Blogging and the Handwriting Challenged

Filed as Features on September 10, 2008 12:28 am

My handwriting sucks. I’m sure of it. I sometimes can’t even read my own notes. It’s worse than doctors’ prescriptions. One of my elementary school teachers even likened it to chicken scratchings on the ground.

It all started when I was in preschool. Being the obsessive-compulsive kid I was, I always used a ruler to straighten the lines of my letters. I loved it when I wrote those I’s, T’s, X’s and other letters with straight lines. When there were curves, I even used the rounded edges of coins just to make ‘em nice and round.

I had nice, straight lines, and nicely-shaped curves. But my teacher kept scolding me because I was always the last to finish writing works. And so I was forced to learn how to write without guides. And without these, my handwriting really deteriorated. My hand easily got tired, I had sweaty palms, and while I’m right-handed, I wear my watch on my right wrist, adding to the strain.

Meanwhile, I had my first experience with computers at ten, when we had our first PC-XT compatible at home. That really changed things, because I quickly became very adept at computing. I often topped my school’s computer classes. I typed the fastest. I encoded and finished programming works easily.

I started being comfortable working on computers. My hobbies even mostly involved tinkering with computers. I ran an online BBS when I was in high school. I played with HTML in the olden days when tables and flashing and marquee text were still the rage. That being said, I was never fond of writing notes on paper. I do try, but I end up having headaches trying to understand those strange, alien-like markings. I did once attempt to use PDAs for note-taking, and that was marginally better.

I was an early adopter of netmail messaging and email (relatively). And I got hooked on joining online forums that discussed my various interests–whether in computing, mobile phones, gadgets, and the like. One way or another, that led me to knowing some of the people whom I got involved with in the new media industry.

And now I make a living with blogs and blogging. Whether writing posts, tweaking designs, maintaining blogs, or coordinating with other bloggers, one would often see me in front of a computer (or several), typing away. In a way, I would think that my relatively early exposure to computers paid off.

I wouldn’t directly attribute my breakthrough in blogging with my handwriting difficulties. However, if I didn’t have an appreciation for typing the use of the computer early on, I would probably not be in this field enjoying what I would call a lucrative career and business so far. I remember that most other kids my age found typing a chore and tried to avoid it as best they could. One could understand the aversion to computers–the computing experience back then wasn’t as easy and exciting as it is today. Sure, the Mac was already popular, but it wasn’t as cheap and readily available. So the only computers we had at school and at most homes were PCs that ran DOS. How un-exciting, right?

So if not directly, then perhaps my being challenged with writing the old fashioned way was one factor that helped me get started in this line of work.

My firstborn is now five, and she writes and draws really well–she’s probably going to be an artist someday. She’s very articulate with the pen, brush, crayons and all that–a skill I didn’t get to develop well. But she also likes computers. She mostly plays flash and kid-friendly adventure games, but I see that the interest is there. She’s comfortable with various equpment and platforms be it Mac, PC, mice, trackpads, and such. I’m hoping she gets to enjoy the best of both worlds–digital and analog! And with the increasing prevalence of computers and Internet use, I sure hope her generation still gets to appreciate both.

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  1. By vimoh posted on September 10, 2008 at 2:17 am
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    Thanks for writing this. Brought back memories. I could have given you some serious competition.

    Reply

  2. By Rarst posted on September 10, 2008 at 9:33 am
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    My handwriting now is still at stable “sucks” level it was before computers. At least I don’t have to write often now. :)

    I love typing much more.

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  3. By Mother Earth posted on September 13, 2008 at 10:45 am
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    the nuns spent quite a bit of time teaching cursive, and I adored it, worked hard at it, practiced accordingly. In later years I perfected my personal signature wanting it to have it’s distinction and style – in recent years i lost use of my writing hand – it’s OK now, and also started typing my handwriting is atrocious now – I somehow haven’t experience a loss

    occasionally I do miss the handwritten note on lovely stationary – that of which is a lost art

    If that could be recreated here at my desk w/ my computer – I’d be all over that !!

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  4. By Joy-Mari posted on January 29, 2009 at 7:59 am
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    I write too fast. It’s always been a problem: my handwriting is awful. So thank G-d for laptops and typing instead of writing.

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