Because the handwritten note never goes out of style.

Because the handwritten note never goes out of style.

31 days of cult classics | Modern Mrs Darcy

They say adults don’t need good handwriting anymore: if your handwriting is truly terrible, you can always just type whatever it is you need to communicate.

I disagree. Maybe good handwriting is no longer an essential life skill, but there’s still a place for handwritten correspondence (not to mention the thank you note), and besides, I’d like to be able to actually read my own handwriting on my grocery list.

It turns out I’m not the only adult who feels this way.

But plenty of adults have horrible handwriting these days. Many of us never learn to write well in the first place: cursive is being dropped from the curriculum, and even print is rarely taught past the age of third grade. (It’s hard to believe that until the 1970s, handwriting was its own subject until 6th grade!)

So what’s a grown-up in need of remedial handwriting instruction to do?

Fix it Write. 31 Days of Cult Classics | Modern Mrs Darcy

It turns out there’s quite a market for adult handwriting instruction, much of it self-directed and available on Amazon for twenty bucks or less. Among those programs, one of the most recommended is Fix It Write.

This simple system, created by handwriting guru Nan Jay Barchowsky, consists of hole-punched, loose leaf sheets with instructions and lessons, for either print-script or traditional cursive. Most students are striving for a neater or more sophisticated hand; the desperate just want their writing to be legible.

Fix It Write earns its cult classic status because of the raves it draws from its small core of diehard fans. But I’m wondering if cursive itself will be the cult classic a few years down the road?

(I’m always tempted to try Fix It Write when I stumble across a mention. Some days I like my handwriting just fine, but some days it’s a mess, and I’d love to have more beautiful handwriting. I finally ordered my own set. Amazon is delivering my pages tomorrow–I’ll let you know how it goes!)

Are you happy with your handwriting? Have you ever tried this program, or would you consider it? 

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This is the twenty-third post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.


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  1. Anne says:

    Wow, I’d never heard of this. Neat. Are you teaching cursive to your kids? I am only getting started with a 5yo on Handwriting Without Tears (no manipulatives, just the workbook), but I will utilize cursive program somehow for him.

    • Anne says:

      My oldest started cursive at private school, and he hated it! (Too much fine motor, too early, I think.) My oldest daughter BEGGED us to teach her cursive when she was the same age. We’re using Iris Hatfield’s New American Cursive. (But when my Fix It Write sheets come tomorrow, I’ll see if it looks like something my kids could use.)

  2. Bonnie-Jean says:

    As a primary school teacher my handwriting improved once I started teaching it, as I learnt how to hold my pencil correctly and how to correctly form and join the letters. However, I still always held the belief that not everyone could write beautifully. That was until I did a stint at a junior primary school (years 3 – 6) in England. In this particular school handwriting was a priority and was practiced daily in all classes. In my time as a supply teacher there (teaching across different classes) I did not come across one child with illegible writing. They all put my ‘improved’ handwriting to shame.

  3. Erica M. says:

    I’m seriously considering this. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to write notes to my coworkers and not have them call me to find out what I wrote. XD

    (Although practicing all the time as a kid never substantially improved my handwriting…)

    • Anne says:

      Practicing never helped me either. (And doesn’t now.) Some days it’s just fine but some days it’s a MESS–and I write plenty!

      Give me a few weeks and I’ll give you an update on Fix It Write. 🙂

  4. STOP IT! I just resolved to write a letter to a friend who I have harshly mis-judged and whose feelings I know I have hurt, because I figured nothing would explain it better or be more sincere (I would nervously ramble in person). Then, happy to have a resolution, I logged into bloglovin and saw the title of this post! I havent even read the post, haha!! But wow, Yes.

  5. Great post! I’ve always been happy with my handwriting. My third grade teacher was a ninja about it and im pretty certain we did it in fourth grade. As an education major I made extra attempts to perfect the century gothic-esq writing of my own elementary I’m a rare nerd happy with her handwriting.
    Cool side story – my high school art teacher and cousin by marriage is so insanely creative that she CHANGES her handwriting styles – I am NOT that awesome, but have always admired that ability. 🙂

  6. Jim says:

    I’m fine with cursive being optional, but handwriting skills–printing–are very helpful. A pen and paper never run out of batteries–ever.

  7. Jamie says:

    My mother’s handwriting is so flawless it could be a font, and you can only read my father’s writing if you already know what it says. 🙂 My handwriting falls somewhere in between – completely legible, but inelegant script. As much as I enjoy and appreciate other people’s beautiful writing, I am well comfortable with my own. It is practical, functional, and clearly identifiable as mine. I am interested to see how your new materials work, though!

  8. 'Becca says:

    My cousin actually has had trouble with employment because her handwriting is so illegible. Waitressing was a disaster for her, and even working in offices where some forms are filled out by hand has been problematic.

    I decided in 8th grade to give up cursive (except for signature) and put my energy into better printing and numerals. It’s paid off: I can always read my own writing, and I’m generally very pleased with how it looks.

  9. Leigh Kramer says:

    I’m really shocked that handwriting is going by the wayside. Even though more and more things are, not everything is computerized! And truly, nothing beats the joy of a handwritten card or letter in the mail. My handwriting is a mix of cursive and print. I posted a picture of my Book Log on Instagram recently and got a few comments about my lovely handwriting. That was unexpected! My mom is a calligrapher and has beautiful handwriting. My dad, however, is terrible and prints in all block letters to be even somewhat legible.

  10. Tina B says:

    My handwriting is still good, though sometimes it’s just easier to print rather than use cursive. I’ve found that since I’m on a computer 12 hours a day, my hand hurts when I write for more than 5 minutes so I have to make myself do it.

    My mother was a letter-writer as is my Aunt (her sister). I picked up the habit many years ago. I have, for almost 30 years now, sent a card or letter, hand-written, to my parents and to each of my nieces and nephews, every month of the year. I hoped that the kids learned the value of a hand-written note and enjoyed receiving “real” mail rather than just junk mail or bills.

    In a matter of months, there will be a new baby with whom to start the tradition. The child will probably grow up wondering if I know anything about email or texting. LOL!

  11. Christine says:

    My parents waited til I was in my early twenties to tell me they thought my handwriting was terrible. Too late now, it is what it is. I will be teaching my children good handwriting and cursive though. Nothing like a handwritten letter!

  12. Tuija says:

    I like my handwriting… You know, in Finland, cursive (and handwriting) is still part of the curriculum and it does not look like it’s going away. It’s not a subject on its own, it’s just a part of learning your mother tongue. They’ve actually changes the cursive style taught at schools over the years – it’s been simplified so that it’s not so much different from printed letters. We’re working on it with my son, who’s 8 – he does not exactly love it, but keeps getting better. (The fine motor thing…) I think I should be more intentional about helping him figure out where to start the letters and how to link them, so he might find it easier.
    As someone else already commented, pen/pencil and paper don’t need electricity, and you can carry them anywhere. And handwritten notes, letters and cards are wonderful.

  13. Ann Wood says:

    Dear Anne,
    Thank you for your timely and instructive “hints” to folk who need to, but seldom do,
    send notes.
    Perhaps you should check your suggestion for the thank you sent after being invited to dinner: “thank you for inviting William and I” should read “thank you for inviting William and ME to dinner”

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