Who would’ve thought it could take so long to learn one’s alphabet? March is over, but the handwriting must remain. Somehow. After 20 hours of practice with the Palmer Method of Business Handwriting, I definitely made significant progress, but I’m not yet to the point where it is particularly quick or attractive. At all. I think it would take a total of 30–40 hours to get to the point where I can write quickly, and not have to try and think of how each letter is formed, while simultaneously having the letters consistent & nice. To improve my handwriting at this point I need to shift my focus from handwriting to just writing. My individual letters are reasonable, but words are not. I must simply write a large volume of words, to train my mind to write with quick & beautiful penmanship.
The first six hours or so were spent just making circles and groups of lines, which would at first appear a monumental waste of time and paper, but in doing so, I trained myself to write using my entire arm, instead of just the wrist. Because of this practice employed by the Palmer Method, I was able to easily practice for an hour at a time without tiring in the slightest.
At the beginning of the month it took me 3 minutes 19 seconds to write the upper & lower case alphabet, ten numerals, and “A specimen of my best writing before I began to practice muscular movement writing from the lessons in The Palmer Method of Business Writing.” After 21 hours of practice with Palmer, it took me 8 minutes and 24 seconds—about three times as long! But even just practicing the letters and that phrase a few times at the end, I could tell that I was speeding up each time. The biggest problem is, as I mentioned, that good handwriting takes a little longer to learn. After 20 hours of practice, I was still mostly doing drills, writing “mine”, “uses”, “sell”, and my lower-case alphabet. I had not yet gotten into writing much of your general words, and as writing actual words with a new script takes some mental effort, it slowed things down considerably. I do believe though that I could hit my original goal of 20 words per minute after another 20 hours (40 total) of focused practice.
After these three months, it is beginning to appear to me that 20 of practice on most skills is not enough to be truly proficient, or to have an actually impressive skill level (although this may be different for things like unicycling & handstands). Instead it appears to be just enough skill to enable one to continue in that skill without frustration, and to enjoy it a bit.
I would say that The Palmer Method of Business Writing is definitely an excellent handwriting method, both for legibility, speed, and physical ease. With that said, I completely understand why handwriting is typically taught over years of school, instead of one month.