Happy National Handwriting Day!
Whether I write in cursive, print, or block letters, I like to make my letters neat, consistent, and evenly spaced. I attended handwriting classes in Catholic school when I was six years old, and I've been fascinated with neat penmanship ever since!
When I posted these short and sweet handwriting tips, I got a flurry of requests to elaborate on them. (I'm sorry that it took this long!) And, upon reflection, I realized that for me personally, there is a lot more to it than just these three tips.
I was sixteen years old when I worked my first job making parade costumes. It was a job that required nimble fingers and neat craftsmanship. My boss told me, "First, work on your accuracy. Speed will come with time and practice." I found that this advice could be applied to nearly every aspect of my life.
So my advice to you is, slow down. Really look at how you create your letters. Are you happy with how you make each letter? Is the spacing to your satisfaction? If you want to change something about your handwriting, it will take time to retrain your muscle memory. As you practice, you can start to speed up incrementally.
When I can, I'll take my time writing in my journal or planner because I value legibility. But of course, sometimes life doesn't let us take our time. Here's a sample of my handwriting when I'm writing slow and when I'm writing fast. It's still recognizably mine, but just a little more scrawly:
Write Smaller (or Bigger!)
Now, this isn't going to apply to everyone. Handwriting aesthetic is purely subjective, and it is a part of your personality. If you like to write larger than life, that's awesome! Do you! For me personally, I decided that I wanted to write smaller, and I found that for my small hands, it was easier to write consistently if I shrunk my handwriting by 20% or so (I'm totally making that percentage up).
What if you're not sure what size you want to write in? Well, I suggest trying out a bunch of different variations! Grab a piece of paper and your preferred writing utensil. Write out a quote, a song lyric, a sentence from a book, or the ubiquitous phrase, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." Then, write the same thing again, but this time make it a little bit bigger. Write it a little bit smaller. Write it again, but space out your letters more. Write it again, but a little taller and narrower. (You get the idea.) Now, cross out the ones that you don't like. See which ones you do like. Once you've settled on a certain style, you can use it as your template for the next tip!
I can't tell you how many handwriting practice pads I went through as a kid in Catholic school, trying to get a good grade. Again, it's all about training your muscle memory. Write out the uppercase and lowercase alphabet over and over until you can make each letter consistently. If you can spare a few minutes everyday, I suggest doing short daily practice sessions. Here's my lowercase alphabet:
Find the Right Writing Utensil for You
I think it's super important to keep in mind that buying a certain pen probably won't drastically change your handwriting. However... finding a tool that you enjoy using can make you want to practice writing more. The ink flow might be smoother. Maybe you prefer super thin pens (0.28mm) over thick ones (1mm)! Maybe gel ink pens are your jam, and you can't stand fountain pens. If you can get to a store that allows you to test pens, I suggest trying out a bunch to see what your preferences are.
Change Up Your Angle
I write with my paper or notebook anywhere between a 45-90 degree angle. This can make recording a bit tricky (see the wacky angle in the video below). I think most people angle their paper naturally, but see if angling your paper or notebook at an extreme angle makes a difference!
Embrace the Quirks
At the end of the day, our handwriting is going to have little quirks here and there no matter how much we practice, how slow we go, or what angle we rotate our paper. In the past, I used to rip out notebook pages if it wasn't consistent with other pages. (Poor notebooks!) Once I accepted that not everything I write is going to be perfect, I ended up loving writing in my planners and journals even more.
This is a little video that shows some really wonky spacing in my letters, but it's legible and gets the message across:
I hope you've found some of these tips helpful, and that it makes you want to write something down instead of typing it up on your phone!
Happy National Handwriting Day, and thank you so much for reading my blog!
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