Mechanical Techniques

I'm probably using the wrong phrase here, since I just made it up and it might have a completely different meaning that I know nothing about. To clarify what I'm talking about, let me start with a couple questions:

Is having good handwriting important to you?

Is it valuable to be able to spell things correctly without the assistance of spellcheck?

Is there merit in being able to choose the correct word to suit your purpose?

If your answer to any of these was "but I have something that will do that for me," then I think this may be an interesting discussion, because it may be that I'm in a minority that thinks practicing good handwriting and spelling and word choice are all worthy pursuits.

Let me explain.

First of all, let me establish that I don't think it's a Bad Thing to use technology to make your words more legible (typing), or your spelling more correct (autocorrect), or your words more fitting (Grammarly and others). There's nothing inherently wrong in using technology for the things it was designed for. That's why it's there.

However, I do think it's a Bad Thing when a person is not able to function without those technological aids. If a person's handwriting and spelling and word choice make a written note unreadable or incomprehensible, then I think this is what we would call "a problem."

Not to say that everyone should be held to the exact same standard. There are physical and neurological differences in the human specie that make things like writing and spelling difficult for some people, and there's obviously nothing wrong with those people using the conveniences of technology to increase accessibility to the world as we know it (that is, a world that's at least half on the internet). That said, I believe that even those who have alternate standards should actively practice the skills that form the foundation of those functions.

Why am I talking about this?

Excellent question, random citizen!

A friend of mine recently discovered Swype. For those of you that don't know what that is, it's like cursive for typing, where you put your finger on the screen and just drag it over the letters you want to type, and the software puts together the word it thinks you're getting at. Friend and I got into a discussion over whether or not this style of typing qualified as lazy, and if it was a bad thing if it wasn't as accurate as typing things out one letter at a time.

Spoiler - I do think it's lazy typing, but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with being lazy about your typing. I think there's a problem with those conveniences when I begin to lose the habits that made me a good and accurate typer (is that even a word?) when I was typing with both thumbs (or all ten fingers, as the case may be).

I think these things (handwriting, typing, spelling, vocabulary) are skills worth advancing, even if it's a little inconvenient. I already know several people that can't read out of my notebook because they can't read cursive, and this makes me sad. I don't want to see more skills like that lost because it's easier to do something a different way.

What about you, Inklings? Are there skills you think are worth practicing, even though it's inconvenient?

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