In our digital era of texting and typing, there seems to be little space for writing.
We just scribble down some notes during meetings or quickly jot down a grocery list on a piece of scrap paper.
Although we write these things down in a rapid fashion without much thinking, you would be surprised by the number of people that judge somebody else by their handwriting.
Receiving a birthday card that shows neat handwriting and good penmanship will definitely give a much more favorable impressing than receiving a card with indecipherable scribbles.
Why Improve Your Handwriting?
So you are wondering why you would work on making your handwriting better? Even in a time were everything is done digitally?
Here are a few reasons to work on your handwriting:
- Convenience: let’s admit it, using a pen and paper is just much easier than taking out your laptop, finding the right app or software and making sure your electronic device is always charged.
- Speed: most people can write on paper much faster than they can type on a computer.
- Accuracy: when typing slowly people constantly make typos. And the faster you type, the more mistakes.
- Accessibility: pen and paper are always easy to find and don’t need batteries. You might lend a stranger your pen, but not your tablet, right?
- Physical benefits: according to recent research learning how to write and working on improving your writing can help your motor skills or cognitive abilities.
- Personality: you can infuse a lot of personality in your writing that you simply can’t convey by simply choosing a different font on the computer.
Most Common Mistakes
There are many reasons why your writing might look sloppy or is difficult to read.
The first step of getting better at handwriting is by taking a closer look at some of your own writing.
Here are some points to look for if you want to know how to make your handwriting better.
- Slant: a slight slant can result in an elegant italic or cursive font. However, too much of a slant can be very difficult to read, so don’t overdo it.
- Alignment: in primary school, we all learn to write between the lines. Remember that those lines are there to help you, so use them to your advantage.
- Size: there should be a clear size difference between upper and lower case letters. This difference should neither be too big or too small. Double lined paper can be a great help if you have difficulty with size.
- Spacing: both the spacing between letters and between words is important. Letters should be spaced in such a way that each letter can be clearly identified. At the same time, they shouldn’t be too far apart since that might make it seem like the start of a new word.
- Consistency: many mistakes can be considered to be style choices as long as you make them consistent. Neat handwriting is characterized by a consistent slant, alignment, size and spacing throughout.
Do These 5 Important Steps Before Writing
Improving your handwriting can take considerable time and effort.
However, there are a few things you can do that have nothing to do with the writing itself but can still help you.
So before you start practicing your handwriting, make sure to go through the following steps:
- Utensils: there are many different utensils you can use to write. Writing with a fountain pen is popular because the special tip of a fountain pen allows for both thin and thick lines, resulting in many possible techniques. Nowadays, you can get a pretty good fountain pen for a lower price than you might expect. If fountain pens are a little too challenging you can always start by using a different utensil such as the ballpoint, felt pen or the good old pencil.
- Posture: your posture while writing can be just as important as the way you are holding the pen itself. Make sure you are comfortable; adjust the chair to the right height, let your entire armrest on the table and keep your back straight.
- Holding Your Pen Correctly it is worth paying some attention to the way you hold your pen. Use your thumb and index or middle finger to hold the pencil around 1/3 from the bottom. Let the end of the pen rest against the web of your hand while you keep your other fingers relaxed. Also check if the pen is making a 30~45 degree angle with the paper.
- Stretching Your Hands: it takes no genius to realize that texting and typing are very different motions from writing. Just like any other type of exercise, it’s best to do some light stretching and warm up your hands before you start writing.
- Paper Position: to allow for easy writing slightly tilt the paper to a 40-degree angle to the left if you are right-handed and vice versa. As you are writing, make small changes to the angle to find what works best for you.
How To Practice Your Handwriting
Now you know everything you need to start improving your handwriting. But what kind of practice do you need to make your handwriting neater?
Here are 5 easy steps you can follow to make your handwriting better:
- Practice The Basics: all letters are made up by a combination of lines and circles. So to write well, you need to master these basic strokes. For some simple practice, draw straight horizontal lines for 5 to 10 minutes until you notice that every stroke is straight and looks identical. Then move on to vertical lines and circles and do the same thing.
- Writing Letters: now combine the basics you just practiced and focus on individual letters. Write both the lower-case and upper-case at least 10 times before moving on to the next letter.
- Writing Full Sentences: if you get the hang of individual letters, it’s time to practice with entire sentences and paragraphs. Pay extra attention to the spacing between letters and words. What you are writing doesn’t really matter. But for some ideals, check at the bottom of this article.
- Use Your Entire Arm: writing involves not only your hand but your entire arm and shoulder. Especially when writing long sentences you will have to frequently move your arm to prevent writing under a difficult angle.
- Taking It Slow: when practicing you want to take things slow and make sure you don’t make any mistakes. Only start to speed up your writing when you are confident that you can maintain a neat handwriting.
Handwriting Practice For Adults
- Inspiring quotes
- Postcards and letters
- Lyrics of your favorite songs
- Handwriting worksheets
Start Practicing Today
Having a good pen is crucial for good handwriting. Any type of pen will do.
However, fountain pens have been used for centuries because you can easily control the width of your lines by changing the angle and pressure.
Good fountain pens can also be used for a variety of different calligraphy styles.
So if you want to improve your handwriting I strongly recommend using a fountain pen.
Although good fountain pens used to cost thousands of dollars, nowadays you can get a great one for less than $20.
The key to neat handwriting is consistent practice.
A journal is great for daily writing. Looking at those blank pages just makes you want to fill them up.
Moreover, after weeks of practice you can easily look back to the first page in your journal and see how much progress you have made.
Recently bullet journaling has become super popular. Why not start one yourself and improve your handwriting?