Here is why it is important to have good penmanship. This is really overlooked and something you can use to exceptionally stand out.
It is the little things. The details make the gentleman or lady.
This is more toward gentlemen, because speaking purely empirically men have a tendency to have the least legible writing. Women take a bit of pride and a stylistic approach toward penmanship.
Why do we need it?
Like everything else in etiquette, writing well is about consideration for others. It’s not about us. And I don’t only mean in today’s day and age. There was a physicist that said the flutter of a butterfly’s wings creates tidal waves across the other side of the world.
I have a guest book that’s over 100 years old – I think it might be closer to 200 years old at this point. It’s a guest book with writing from all family and ancestors that lived at that time. Most of the writing is in really old German with the cursive letters and characters that don’t exist anymore. It’s beautiful. It shares history and tells about how people lived. Think of your great great grandkids. You want them to respect you.
It was also really special to write because printing was so expensive and it meant that you were educated.
There’s an innumerable number of people I know personally whose writing I cannot decipher. I know 30 year olds who don’t know cursive except for how to sign their name. Years ago, I broke up with a guy and one of the reasons was because of his horrible handwriting.
He was a decent person. It’s just that we were signing a guest book and he jumped in front of me in the line to sign it and then I looked for the line under his to sign my signature and a note. He wrote his name in manuscript letters and it looked like a chicken scratched the paper. I was really turned off for many reasons in that story.
This is the one time I will say something negative on my channel. I’m just going to say my harsh opinion about this, because I care so much: It’s a disgrace to have bad penmanship. To me, bad writing shows insolence. Uncivilised animals that belong in the oven have bad handwriting. There I did it. That’s it.
Things to remember to write well:
Start writing. Get a journal and write every single day. Assess your writing yourself and astutely judge what you’d like to make better and how you’d like to write. Find your style and personality. Go on the internet and look at old writing styles, fonts you love and documents.
It has been tested and studied that writing when taking notes is better than typing, because the notes stay with you longer. The reason being when you write, your brain has to understand what it is you’re writing. Every curvature. Every glyph. Typing when taking notes is a reflex.
Write intentionally. Have you ever seen people sketch? Take up space.
What does this mean? Literally take up space. For those of you who don’t know, my father was a fine arts painter and he taught me the notion of using your whole canvas when appropriate. I noticed with a lot of people, you need to get a microscope to see their bad writing. My dad had incredible and stylistic writing that was easy to read simply because it took up space. Don’t take other people’s energy by having penmanship that isn’t legible. If you studied architecture or art, you properly have really good, clear, legible penmanship.
Use ink. There’s a couple reasons why I don’t use pencils. If you look at old journals or artefacts, graphite has a tendency to fade. Also, I do not plan to make mistakes. You’re an adult. You should never have a use for pencils unless you’re measuring something.
Do not scribble things out. Move to a new line or cross it out simply with a line. Keep it clean.
Avoid pressing really hard. I know a lot of people who lay it on thick and on a notebook, there will be deep indentations on the next few pages of where they wrote. Don’t stab the paper.
Have good grammar. This is what separates us from the animals. Have dignity when you write and speak. I know so many people who cannot answer basic grammatical questions. When I ask people, “What’s the nominative in this sentence? What case are we using? How many cases are there? In German there’s four. In Latin there’s six. If you can answer how many there are in English, leave it in the comments below”
They say, “I don’t know.” They’re the same people who say, “Why do I need to study English? I speak it.” No you don’t. It’s like when people who are out of shape say they don’t need to go to the gym. Or when people say we don’t need etiquette or manners. They’re the ones who need it the most. I hear so much bad grammar, that one time I was at a party listening to someone. I needed to be tied down to the chair with goggles and a helmet. “Make it stop!”
A gentleman always carries a pen.
A gentleman actually carries a few things at all times. I’ll create a separate video for that. Subscribe and click the bell to see it.
There is a fantastic book called Bluefishing that is nonfiction about a gentleman entrepreneur. The gentleman author says to care for your pen. Don’t have a pen with bite marks and that is scratched up and bent. If you don’t take care of the little things, it makes clients wonder how you will take care of the larger things in life. No matter how cheap your pen is, take care of it. It represents a lot about what’s going on up here.
Know the different styles of pen.
Thick vs. thin. A signing pen vs. a writing pen. If you have a pen that you have to press down really hard, it’s cheap but expensive at the same time for a list of reasons. 1. It takes more energy to write. 2. When you need to write quickly and need to sign documents on a whim, like at the doctor’s office or DMV, you need a clipboard. A really good pen that has sleek ink, you can write well with it on someone’s back or against any surface without ruining the paper or the place you’re writing. It simply is on top and just flows. I use a sleek ball point. It’s simple. It’s effective. I’ll have some pens linked below so you can get a sense of the styles.
Personally, I like to avoid fountain pens. They are really high maintenance. I have something similar to the effect of one. The point is that the way you press down on the pen’s end gets used to how you write, so you are the only person who can use that pen stylistically. My husband has one and I had to write something quickly. It felt impossible to write with it, because the muscles he uses feel very different.
Have good stationery.
I have a wax seal and my own stamps. I’ll create another video for that too later. There are so many formats for different occasions. I’ll also have stationery linked below in case you’re interested. Remember to keep it simple.
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