or lose it!

  5. Baron Korf says:

    Will this be in print or script?

  6. wmeyer says:

    My handwriting was never good. I suspect I may have been a natural lefty, but too obedient to teachers to fight it. At any event, as one teacher noted, I always drew my script, I didn’t write. I take that as an observation that the integration of processes never became an automatic behavior. Whatever the reason, my writing has always been ugly. In college, I printed, even though it was slower, because at least I could read it.

  7. Animadversor says:

    A good fountain pen will help. That said, it will be a bit of a chore at first, so it is good if there is some aspect of the task that will give you pleasure, since you will then be less apt to shirk it. Make sure you enjoy looking at the pen and holding it, that the color of the ink on the paper is pleasing to your eye. It would also be good if the product of your practice in some way pleased. Perhaps copying out the day’s entry in the Martyrology, or copying beloved recipes to give to friends? I also found that when I was studying Greek with dear Father Placid, qui requiescat in pace Domini, something about writing a lot of Greek (with a pencil!), seemed to improve my English hand as well.

  8. george says:

    I got a couple $30 fountain pens and it really improved my handwriting! I like my Lamy pens and Noodler’s ink…

  9. fvhale says:

    Bravo! I try to write by hand daily in English, Latin, Italian (all with mostly the same alphabet), Greek (different alphabet) and Hebrew (yet another alphabet and right to left), usually a bit of Psalms, other Scripture or patristic writing, or a liturgical text. Used to practice Chinese, too (whole different approach to writing, top to bottom), but one only has so much time in each day.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    Tell me about it. I do so much typing, I can barely sign my own name!

  11. Charivari Rob says:

    “I will write something – by hand “

    Ah c’mon, Father – there’s gotta be an app for that!

  12. Everyone’s a comedian.

  13. Liz says:

    Good idea. I think I’ll turn this silly computer off and then I will have time to write a letter!

  14. NoraLee9 says:

    I respect the practice of script. Many schools are thinking of, or have already, removed script from the curriculum.

    My own 15-year-old doesn’t write script very well….

    Good for you, Father.

  15. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    My handwriting is hopeless. Even I cannot sometimes not read it. When that happens, I ask my wife. She can usually decipher it.

  16. Keeping some level of writing ability is why I still take notes for college by hand, rather than using a laptop. I’ve actually discovered that cursive script is even faster for notetaking than print. Having a sister who’s a nun, and who I can only communicate with by letter, is also good for keeping my handwriting in shape.

  17. lh says:

    I write daily, print for note taking because I am too slow with script.. I still have trouble reading my handwriting.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Wow, the same thing has happened to me, although I learned good old Palmer method from the nuns long before you were born, Father Z. I do calligraphy as well and need to get back to it.

    Yes, we must practice our penmanship. Good luck, and buy a Mont Blanc. I wish I had one. Shipping is free over 250 pounds…, but maybe one of your fans can get you one, or two.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Everyone’s a comedian.”

    But not everyone is a chicken. It gives new meaning to hunting and pecking at the keyboard. You humans want to try it? I guarantee it will improve your urge to handwrite.

    You know, Einstein had the habit of throwing away every bit of printed mail he received without reading it. He, once, threw away an invitation to, I think, an awards ceremony and had to explain to the host why he ever read the PRINTED invitation.

    The Chicken

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should be,

    “Never read…”

    My achin’ beak.
    the Chicken

  21. AnAmericanMother says:

    My dear maternal grandmother (a rock-ribbed Scotch Presbyterian of the Auld Licht variety) did her best to impart her beautiful copper-plate hand to me. She showed me how to trace “birds nests” and how to form the letters. One of the many things I wish I had paid attention to at the time (my maternal grandfather tried to encourage me to take up golf . . . lost opportunities!)
    College and law school and the necessity for rapid note-taking completed my ruin.
    If I am writing a personal letter, I have to write it out in my normal messy style (half cursive and half printing) and then copy it over imitating my grandmother’s style. And people say it’s a lovely hand . . . but they never saw my grandmother’s letters. She wrote beautifully as naturally as breathing.

  22. joeclark77 says:

    Fr Z, I made (almost) the same resolution. I started a paper journal/diary and have resolved to delete my Facebook account as soon as I get around to writing down all of my friends’ addresses, phone numbers, etc, from that site. I have been trying to re-learn cursive writing for a few years now, and maybe this is the year that I’ll get it.

    Part of the motivation was the realization that while I am (on the one hand) sharing way too much information about me and my family way too publicly, (on the other hand) none of it is in any kind of permanent form that my descendants will be able to find and read. With all of this ephemeral digital stuff we use, we’re actually creating a black hole in history. We’re not leaving any paper trail. (By the way, I hope you’re printing out and archiving your blog posts somewhere.)

  23. VexillaRegis says:

    My husband is a fountain pen collector and writes his diary every day by hand. (He also has a MCSE diploma BTW ;-) ) He says, that Montblanc is not the best choise, if you want a pen wich always works and doesn’t feel numb. If you live in America, you should aquire a Shaeffer – much better value for money. Hubby owns about fourty Shaeffers, some as old as 110 years, and they are all excellent to write with. He has sold off all his Montblancs, after having renovated them, because he doesn’t like writing with them.
    Montblancs tend to need lot more maintenance and to be more fuzzy, when it comes to ink and paper. If you write on low quality paper, for instance a newspaper, the fibers get stuck in the nib and the pen will need a full service.

    Don’t cross the creek for water!

    Speaking of wonderful American pens, I still use my granny’s green jadeite Wahl-Eversharp Personal Point with Military Cap from c 1920. The nib is flexible which makes my hand writing look amazing (otherwise it’s rather chaotic…)

    @Joeclarke77: I also refuse FB!

  24. VexillaRegis says:

    Oh, and sorry for the typos, it’s getting late here. Have a nice party while the night crew sleeps!

  25. Marg says:

    You won’t have to worry, if you get your doctorate. All “doctors” have terrible handwritting.

  26. Charles E Flynn says:

    Fountain pens are an entire subculture. I have enjoyed the reviews at this blog, because the author photographs in good closeups the performance of the pen:

    The author also discovered a suitable substitute for the refill for the Lamy Safari ballpoint.

  27. q7swallows says:

    Oh, Father, you’ll have plenty of time to improve your penmanship when camp life comes to call. I am in the same boat of nice handwriting gone soft but–as someone whose brain works slower than the fingers–I have to confess that I very much appreciate the self-editing features of the computer.

  28. I love handwriting, especially in Russian and Greek.

  29. Rachel K says:

    I have to say for handwriting I prefer a decent propelling pencil; easy to control, you can erase mistake and it feels nice. My handwriting is poor ; it leans in all directions and when I am fatigued it is scratchy and uneven. It has never been good despite great efforts. I think I may be a bit dyspraxia as writing makes my hand hurt.
    A good quality ballpoint pen is nice too. Don’t get along with fountain pens, even the best ones are hard to control and feel gritty on the paper.
    I really like the suggestion of writing in different alphabets! That would be a great activity for us homeschooling…..”now children, it’s time for Aramaic script…”!

  30. St. Epaphras says:

    Pelikan for fountain pens. It doesn’t dry up on you, has a greater ink capacity than many pens, and writes smoothly all the time. I also like my Sheaffer Balance. It is black, traditional, feels comfortable in my hand and is very, very smooth-writing.

    For handwriting: Book G: Basic/Cursive Italic by Barbara Getty. There are others in the Italic Handwriting Series, but this one is good for adults. Ours are from a while back, so the books may have changed. This is not calligraphy! It is a simple and elegant handwriting using italic script. You don’t need an edged pen. If you can print, you can learn to write legibly with this handwriting. It just takes practice.

  31. Arkanabar says:

    Slowing down DOES help. Grab yourself flat-tipped dip pens such as the Speedball C-series, bottled ink, and the Speedball Lettering Guide.

    Barring the dip pens, which WILL slow you down (and have the potential for a lot of mess), go for a good fountain pen, such as the Pelikans sold by Richard Binder at richardspens dot com. When fountain pens were reviewed in Consumer Reports, they found that a lot of them had maladjusted points. That’s why I recommend Richard Binder — he provides only pens he has adjusted to write right, and the Pelikan M205 is the best value on his site. He will additionally sell you a calligraphy nib for your pen, if you like. I can also recommend the community at the Fountain Pen Network.

    As for pencils, I like a 0.7mm Pentel twist-erase. For a ballpoint, there’s hardly any better than a Parker, unless perhaps one of the Sensas, which use the Fisher Space Pen cartridge. I prefer the Parker cartridge to all others.

  32. cyejbv says:

    Pens shmens, the important thing here is to do your writing in CURSIVE!

  33. Weetabix says:

    +1 on the fountain pens and ink you like.

    I have an Ohto F-Lapua that I enjoy. I’ve heard good things about the Lamy’s as well.

    Here’s where I got mine:

    I also got a converter so I can fill up with any ink I like.

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