Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

Penmanship is falling by the wayside. I was appalled to read news that schools don't consider cursive writing as important as skill as being able to use a keyboard.

The decline of cursive is happening as students are doing more and more work on computers, including writing. In 2011, the writing test of the National Assessment of Educational Progress will require 8th and 11th graders to compose on computers, with 4th graders following in 2019.

I think that's a step in the wrong direction. Although we need keyboard skills these days, there will always be times you need to be able to write neatly and properly. Filling in a job application form you've been sent, composing a handwritten letter when you're far from a computer, a thank you note: the list goes on.

As for creativity, I would pick up a pen before I'd sit down at the keyboard. Nine times out of ten I begin with handwritten drafts. I'm curious how many of you do the same thing. I hate to think that the elegance of cursive writing will disappear over the next generation or two.

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I;'m right there with you Sean... Othen then keeping a notebook around for notes - I am far better just sitting and typing it all up!

Sean Noonan said:

Seems like I am in the distinct minority as far as keyboards goes...


Ah well I always did like to be different. Plus my liking is practical for me as I can actual read what I write on the keyboard. I do like pens though and have a special one, just for signing books! Always blue and a floating ink ball for that smooth action.

Scribbler, I work at a school. And I see a lot of paper written in cursive. I hear the kids saying they don't like computers. So I think the next generation will be fine. At least I hope so. I write where ever. Sometimes driving. It depends where I am. Although, I revise on the computer. I have devised a system in word for me, such as words and their meanings, publisher and agents, rejections, and so on. So for me, I like to use my computer, but if I'm not home a pen works too...

I don't believe it's the teachers, it's the curriculum.

Stacy Eaton said:

Scribbler - this is a great topic. Amazing to thing about the fact that teachers don't care about handwriting. I remember being in high school having to hand write reports that were a 1000 words.  We weren't even allow to type them - they had to be handwritten and if the teacher couldn't read it - you got an F.  


I carry a notebook with me - and at times will sit and write notes, but I am one of those that feels much more comfortable writing by pushing down with my fingers.  I keep my notes typed - and I think that is mostly because I can keep them organized and also because I can't read my own handwriting these days.  That of course would be because I don't write anymore. Sad... but true.

I always been drawn to the paper and pen. Especially colorful paper and pens :) Haha, i usually write out a plot, or just the main points of a story i want to write. I prefer typing better, because i don't have to scribble out everytime I mess up, I can simply press the backspace button. The only thing i really know how to write in curisive is my name, really. The last i heard about cursive was in the fourth grade. I do wish to learn again, i see some people with such pretty handwriting! But I no longer have the goal of becoming a published writer anymore, so it doesnt really make a difference to me anymore! Haa

I feel your sentiments.  While I do compose most of my works on the computer, there are many times that I am without a computer and have to jot down things that cannot wait.  Whether it be a beverage napkin or a sticky note, it always seems that there isn't enough paper to write on.  As much as I love to write hand to pulp, the white upon which I write on a computer is limitless and my index finger and thumb do not seem to ache as much as they struggle to convey my ranting musings, full winded and relentless.

Ok, enough crap.  Seriously, computers are taking over.  I generally only get to write in cursive when I write a check, which makes paying bills a little less painful, because I am dipping into a long lost art of penmanship that many kids today will never even learn.  It's really sad. 

All I will say, is taking from our Asian neighbors...there is the art of calligraphy.  That is what our cursive script will become, not a necessity, but an art form.  So it will not leave us all together.  Now the question is, how antiquated do you feel to know what you used as communication for the better part of your life would be now be considered as fine art?


C.E. - That is pretty scary to think about!  Fine art....  I'm only in my early 40's and that makes me feel very old.
When I write the first draft I use a mechanical pencil to capture my thoughts onto paper.  I'm not fast enough on the keyboard.  The creative process flows better through my arm down to my hand and into the pencil.  The mechanical pencil provides a non-stop method with no interruption of sharpening a pencil.  A former member of my writers group found it very difficult to write more than a page via the keyboard because he was getting hung up by the squiggles under the words from grammar and spell check.  Turning off the feature wasn't considered because he wanted to make the first draft near perfect, which is an almost impossible feat that won't last a week.

I almost always start with pen although some ideas hit me so fast (and that's how I feel it is) that I can only put them down on keyboard first. It really depends on whether I need to flesh out the idea, or if the idea is already fleshed out in my mind. If the latter is the case, then I'll need to type, just to get it down before I forget it. If its the former, than I prefer handwriting, as it allows me the satisfaction of an actual feeling as though I'm building and molding something. Very rewarding.

It is so true about the schools. My 4th grader was taught how to write her name and each letter of the alphabet in cursive then they moved on. I asked her why they were not writing any papers in cursive and she told me that the teachers will not be spending much time on it because of the use of computers. My daughter is in 5th grade now and even her spelling tests are printed instead of cursive! How will these kids even fill out a check from the bank?! I personally have a billion notebooks of every size with my writings and find it much more satisfying to write, in cursive, as opposed to relying on a computer that can crash at any time! Our future children will not have any treasured letters from loved ones. Who saves a love letter on hard drive?!

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