I remember being a child in school and being told it was of the utmost importance to have a good writing hand; good penmanship they called it. We were taught to form our letters properly and to write in a straight line. Our writing had to be legible or it was “not acceptable” our teachers would say. I also remember secondary school where we had to write in black or blue ink and again, our writing had to be legible. There were no Microsoft Word written assignments at first so good handwriting was vital if the teacher was to understand what was being submitted.
Aside from the quality of our handwriting, the way we actually formed our sentences was also important, very important. There was no way we could get away with writing slang unless it was a quote and absolutely no incomplete sentences. Lack of proper punctuation was like a crime in those days. It’s so funny that today many of us have forgotten how to hold a pen for five minutes without catching a cramp, or write for ten minutes a day without developing carpel tunnel syndrome.
Is it a bad thing that we don’t seem to care about how our writing hand looks anymore? Today we depend on reference sites and the computer’s spell and grammar checkers to tell us if we have made a mistake. Is that better than having an Oxford dictionary strapped to your waist?
There is no doubt that things are not the way they used to be in the world of writing, the question is, are we better off or worse? Maybe it’s just how we write… You decide.