"God sometimes does His work with gentle drizzle, not storms. Drip. Drip. Drip." - John Newton (Amazing Grace)
Question #90198 posted on 08/09/2017 6:08 p.m.

Dear 1oo Hour Board,

My personal note handwriting isn't great, and I sometimes struggle reading it back. But if I have to write something I know other people are going to read, I can write quite neatly.

I only started thinking about this during a summer class where we as students help solve problems on the whiteboard. I am often surprised by how bad the other students' handwriting is. Being a math class, if one letter looks like another used in the problem, things get confusing. Several times I have pointed out such issues to the student writing, only to see similar issues when they rewrite that character. (is that an a or a 9, 0 or e) It's almost like their writing is stuck that way, and not easy changed.

Do you think some people are simply oblivious to the quality of their public handwriting? Or that it is more of a muscle memory thing that is difficult to override?

I feel like I can easily change my handwriting style on the fly. Is that special? I never thought it was before.

-LaTeX is Best


Dear Master Penman

I think maybe the thing you're missing is that part of having bad handwriting is not being able to easily manipulate the way in which you're writing? Otherwise people who have bad handwriting would just write better. In my experience there isn't any motivation to have bad handwriting other than I'm not very good at changing it. I've gotten better over time, but it's been really hard for me. Part of it is surely that I'm stuck in certain habits. Part of it is obviously that I'm not very good at changing my ways. Part of it is that I'm lazy. But judging by the amount of time that I've put into it, I'd say there's also something inherent about me that does make it hard for me to be precise and specific with my handwriting.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave


Dear Rubber Glove,

I tend to get a lot of compliments on how neat my handwriting is, so I can't really speak for those that have bad handwriting, but I know that my handwriting is fairly consistent and doesn't change much. The two things that change the way my handwriting looks the most are how fast I'm writing and how small I'm writing. I do sometimes make a deliberate effort to change they way something looks, like adding the little curl at the bottom of the "t" when doing math, but for the most part I don't think that I can make drastic changes to my handwriting style whenever I want.

-The Entomophagist