Writing is hard. And I don't just mean writing in the sense of the textual medium that makes use of a set of signs or symbols. I mean butt-in-the-chair, hands-on-the-desk writing: the physical activity.
For people who lived during the early modern era in England -- people for whom quill-and-ink was, Internet-like, a new technology -- putting pen to paper was a new challenge to take on. And it was a bit of a technological mystery, too. How do you hold a pen? How do you angle your elbow? How do you orient your paper?
So many questions. Thankfully, though, early modern England had its own versions of eHow. One of these was a book of writing advice, published in 1611 by Richard Field. The manual's title is commonly shorthanded to A new booke, containing all sorts of hands ... but its full title is the slightly less concise A Nevv Booke, containing all sorts of hands vsvally written at this day in Christendome, as the English and French Secretary, the Roman, Italian, French, Spanish, high and low Dutch, Court and Chancerie hands: with Examples of each of them in their proper tongue and Letter. Also an Example of the true and iust proportion of the Romane Capitals. Collected by the best approued writers in these languages.