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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Your "Best" Writing

When people give me writing to analyze they almost always apologize that it is not their "best" writing, and follow up with some reason why.

But I don't want their "best" writing, and neither do you if you are going to be looking for personality traits in the script.

Think of a little child, whom you tell to be on their "best" behavior.

What does that child do?

Assuming they really are trying to be on their best behavior, they will try to behave in the way that they have been taught is the "right" way to behave. This will be what they have been told by parents or teachers.

In succesfully doing so, the child will hide most of his/her natural personality, and show only what s/he has been told is acceptable behavior. If you really want to get to know that child, you want to observe him/her playing, mixing with other kids, and generally being free and open.

The same happens with your best writing.

At some point in your life, you were taught to write. At that point, correct writing was what the teacher wrote on the board, or what was shown in the writing text book. You copied that to the best of your ability to create what was expected of you, and what was considered good writing.

You may or may not at a later time in your life had an interest in good writing. If you did, it was probably because you didn't like the look of yours, or that others were having trouble reading it, so you once more decided to adopt a "best" writing style.

Either way, the chances are that you adopted a style that someone else created and copied it carefully. Whenever you varied from that style, you considered it a mistake, or bad writing. So in your mind, good writing is actually someone else's writing style.

And in analyzing handwriting, obviously, we want the personality of the writer him or herself, not someone else, or (what would actually be the case) partly someone else.

So for analyzing, we want not the best writing, but what I refer to as your "normal scrawl." How you write when you are in a hurry, or just writing a memo to yourself. Your off-camera writing style.

This is where the real you shows through with less influence from others.

So anytime you are analyzing writing, yours or someone else's, make sure it's the writer's "normal scrawl" and keep the "best" writing for thank you letters and official documents.

Find out more about what your writing says about you...

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