"It is often said that good writing is a ‘special gift.’ This idea is not only fallacious, but is exceedingly pernicious as regards the acquisition of good writing, inasmuch as it tends to discourage pupils who write badly, by leading them to believe that, not having ‘the gift,’ they are debarred from becoming good writers.
Good writing is no more a gift than is good reading, spelling, grammar, or any other attainment, and in the same way it is and can be acquired, by patient and studious effort.
The correct form and construction of writing by be learned by study, while practice must give the manual dexterity for its easy and graceful execution. Many persons fail to become good writers from not properly uniting study & practice. Careful study with too little practice will give writing comparatively accurate in its form and manner of construction, but labored, stiff and awkward in execution; while, upon the other hand, much practice with little study imparts a more easy and flowing style, but with much less accuracy as regards the forms of letters and general proportion and construction of writing, which will commonly have a loose and sprawly appearance.”
—From Ames’ Guide to Self-Instruction in Practical and Artistic Penmanship by Daniel T. Ames, 1884