Day 23,708: Working on My Pencilmanship.

As children, we couldn’t wait to be promoted to pens. We studied penmanship through the earliest grades with large pencils in order to qualify for getting a pen and writing in script. At some point I was told I had pretty penmanship.

Somewhere along the line that all changed. I needed to write notes fast, and get ideas down on paper while talking half the time I was writing. My script turned to scrawls and, at times, I couldn’t even read what I wrote.

Then the computer age struck and I became a fast typist. Neither pencils nor pens were required if you could type your notes on a laptop. Never mind that the clickety keys annoyed others around me, or made me sound distracted rather than attentive on phone calls, I could keep fast notes! Except I couldn’t.  My typing accuracy plunged and sometimes I couldn’t read what I had even typed!

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A few years back, I went back to pencils. They have two advantages. The most obvious one is the ability to erase. When you write quickly and with little thought, you make multiple mistakes including spelling and just odd word combinations. And, if you realize you can’t read your own writing, even in pencil, you can quickly erase and rewrite the word so even you know what you meant to write.

The second, less obvious advantage, is that pencils slow you down. The pencil doesn’t glide across the page like a pen and you more clearly because you’re forced to take more time.  I also reverted back to print. It also slows me down, but more importantly requires me to form each letter so I can read my own writing.

I still don’t have great handwriting, but it’s slowly improving. It’s not as nice as it was in my youth, but much better than during my middle adult years where I rushed through everything to get to the next thing. I still have too much to do in a day, but in my form of process improvement, I’ve come to realize if I can’t read my own notes than I’ve wasted time taking notes and attending meetings where I’ve lost my notes to bad penmanship. So…the answer is simple… I’m back to studying pencilmanship – getting well-formed letters, and enjoying being able to show my work to someone else and have them be able to read it too!

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I prefer a cheap mechanical pencil as I’m incompetent at refilling lead. As long as the pencil has a decent eraser, I’m good. And, if there’s no mechanicals around, push comes to shove, any number two pencil will always serve in a pinch. There’s no beating the tried and true, and going back to my basic training – writing straight on the lines!


Focus on Gun Sanity. It’s just day’s away from Saturday March for Our Lives events around the country.  Part of the difficulty in preparing for a march is deciding what to write on poster board. Here is an instance where you definitely don’t want to use pencils and want to get the biggest, broadest most colorful markers your Dollar store can provide. Or you can download artist’s renderings at Need some less artistic ideas ?  Just grab your marker and write any of these:  Not. Real. Americans.    People Over Guns.  #NeverAgain.  #NeverMore.  Enough.  Give Teachers Money for Books Not Guns.  It doesn’t matter what you say. It doesn’t even matter if you have a poster. Showing up, however, is a really good thing as the local politicians will be looking at the size of the crowd to read the handwriting on the wall.