7 Tips to Improve Handwriting
Exactly one year ago, on National Handwriting Day, I wrote a blog post of some tips and tricks to improve handwriting. It was essentially a compilation of some of my handwriting videos, and I kept my advice very general (slow down, write bigger or smaller, etc). In this post, I elaborate on that advice, and I’ve taken proper photos. I have even learned how to create animated gifs of my writing, but I’ll save that for another post!
One of my most frequently asked questions is, “How can I make my handwriting neater?” And although my handwriting is not perfect—I’m not a machine!—I do like how it’s small, cute, and consistent (for the most part). Here are some of the things I do to write as neatly and legibly as possible.
1 · Find a Good Setup
Before you begin, find a comfortable position that allows you the most control over your writing. This is mostly a matter of personal preference. I don’t know about you, but my handwriting suffers if I’m curled up on my couch or my bean bag chair. I find that I prefer sitting at my desk with my paper pad or notebook angled to the left because I am right-handed. This might be different for you; maybe you like your paper to be vertical, or at a 90 degree angle! (And maybe your handwriting looks the same whether you’re at a desk or you’re super comfy in bed. If so—lucky you!)
Mind your grip as well. Have a relaxed but controlled grip on your pen or pencil; it should be comfortable enough to write for a prolonged period of time without hurting your hand!
2 · Use a Writing Utensil That Sparks Joy
The last thing I want is for anyone to think that having a fancy pants pen will automatically improve their penmanship. That being said, I do think using a pen that you like will positively affect how you approach writing. I am somewhat of a pen hoarder; I’ve got cheap-o gel pens, art fineliners, and a few aforementioned fancy pants fountain pens. I write pretty much the same way with any writing utensil, but I’m more likely to write mindfully with a pen that I prefer (like a fountain pen) than with a pen that I don’t really enjoy using. The point is, find a pen that sparks joy in some way for you, whether it’s a Lamy fountain pen or a Pilot G2 or a Sakura Pigma Micron Pen. (For a list of my favorite pens, click here!)
3 · Develop Accuracy Before Speed
If I had a dollar for every comment on my writing videos lamenting the slow pace, I’d have... well, just a few bucks, because most people that comment are very positive and enjoy the calm nature of my posts! Yay! Besides the fact that writing with a tripod and camera in front of my face slows me down significantly, I do like to take my sweet time when I write even without my recording equipment. There is no good substitute for slowing down to work on accurate and consistent letterforms. Sorry, folks. It’s the same with every other skill, isn’t it? With practice, you’ll develop the muscle memory needed to write faster over time.
4 · Work on Consistency
What makes handwriting look neat? Consistency. It’s something that I’m still working on for certain writing styles, as you can see in this photograph! It also goes to show that any handwriting style can be improved. If you want to improve the legibility of your existing handwriting, really make an effort to create similar letterforms across the board. Pay attention to consistency in size, spacing, and slant as well—using paper guidelines comes in very handy. I prefer dot grid paper, but for even more control, try squared graph paper.
5 · Practice with Worksheets
If you’re interested in a more structured approach, I suggest going back to basics with a handwriting worksheet. I started offering printable practice sheets in my online shop when I started to receive the question, “How can I write like you?” These sheets are based off of my real handwriting, so they contain all the idiosyncrasies that make my writing unique. I encourage you to put your own spin on it if you wish!
6 · Practice With Everyday Writing
If you prefer a more organic way of practicing handwriting, then I suggest doing what I do, which is to incorporate handwriting practice into my everyday routine. I’ve been writing in my bullet journal for 10-15 minutes every morning, which counts as handwriting practice for me. Sneak some practice into your daily routine—maybe it’s writing the neatest grocery list that ever existed or delighting your coworkers with a mega-consistent meeting agenda on the conference room whiteboard.
7 · Embrace The Quirks
Despite all of the “flaws” that I see in this days of the week gif—the inconsistent letterforms, the squished spacing, the bouncy baseline—I LOVE it. It’s one of my favorite videos of my writing, because I had fun with it. And it’s so stylistically me.
Your handwriting is distinct, and it’s a part of your personality. The imperfections are what makes it YOUR handwriting. The end goal is not to produce a font—if it was, we’d just type everything—it is to produce a writing style that you enjoy.
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