It happens when you receive a postcard in the mail from a friend. Or perhaps when someone lets you copy their meeting notes. It may even happen when peering over someone’s shoulder at a coffee shop or café. You have handwriting envy. You see the elegant, even, and slightly pitched notes of someone with exceptional handwriting form and you feel jealously build inside you as you look down at your own scratched, uneven, ragged script. If you’re ready to improve your handwriting, so that you too can produce correspondence that manifests envy in others, read our tips below for improving your handwriting.
1. Start by analyzing a recent sample of your own handwriting. How would you define your style? Are your letters small, compact and angular? Rounded with tall ascenders and lengthy descenders? Do your words slant forward to the right? Backward to the left? Or do they have a general inconsistent appearance that makes it hard to categorize any patterns at all?
2. Find inspiration. If you’re hoping to improve your handwriting, you likely already have an idea of what you want it to look like. Is it the size that you hope to improve? A consistency in slant? Or perhaps overall legibility. Find an example of how you’d like your handwriting to appear, and use that as reference as you follow the improvement tips below.
3. With your goals in mind, it’s time to retrain your brain. The muscles in your hand already have an idea of how letters should be shaped. To overcome that muscle memory, instead of writing with the muscles in your hand and fingers, focus your mind on writing with your whole arm and shoulder, feeling the new way you form each letter with precision and care. To practice, try writing in the air, rather than with pen to paper. Writing in the air will force your arm and shoulder to get involved and will help you focus on the sensation of creating the proper letter shapes.
4. Consider how you are holding your pen. Part of your struggle to form well-shaped letters may stem from how you hold your pen or pencil—another aspect of familiarity and muscle memory likely developed at a young age, though not impossible to overcome. The ideal way to hold a pen for best results in letter shaping is to hold it between your thumb and index fingers. The end of the pen should rest against either the web of your hand or the knuckle of your index finger. For best results, hold the bottom third of your pen, and find a comfortable pressure where you’re holding it not too firmly, but not too loosely.
5. Practice, practice, practice. Practice basic shapes—not letters—using your new grip and rehearsed arm movement. Start by just practicing vertical and horizontal lines, loops, and slants, until the movements feel more natural both mentally and physically.
6. Practice the alphabet. Using your inspirational reference material, practice each and every letter, both uppercase and lowercase, until you are comfortable and confident creating them to the exact shape, size, and slant that you want. Working just one letter at a time, create multiple rows and watch your progress improve.
7. Write with a fountain pen. Fountain pens have been found to help people improve their hand writing. They require less pressure for ink to glide across the page, which improves posture and pressure, two factors that can cause cramped, messy letters. An affordable, comfortable fountain pen for beginners is the LAMY AL-Star. Choose from one of its many colors to inspire your education, such as platinum, blue green, purple, and ocean blue.