I Forgot How to Write !

I was sitting in a meeting the other day and decided I needed to take some notes . My memory isn’t the worlds best, so if I think there is something worth memorializing, I will take notes.

Typically I will just use my PDA or Laptop . I can touch type pretty fast. I can thumb type on my Sidekick almost as fast as I type using all 10.. Then when Im done, I email the notes to myself and I have a permanent, searchable record of the meeting. I’ve been doing this for so long, I can pretty much type as fast as I think

This particular meeting for some reason I couldnt go the digital route so I can had to go 1900s and actually handwrite my notes.

What a disaster. I couldn’t write.

I literally couldn’t take notes fast enough because as I wrote, I realized I couldn’t read my own writing. Not only could I not read my own writing, when I tried to slow down so that everything would be legible, I realized that actually writing each letter as part of a complete word was actually difficult

I had forgotten how to write. Sure i could fight it out by going slowly. Very slowly. But any skills I had that used to enable me to quickly write what I was hearing or what my thoughts were, had left me.

Am I alone ? SHould I start a self help group ? Should I take a class with 5 year olds to relearn ???

Is writing with a pen on a pad of paper not like riding a bike ??

112 thoughts on “I Forgot How to Write !

  1. All those folks who print those letters that they don\’t recall in cursive (or who otherwise break the rules of cursive) should take heart the JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH (May/June 1998) printed a study establishing that the highest-speed highest-legibility handwriters: /a/ use print-like shapes for letters whose cursive shape \”disagrees\” with the printed, and /b/ join some, but not all, letters: making the easiest joins and skipping the rest. (\”The relationship between handwriting style and speed and legibility\” authors Steven Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub)
    To learn more about this and related surprising facts about handwriting, visit the pages \”writing rebels\” and \”FAQ\” at the Handwriting Repair web-site http://www.learn.to/handwrite … to learn more about our handwriting crisis, visit the same site\’s page \”illegibility: can America write?\”

    Comment by Kate Gladstone -

  2. I agree with Beau: writing hours-long exams HURTS! Our muscles that we use to write must have atrophied because I found it agonizing to write for three hours straight during my last exam. Don\’t even get me started on the quality of my once-envied script! The horror!

    Comment by Ally -

  3. Too FUNNY is all I have to say!!!

    Comment by Katrina -

  4. You\’re not alone. I think that there are many people out there that have actually have forgot how to write. I am actually the same way with my sidekick and usually take it out for notes. About a year ago I started a new job, and they had a Wacom tablet for all my photo editing needs, I was actually frighten by it. It took time for me to get comfortable with holding a pen again. Then I found it good that I am now actually writing all my photo shoot ideas and lighting layouts in an old \”Composition Book\” so that I can actually get use to writing again.

    I had a similar talk with some of my friends parents the other day about how it is actually rare for people to remember addresses and phone numbers for even the closest of friends because we are so use to having our cell phones to pull up the information.

    Comment by Abe Robledo -

  5. I feel your pain. Being 26, by the time I hit Junior High I was typing 70 wpm… I stopped handwriting except in class. When I went to college I took a laptop to class for notes; thus completely eliminating handwriting from my life. Even my checks are printed by quicken. So when I go to grab a pen now I am completely useless. Except for blue book tests in college, I havent had a real use for handwriting in ten years… Should this bother me? Maybe so, but it doesnt; I just don\’t care. I have a computer within reach almost 100% of the time… My laptop sits next to my bed. Handwriting is antiquated technology; good riddance.

    Comment by Scooter -

  6. Really?? What were they thinking? No computers! No need to sweat the small stuff. It time to worry about the bigger picture. How could technology help in situations where there is limitations? Why in certain situtions must we still be controlled by primitive methods?

    Comment by Heather Johnson -

  7. It\’s a pity that we don\’t write (that much) anymore. There\’s something personal about your own handwriting that a fancy word processor can never bring out.

    Comment by Rohan Wali -

  8. I seem to do it every summer when college starts up again. All year and summer I\’m on the computer and next thing you know, school is in session and I have to write again. The pen just sorta sits in my hand and scribbles until i realize i dont need to actually take notes for this class.

    Comment by jaike -

  9. Dear Mark I can,t Type INfact I\’m on the internet for the first time tonight. Love the Mavs Since you have been there.
    Please do me a favor and text message instead of take notes while driving

    Comment by alan -

  10. vvv

    Comment by alan -

  11. And I was worried about people texting and driving at the same time

    Comment by alan -

  12. You are not alone.

    Not only can I barely print, I have completely forgotten how to write legible cursive.

    Everyone used to compliment me by saying I had beautiful handwriting. If they saw it these days, they wouldn\’t say the same.

    I think it has to do with both technology and aging (at least for me). My aunt and grandmother had perfect handwriting, but they were always letter writers — they wouldn\’t call, they would send you a handwritten letter.

    My thank you cards look like a five year old wrote them. While a nice gesture, I am sure my handwriting loses some points.

    I had to do a 15 hour marathon of continuing education classes for my real estate license last weekend. Whenever I try to reference my notes I scratch my head. I tried to condense my notes while writing them because I could not write fast enough (type 65 WPM accurately). Nothing makes sense now. What were supposed to be my memory inducing phrases are illegible.

    Comment by Jesse -

  13. Maybe it doesn\’t matter, just enjoy it

    Comment by laptop battery -

  14. I can\’t write at all anymore. My hand cramps up after a few minutes. I can type all day, no problem. Never had \”carpal tunnel\” like everyone else is always complaining about. WAY more painful to use a pen lol…

    Comment by Norm -

  15. this is funny only because when i try to write notes i write pretty fast and efficient. the problem arises when i have to go back to those notes for reference. i have no idea what i was writing at the moment, cause i have very bad pendmennship ha ha. so now i just use a voice recorder hand saver.

    Comment by leonel lopez avalos -

  16. your hand writing can change your life
    by Vimila Rodgers is anexcellent book on bringing up the quality of your handwriting, – longstory short …she reccomends 2 pages a day of handwriting basically whatever\’s pertinent as an exercise in focus and meditation – myhandwriting has gone way up in aethetics, legibility- though its probobly slowed 20 percent . Is it worth it ? Umm… let\’s just say I had real bad handwring.

    Comment by pete wieser -

  17. Interesting that there is only one comment prior to this one that even mentions shorthand.

    But if I were in your shoes Mark, I wouldn\’t write anything down, but would have a stenographer attend all the meetings where I needed to create a record of the meeting.

    That way, you could keep your Sidekick open for important messages from Donnie and Avery ๐Ÿ™‚

    Go Mavs

    Comment by Wes -

  18. Mark,

    May I call you Mark? I would call you Mr. Cuban, but that\’s how I respond to Fidel\’s blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I\’m a middle school computer literacy teacher and basketball coach, so let me just welcome you to meeting hell.

    I\’m not a big meeting guy to begin with, but if I can\’t have some digital action at my meetings, I\’m screwed. Most of what I do as a teacher is on the Internet in one form or another. Even my practice plan is in my ThinkFree account, so I can plan my practice no matter what meeting I\’m in, err, I mean, no matter where I\’m at.

    Comment by Eric -

  19. I had a similar experience the first time I tried to use my Tablet PC. I thought that being able to \”jot notes down\” would be easier than typing them. Such is not the case.

    I can type much, much faster than I can write regardless of what short-hand conventions I might try.

    Comment by Dharmesh Shah -

  20. Funny. I only use a PDA or laptop in meetings, but my mother taught me to always write a personal thank you note on \”lovely\” stationary…so, I must go through several sheets of designer paper before my thank you note doesn\’t look like a four year old wrote it. Hmph. Wish that traditional, as nice as it is, would die!

    Comment by RS -

  21. Appreciation is only one and the minority of the benefits that comes from owning a home with the primary being a roof over your head. The 60% owner vs. the 40% owner has a huge advantage in that they get to live there 100% of the time. That said, if you could share the time this concept is sound, however its an old idea [enter Time Shares]. If people and their possessions were more flexible and movable it could work by actually sharing the use of the asset for equal benefit but until we come up with furniture that can be folded up like a Jetsons car its not going to work for primary residencies.

    Comment by Bill Parker -

  22. Well my observation is a little different. First of all, like many, I had nearly forgotten my cursive writing which was last required in 6th grade. Three years ago, sustained a head injury resulting in an internal bleed – interval craniotomy; titanium micro-plates installed, … I\’ve had to relearn a lot of skills most everyone takes for granted. Since I [now] have nearly no short-term memory, hand-writing notes is necessary to maintain continuity of consciousness. Hand-writing has been especially difficult. Well, one day, for no reason, I switched to cursive. To my surprise, I discovered right away it was much less difficult; not having to constantly raise and lower my pen/pencil results in much less motor/thought activity and the whole process is much smoother and much less draining overall. I\’m not sure my new cursive is easier that is was pre-injury but it is easier than the alternative.

    Not quite like riding a bicycle, I think, more like playing the piano – that is, practice, practice, …

    Comment by Joseph of Ryan -

  23. I think this falls into the \”use it or lose it\” category. If you aren\’t a surgeon or dentist or have some type of hobby that needs fine motor skills, well, they seem to go away.

    I\’m appalled at my inability to write legibly!

    Comment by Bob Towery -

  24. I am perhaps one of the rarest of cases in the world simply because of the fact that i actually forgot how to use a pen at the age of 22. And the reason was that forced myself to write from my right hand( my opposite hand ) since i was not happy with my handwriting from left hand. I became a topic of public mockery and contempt. My writing was so bad that i started hating myself. I started cursive all over again using my right hand at the age of 20 to remove the curse of poor handwriting but what happened was out of my imagination. One day i realized that i have forgotten to write using either hands.

    Today i can type faster than anybody in this world but i can\’t write..it pains alot when i hold that pen. this is first time i am confessing this in front of everyone. I really dont care about my writing now. But this feeling keep haunting me that i dont know how to write.

    tell me what should i do..can anyone here help me out?

    Comment by Piyush Aggarwal -

  25. I think the key is to doodle. Keeps the hand loose and your \”touch\” familiar. It\’s all about pressure and hand position. It seems to me that my handwriting always varies and sometimes I\’m really excited when it comes out looking half decent. Also it\’s about speed. Obviously typing is great because it\’s totally legible (even with teryble tipoos) and it\’s fast. Handwriting adds the element of artistry. One things I find is that if you mix capital letters into all your words, you\’ll slow down and your script will actually improve. Try it. It also looks better so later you won\’t want to tear it up. You never know when you might be stranded and need to start putting messages into bottles and be very low on print toner.

    Comment by phil -

  26. It\’s funny how we\’ve adopted to a more counterintuitive system (keyboard) by default of a Virtureal consciousness. It should be easier to write (more intuitive) like it is to draw, but when I try it, I find myself in a similar situation. I wonder if our children will feel the same about typing on keyboards being used to brain-to-computer UIs in the very near future?

    Comment by Ray Podder -

  27. I used to take notes digitally, but I find that I rarely go back to those notes. Now, if I\’m attending an informational session, I\’ll take notes on my laptop or PDA.

    But if I\’m attending a meeting and might need to take action, I take written notes. After the meeting, I transfer actions to my task list. Or as I perform actions, cross them off the page, and throw out the page.

    I find that it\’s too easy to hang onto digital notes forever without attending to them.

    Comment by Michele Marques -

  28. You ain\’t seen nothing yet……

    I tutor high school and college students…..generally the younger they are, the worse they write. It is so bad I have to review the enrollment sheets to make sure their email address, phone number, and physical address is legible.

    This has also been a problem I am sure for the essay readers of the SAT essays….much of the stuff I see is illegible.

    Comment by Henry -

  29. Mark,

    You always have a knack for looking at things from a different angle. I am guessing that that is why your blog is so popular.

    Take care and have a nice day!

    Comment by KindAndThoughtful -

  30. I couldn\’t agree more! I just recently experienced and was conveying to some friends that I don\’t know how to write anymore! My handwriting is at best on a 3rd grade level. I don\’t think it\’s a bad thing though. New times. . .new communication.

    Comment by Bill Hampton -

  31. I\’ve always had messy handwriting, ever since a teacher tried to get me to do copperplate when I was 9. No one else can read my writing, but I\’m fine. Maybe it\’s the reading you have to re-learn, not the writing.

    Comment by Ian Douglas -

  32. I\’ll have a few shaky days where my writing skills won\’t be up to par and my class notes will be almost worthless.

    Comment by Ohmite -

  33. Had a similar experience couple yrs ago when I had to write a legal sentence in cursive in front of a witness. I struggled so badly to eke out cursive which I hadn\’t used in years that I got the weirdest look. Came out worse than a 3 yr old\’s scribble. More evidence that technology only makes us dumber.

    Comment by Lenstr -

  34. A friend started a running fad (what the kids wrongly call \”memes\”) by providing a sample of her handwriting and asking others for theirs, because these days, longhand is way out of fashion. My handwriting these days is certainly more legible than when i was 10, but it was rather tiresome just writing the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

    Comment by rone -

  35. You\’ve got some problems, bro. I recommend you sell the team and semi-retire while you nurse your motor skills back to health. Hehe.

    Comment by Stephen -

  36. Is this a relavent topic? You are way too digital to care.

    Comment by Mike Alfred -

  37. I thought I was the only one having this problem. My writing is SOOOOO bad. I can type faster than hand writing, and it actually hurts to write with a pen. I hate having to do it.

    Technology, I love thee!

    Comment by Donny Pauling -

  38. add a favicon.ico to your site, i use your rss feed on netvibes, and you are one of the only blogs i frequent that does not have this ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by rodney Giles -

  39. Your funny!


    Comment by Optimized -

  40. Nope – it\’s just you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Chris Doelle -

  41. I\’ve had that happen before. And no, it isn\’t like riding a bike but it comes back quickly. Just a muscle that needs exercised from time to time.

    Comment by Jamie Roth -

  42. It\’s become Pavlovian that I constant take h/w notes, but why? Often I never read my notes, or decide or act based on my notes, or share my notes with others – so, why do I take notes?
    I attribute that habit to our education system, which may teach note-taking, but does a poorer job of teaching students to LISTEN actively.
    My one improvement to note-taking, is that I dictate my h/w notes, then e-mail the dictation to overnight typing services (prob. offshore in a part of the British Empire), which e-mails the typed notes back to me the following morning. At least that way, I can decipher something from them weeks later.

    Comment by Thomason -

  43. My writing has molded into some cryptic form of cursive/print/random lines/random loops. It is really laughable. I have been told it looks like the script/calligraphy you see on the decleration of independance.

    Just make sure you can read the first couple and last couple letters of a word. The middle is moot.

    Comment by Kip Nickell -

  44. I can relate, but I\’m not sure which is worse:

    a. That I can no longer write quickly or legibly


    b. I can\’t remember the last time that I COULD write quickly or legibly.

    Comment by Jeremy Swiller -

  45. Mark,

    It is interesting that you bring up how we are losing the abillity to actually be able to use our own handwriting. What I think is even worse is that via using a computer, we have a disconnect from the time one takes to hand write something like a letter, a thank you note, a personal journal. We should all take a break from using devices that make us more efficent but also rob us from our own personalzation which is the handwritten word…



    Comment by Brian -

  46. One of the most troubling aspects of learning is institutional learning, and institutional forms of note taking. I think writing things down was a process so inscribed into our daily work that even today after all this new technology we feel we have to know how to write and write nice to be complete! Well, what about accents, speech, habits? anyways,
    Hum, here is how we roll, lately! We use WebEX with Desktop sharing and recording during all our meetings of which more than likely most of the invited members are all located at their own offices. Webex recording and desktop sharing for presentation and notes is great! No writing, no typing, just presenting and the recording converts to a transcript that is mailed to all attendants after the meeting is over. Good luck!

    Comment by Mitchell -

  47. As someone who\’s covered sports for 30+ years, I empathize with you, Mark. I always bring a tape recorder to the locker room to safeguard against being unable to read my own writing. Same thing with phone interviews. If I\’ve ever misquoted anyone, odds are that it happened not because of malice, but because I couldn\’t read something I\’d written. In this computer age, handwriting is becoming a lost art.

    Comment by John Kreiser -

  48. This is not that hard. Many people who were right-handed lost their right arms in accidents. Many have successfully practiced and learned to write left-handed. The important thing is not to panic and believe it\’s possible just as YOU believed you could be a millionaire when you turn 30. Man it is sooo much harder to be a millionaire or BILLIONAIRE than to learn to write. Some people lost both arms and learned to write with their feet!

    Studies show that when you do something for 21 straight days it becomes a habit and automatic and you\’ll realize it\’s not that hard.

    You don\’t need self help groups or taking classes with 5 yr olds (well could be, if you want to make fun or yourself and worse kids will beat you in handwriting classes haha)

    They say older people (30 and above) will have harder times to learn something(say they want to learn to play the piano at age 30) it\’s harder for them to learn and play than 5-10 yr olds. I\’d say that\’s not true…. Here\’s the simple reason:

    Kids don\’t worry about too many things like adults do. They are not scattered brained, and they tend to FOCUS on the basics and simple things. While adults are now more into complicated things which make their lives miserable and confusing which makes focusing difficult. And worse, adults have soo many worries and responsibilities that makes it very hard to learn something new or relearn something.

    The lesson? Stop worrying about many things for the moment and start writing anything with ur hands… just for 21 straight days … PEACE

    Comment by MARKsmanship -

  49. I find that I can barely write a check any longer. My mind goes way to fast for my pen. I find that if I slow down I don\’t seem to have the muscle memory to form the letters properly. Like everyone who has been commenting I only use computers now for many years. My signiture is so illegeble that people comment it looks as bad as a Doctors signiture ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Gary Fesler -

  50. Great point. I have had the same problem for a long time. What is of greater concern to me is the use of handwriting samples used to select employees. I have been approched by companies that suggest that a handwriting sample can help one to determie the suitability of a prospective employee.

    This idea alone is scary given the poor quality of my hadwriting. I wonder how many quality people have missed an opportunity to be of value to a company as a result of such sampling.

    Just a thought!

    Comment by Eric Clare -

  51. Too funny. I have the same problem, and what\’s really annoying is my epileptic wife\’s writing is beautiful. I scribble as fast as I can and then rewrite or retype off the notes before I forget what I wrote down.

    What\’s worst is coming across a note that looks worth following up and not being able to read the phone number….

    Comment by bewert -

  52. Mark, right there with you. I would like to speak at your next SHG \”my name is Russ and I can\’t write\”

    Comment by Russel Hornbeek -

  53. My wife gets mad at me because I don\’t take the time to handwrite her a note…go figure…if I text message her ILY she just erases it but the handwritten \”Love Note\” it lasts…or so she says…so since around 1999 she has not received many \”Love Notes\” simply because I don\’t know how to write…I guess I\’ll likely never get a Father\’s Day Card from my children after they turn 12 or 13…I\’m with you man…

    Comment by Barry -

  54. You\’re not alone. LOL, great post. I find I cant write at speed but my hand cramps within a couple of minutes. What is this world coming to…

    Comment by Andrew J Scott -

  55. mark, several years ago you met me selling stickers at South By Southwest. i just got my mba from unc and have created the ultimate notetaking platform – one that will change the world. drop me a line if you want to check it out. thanks.

    – Srini

    Comment by Srini Kumar -

  56. You can\’t imagine how relaxed I feel after reading your post! Being an Indian, it was a shocking experience when I realized that I\’ve completely forgotten how to write in Hindi. I\’m unable to write a single line without making huge mistakes!

    Though my English handwriting is still under my control, the writing speed has certainly slowed down.

    Comment by Avinash -

  57. you\’re certainly not alone. my print is horrific…my cursive is completely illegible. a 7 year old has better penmanship at this point. i wonder how long it would take me to get it back?

    Comment by the cajun boy -

  58. My cursive handwriting (we called it penmanship back in the day, but oops that\’s a sexist term, isn\’t it?), never very good has deteriorated to where it\’s hard for me to fill in forms that are faxed to me. I wind up scanning them, opening them in Illustrator, typing the info, and then printing faxing the form through the computer. Fortunately, there aren\’t many forms faxed to me.

    Comment by Michael Markman -

  59. I took speedwriting in high school for this reason and have sort of developed my own shorthand, I\’m a transcriptionist though, so I already know a lot of symbols that stand for other things.

    But I handwrite outlines for my website and notes, points I want to make, etc. It does hurt after a while though, simply because the majority of my time is spent typing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Sabrina\'s Money Matters -

  60. As a journalist, I have a whole lot of scribbly messes of notes written on random sheets of paper everywhere. No one can read them, but me. I write in mostly cursive cuz it\’s faster, but every now and then for whatever reason, I put down print so that adds to the incoherent look of everything.

    Comment by Mitchell Blatt, Juiced Sports Blog.com -

  61. I am a journalist and for several years now I have suffered when I have do do reporting with old fashioned pen and paper. As you experience Mark, I can\’t write fast enough, even with my shorthand developed over the years, and sometimes can\’t even read what I wrote.

    Comment by dan farber -

  62. No Mark. You aren\’t alone. I usually type everything as well and when I have to actually write, it\’s a mess. Not only that, my hand cramps up when I write for too long. Apparently typing and writing are vastly different skills indeed.

    Comment by Rebeccalee Coventry -

  63. I do believe this is why the digital voice recorder was invented ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by Suburban Oblivion -

  64. Yes,Boys and Girls wourld rather chating online sending an e-mail than writting.
    Chinese show much more interests for learning English than our own couse it\’s useful. Guys even can\’t write Chinese essay
    very corretly.I think it\’s a tragedy.You will never imagine what\’s CET-4 or CET-6

    Comment by Louis Liu -

  65. Completely forgot how to write in cursive, I refuse to even try and remember if I goes before E. Even my signature has become nothing more than a line with a couple of squiggles in it.

    And to make matters even worse I\’ve really been using the voice recognition software a lot lately so it\’s only going to be a matter of time before I can\’t type anymore either.

    Comment by Realado -

  66. In the Army we call this de-graded mode. I don\’t think youre life depends on de-graded skills in the corporate world, but lord help you if the electronics on a tank or track go down. You better know how to hand write fire commands.

    Comment by Phil Salzman -

  67. No your not alone man. I use shorthand however in class like :. would mean therefore. e/w means everywhere stuff like that and sometimes I don\’t even spell out full words such as difficulty d\’ty etc. you the the picture… but yeah thats impressive you can type as fast as you think usually i gotta speak a little slower than i think ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and having the right pen makes a difference as well… i prefer the gel pens… make e/thing so much easier… youll notice also your writing will start out smooth and by the third paragraph it starts looking like chicken scratch!

    Comment by J. Jesus Ruiz -

  68. man, are u willing to make a second try on Yijianlian?

    Comment by roy -

  69. Laughed when I saw your post. Ever since I had to print uppercase for three years at Tech, for all hand written work, it\’s all I have done. Now when I write, rarely, it\’s all u/c print as have forgotten how to write cursive. Recently tried a tablet pc and liked it but they seem to prefer cursive. I had to consciously think about the cursive letter shapes! It confirmed that if I get a TPC it will have to be a convertible with keyboard!

    Handwrting sample here:

    Comment by Robin Capper -

  70. In the 3rd grade I thought it was pointless that we had to learn how to write in cursive, and I immediately went back to printing after enough time had passed that my teacher stopped caring.

    Writing in general seams about as useless a skill now as cursive was then; the only time I use a pen is to sign credit card receipts, and even then I just doodle circles for a second or two.

    Comment by Patrick McKinnon -

  71. I\’ve noticed the quality of my handwriting suffering after all these years of hacking away at a real keyboard or now on the virtual one on my iPhone (!)

    To read my infrequent scribblings on the Moleskin, which I still carry when I travel isn\’t that easy.

    The days of writing with a fountain pen are fading in the distant past…..

    Comment by Joe Buhler -

  72. My penminship is awfule, and with all this typing I never write anymore. I\’m glad I am not the only one!

    Comment by PPC Management -

  73. No doubt this is a convenient challenge. I would much rather type notes on my BlackBerry than write them. That sounds so odd to say out loud.

    Comment by mkp -

  74. Mark, I have experienced this once or twice myself. There are two solutions; 1) never be without your laptop or PDA, or 2)ask the presenter to send their presentation/notes to you after the meeting.

    My memory is really good so I amost never take notes. If I can\’t remember it then it obviously wasn\’t that important to me.

    I wouldn\’t reccomend the class with a 5 year old. They know everything…just ask them.


    Comment by Don Dodge -

  75. hire somebody, screw the class. youve got the money. (i come cheap) lol

    Comment by matthew mann -

  76. Yes, we have all been there. I am surprised it has taken you this long to figure it out. I think this shows the kind of life you lead. You are constantly connected and you always have the best equipment. The rest of us (yes even at the executive level) are reminded of our penmanship ineptitude every month or so. It doesn\’t mean we are better off, just more aware;-)

    As long as we still can write, I think it\’s no big deal. I wouldn\’t want to be in a situation where I had to write and couldn\’t at all, but the fact that I am lousy at taking hand written notes in a meeting doesn\’t worry me much. If I remember correctly, I was a pretty lousy note taker before computers came along. Any way you look at it, I\’m better off.

    That said, I still want my kids to learn penmanship. Call it a technology depression mentality, but you never know (said in a Yiddish accent).

    Comment by shamelessjames -

  77. Same here, I even skip/forget letters and write things like \”sreet\” instead of \”street\” and so on. Some kind of keyboard induced dyslexia I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by Per K -

  78. Writing notes with a pencil and paper is so yesterday, as my kids keep reminding me. I never did learn to write in script, so I always printed. Now I can\’t even read my own printing, so If I don\’t bring my palm along, I might as well not go. I don\’t think my kids can write either, so I don\’t feel to bad.

    Comment by Jeff L. -

  79. You\’re not alone. I go through this at the start of every semester. After being off almost four months, it takes me a couple weeks to get used to writing again.

    Comment by mavericks shirt -

  80. I\’ll actually sit and daydream during meetings.

    Comment by Dave Foster -

  81. something im think i forgot how to write with the pen ๐Ÿ™ most of the time im typeing

    Comment by garry lachman -

  82. What! Who takes notes? I can\’t read my own writing! But I can type 107 words a minute! I keep reading about this voice recognition devise. I can\’t wait to have it in my pda to take my notes for me.

    Comment by Mary Clemente -

  83. Take a class with five year olds, I\’d pay to see that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Ash Haque -

  84. a hand can\’t move as fast as the brain for most, and if your hand moves faster than your brain then you should work at he dmv.

    Comment by jordan blum -

  85. I\’d like to nominate myself as your official \”writing assistant.\” I\’m available ASAP. We can discuss salary when I get there. I\’m stopping at Office Max for pens first. See you in a few.

    Comment by Chris -

  86. Interestingly there is an industry segment (healthcare), approx 400+ of such businesses exist in DFW alone, which takes care of thousands of old people in DFW (may include many of your folks). All of this clinical and non-clinical information is handwritten in paper. The scariest part is, this handwritten information is read and interpreted to make decisions on care provided.

    We know this because we have launched a well-received business service to eliminate the handwriting part and improve quality of care in this industry.

    Approx 150 years ago the CEO\’s solved the handwriting issue with a long forgotten but still used tool – Stenotype/shorthand (225 WPM average).

    I believe the best way in this fast world is using quick voice memos and getting it converted to text.

    Comment by k7 -

  87. I\’ve been a computer programmer, and at home computer nerd for a long time. When I wound up having to write something, not only was it illegible, by my hand was sore at half a page. It\’s great reading that I\’m not the only one.

    Comment by Kirk -

  88. Wow.

    So, if you can write with both hands, you\’re called ambidextrous.

    If you can write AND txt AND type on your PDA, all in a coherent fashion, can you be considered tribidextrous?

    If so, then I will admit, nerdly, to be in that rarified group.

    Go Explorers.

    Comment by Chuck -

  89. Heh, Mark, you\’re not alone ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by Russian women -

  90. I agree with an above poster who is also a college student. Every semester after a little time off my handwriting is complete garbage. In about a week its like riding a bike, your hand quits hurting and it starts to look legible again. Instead of a self help group how bout a group that helps us college kids out with free laptops??? Where do I sign up?

    Comment by Andrew -

  91. This raises the question of education.
    Look how much time is spent in elementary school doing something that the next generation may never do.

    Probably better to teach junior QWERTY rather then printing/cursive

    (maybe better to start training their speech recognition program)

    Comment by Patrick Rankin -

  92. Handwriting and typing are about equal for me, although starting from a blank page tends to be a little easier when looking at pen and paper, as I\’m less likely to be distracted by instant messenger, incoming emails, and the tendency to aimlessly surf the web. I certainly do miss spell check and right-click thesaurus whenever I\’ve been forced to work with solely pen and paper though.

    Comment by Daniel Wayne Johnston -

  93. I\’ve been there. Just get your self a moleskine and force yourself to jot down ideas in it. Your handwriting will come back.

    Just don\’t try to write cursive. Its more dead than Latin is.

    Comment by Eric Marden -

  94. You\’re not alone, I\’m the exact same way. The younger generation is even worse, I\’ve been told that some schools don\’t even teach cursive anymore.

    Comment by Ben Drawbaugh -

  95. I can relate Mark. I\’m an English major and my penmanship is so bad my kids make fun of me. At least I never have to worry about them writing fake notes to their school teachers the way I did. My mom was easy to copy but my kid\’ll never be able to copy me.

    I\’ve given the schools samples of my hand writing just in case. The nut never falls far from the tree…hehheh.

    Good luck…and don\’t worry about it. It a hundred years the written word will cease to exixt, being replaces by the electronic word. We\’ll all look back and consider you a pioneer.

    Comment by Swede Swenson -

  96. Mark,
    That is great. I am attending a class right now where we can\’t use laptops so I have found myself in the same boat. When we first started my notes were terriable but with time they have gotten better but my hand does hurt after writing notes all day. We sometimes forget how hard it was to just take notes. I love my laptop!!!
    I also disagreed with Paul from Kirkland, I as so busy writing notes I have no time to asborb the info and then when I try to read it later i am like what was that?

    Comment by Dallas -

  97. I have this problem as well, and I think it\’s indicative of a larger problem: we\’re just going too flippin\’ fast.

    The reason I can\’t keep up is that I\’m not taking the time to think. The result is that when I type I\’m probably \”producing\” more, but the *quality* isn\’t quite as good because I haven\’t stopped to…you know…think.

    Try taking a day off from typing your thoughts and write them all down instead. I think you\’ll find that you might write fewer words but better thoughts.

    Comment by paul in kirkland -

  98. not alone

    Comment by Toby Getsch -

  99. Mark as a Mavs fan living in Dallas it\’s time for you to come out and support the man that will change America for the better!

    Dr. Ron Paul!

    Comment by Corey -

  100. Does it matter?

    Comment by Paul -

  101. Add me to the list. I can\’t write in cursive. I print everything in capital letters. It is slow but legible.

    Comment by Josh -

  102. Mark, I think you just did start a self help group. What a relief to know that I am not the only one. I recognized that I had lost the ability to write cursive almost fifteen years ago. Ever since my writing has been an unholy mixture of print and cursive. I stick to typing whenever possible.

    Comment by Jess -

  103. I write as often as I touchtype. I find that lugging a laptop to a meeting is quite irritating to the other participants – since they want to look at my eyes to see that I\’m listening. And the screen of the laptop acts as a barrier between us.

    So in meetings I write – just to-do notes and who should do them and at what time. that\’s all. The rest I just remember for typing out minutes a little later.


    Comment by Arun Sadhashivan -

  104. Wow Mark, you\’re just finding this out now? I \’discovered\’ this handicap 2 years ago trying to write down a girls number at a party. She just gave me the \’oh, you\’re not too bright look\’ and sauntered away! *shrugs*

    Comment by Kenneth Holland -

  105. Writing? Why would anyone want to do that anymore? Isn\’t that kinda like doing math without a calculator or excel?

    I definitely notice that when I try to take notes, I am much in the same boat.

    Comment by josh R -

  106. When I take handwritten notes, I have to write so quickly and illegibly to keep pace that if I dont retype those notes on a computer within a few hours, the meaning of my scribbles will be lost forever.

    Unless somewhere, unbeknownst to me, there is a Rosetta Stone for my scribbles.

    Comment by Dewey -

  107. I actually go through this every fall. I\’m a college student who is too poor to get a laptop, so I hand-write notes for class. Come summer time, all of my writing goes digital. When classes resume this fall, I\’ll have a few shaky days where my writing skills won\’t be up to par and my class notes will be almost worthless. But it is somewhat like riding a bicycle. After a few days I\’m pretty good again.

    Comment by Sean -

  108. Very funny, since I was just discussing this exact subject with my friends not too long ago. I rarely actually write anything down anymore on paper, and when I do, I really struggle – not really because I\’ve forgotten how to write, but it\’s that I\’m so used to typing so fast, that I try and write at that same speed, and that usually results in illegible results.

    Comment by Hemant J. Naidu -

  109. After years and years of typing including a year of business school I went on exchange to Hong Kong where they (the horror) required hand written final exams. If think writing notes is hard, try composing an essay you are used to word processing and can no longer use it.

    Not only that, writing HURT. My hand muscles were not used to holding and manipulating a pen for that long. It\’s a completely forgotten exercise.

    Comment by Beau -

  110. I forgot cursive years ago, because of all my typing. Now I\’m getting pretty slow with notes, too, but at least they\’re legible. This will happen to all of us, because tablet PCs just won\’t catch up in price fast enough. And blackberries are here to stay. Tell me you haven\’t texted while driving, right? RIGHT?

    Comment by mike w. -

  111. I\’ve found my self writing notes in cursive, then forgetting how to write particular letters in cursive so printing them… lol

    This is why I go nowhere without a laptop!


    Comment by John Gauger -

  112. This is one of your funniest posts, as every CEO can relate. I scribble my notes on a yellow pad and then have my assistant type them out later and then archive them. There is one minor problem, sometimes I write personal stuff — if its a boring meeting.

    I can\’t do the PDA thing because the other peeps would think I\’m text messaging chicks.


    Comment by john shahidi -

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