I’m thinking of using a graphics tablet and gregg for text, but I’m concerned about hand pain/tiredness/cramping. How is gregg for these? Writing for a while usually results in pain for me. I can however use the keyboard for long stretches without anything. 

(by mk7357 for everyone)

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  1. I had the same experience if I wrote Gregg for too long. I found that switching to holding the pen between my forefinger and middle finger solved it. The only problem is adjusting to the slightly different position, but I find it's a much more comfortable way to write in general.

    Check also that you're not bending your hand up toward your arm as you write, and that you move your whole forearm to move your hand across the page instead of pivoting your wrist.

  2. Any successful shorthand can be written for hours without cramping, at least by the good writers. It's more a matter of how you do it. Holding the pen too tightly, or writing at an angle that's not natural, or using a pen that doesn't glide right or with too large / small / slippery a barrel, will cause problems.

    I find with printing, I hold the pen one way to print nice straight letters, and another to write slanted. But turning the paper doesn't work; I twist myself so I still hold it the same way.

    It's worth reading some of the advice given for neat penmanship. Some of it is too strict, but they do have things to try.

    Writing should involve the shoulder. Sounds strange, but it's true. My son had occupational therapy for poor handwriting, and writing on the wall was part of it, about 12" high, as was writing with his finger about 6" high and keeping his wrist straight. Letting his fingers move was the final step. I tried it myself, and it works.


  3. That's the definition of properly. It works, for long stretches, without pain, and you can still write neatly enough for it to be read. There's been a lot of study done on it, and a lot of flip-flops about what to do about kids who hold the pen in a non-standard way. They used to force you to do it one way, then they got flexible, then too flexible, now they're tightening it up again.

    When the OT saw my son, she did all sorts of hand dexterity and strength and "sensing" tests before he picked up a pencil. Hold different size objects in one hand, turn them around with only one hand, do it behind your back. Identify things behind your back. I researched it online afterwards, and I assume that for some kids she'd assign exercises to strengthen and stretch the hand, others she'd recommend a different grip. In my son's case, the problems were visual-motor-co-ordination and visual memory; he doesn't remember visually, so can't copy a shape from memory; we tried to train his muscle memory instead.

    From my own observations:

    I sometimes use a very free-flowing pen that I have to keep moving, and find when I switch back to ballpoint I move my hand differently.

    A lot of pens have barrels that get smaller towards the tip, so your hand keeps sliding down, so you have to grip tighter (which causes you to slide down more). Some "soft" grips are too spongy; you feel you have to squeeze it really hard to hold it firmly. "Sticky" barrels get unsticky, or can make it just that much harder to make tiny adjustments. Too small a barrel can be awkward. One brand only writes when held fairly upright, another needs a specific slant. The fancy grips to force kids to hold it "right" (we've tried four different brands) have to be sized just right, be positioned at the right part of the barrel (depending on the kid), and not slide. And if you don't hold it exactly right, they're uncomfortable. (One model worked great for most of a year, until he discovered a softer one; he preferred the softer one, but his writing was worse.)

    Then we have how the pen moves over the paper. How hard do you like to press?

    So, yes, using a pen properly will be as easy as using a keyboard, provided the pen matches your hand and writing style, and you're holding it correctly for your own hand. (And, of course, build up to the long times, something you have to do with typing as well.)


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