In my experience, handwriting doesn’t reflect personality in general. Instead, it’s an ever-changing representation of your mood, the non-written message you want to communicate, and aesthetic preference! Today, we’ll examine six ways to improve your cursive handwriting to make it neater (maybe just for today, maybe indefinitely — up to you). I’ll also introduce you…
For years, I puzzled over whether a person’s cursive handwriting really could improve: after all, isn’t handwriting supposed to reflect personality? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that people’s handwriting changes depending on their mood and the day, and I’m no exception. With that in mind, I believe it’s absolutely possible to improve or change your handwriting, and today, we’ll focus on cursive handwriting in particular. First, we’ll talk about six ways to improve your cursive handwriting, and then I’ll tell you about TPK’s new Elegant Cursive Handwriting Worksheet.
1. Find your “Goldilocks Speed”
It’s telling that the word “cursive” derives from the Latin “currere”, which means “to run/to hasten”. For most people, writing in cursive is quicker than writing in print. In fact, if you overthink your cursive and write too slowly, it can end up looking a bit choppy. For that reason, it’s important to experiment and find your own “Goldilocks speed”. The majority of writers will achieve more aesthetically pleasing cursive by writing at a fairly quick pace. That’s certainly been my experience!
2. Write With a Fast-Flowing Pen
The easier that ink flows from the tip of your pen, the more fluid your cursive will look. A responsive pen can help you to create confident cursive letterforms, plus it makes for faster writing! If you can get your hands on one, a fountain pen is fantastic for writing in cursive. Fountain pens, however, aren’t always practical to take on the go. Below the photo, you can find a few recommendations for cursive-friendly pens.
Pilot Falcon fountain pen – I have the “Extra Fine” pen and love it. At $180, it’s a pricey pen, but it will last you for decades to come.
Lamy Safari – This is a good beginner fountain pen that is durable and has excellent ink flow. (At $30, it’s much less expensive than the Falcon!)
Pentel Energel – This gel pen’s ink flows freely and easily, making it easy to write cursive with.
Pilot G2 05 – Like the Energel, this gel pen has a smooth ink that flows nicely from the nib.
3. Use Guidelines
Cursive created using guidelines will almost always look neater than cursive written without them. If you can, write on lined paper. If you want to write neat cursive on a blank piece of paper, use a light box to shine guidelines up through the paper. (Wondering if you can justify buying a light box? See this article.)
4. Rotate Your Paper
The majority of beautiful cursive handwriting relies on a consistent right-leaning slant. This slant will likely be most achievable if you rotate your paper. How severe that rotation is depends on your personal preference! When I write in cursive, the left edge of my paper is almost always parallel to the edge of my table. Left-handed writers may find it easiest to create right-leaning cursive by rotating their paper clockwise. Try different paper rotations and see what works best for you!
5. Relax (No Clutching!)
Most of us tense up when we want to do something well. In some situations, tension leads to more control and heightened awareness. In the case of cursive, however, clutching your pen and approaching the task at hand with rigidity results in shaky, unnatural-looking strokes. To combat that, try your best to keep a relaxed grip on your pen, maintain a comfortable posture, and take regular calming breaths.
6. Reference an Exemplar
If you’re writing in cursive at home, consider referencing an exemplar as you write. Exemplars come in especially handy if you want to learn how to write in a certain style. In the case of cursive, I’ve found that I need to use a reference exemplar for the first few notes/letters/greetings that I write. Then, after that, I’ve got the letterforms memorized.
TPK has several exemplars to help you improve your cursive, all with varying levels of instruction. You can find them here:
For the past year, I’ve been putting together a worksheet to teach you how to write in an elegant, vintage-looking cursive style. The letterforms and many of the exercises in the worksheet were inspired by Modern Business Penmanship, a cursive booklet published in 1903 by Edward C. Mills.
The goal of the worksheet set is to give you a new and beautiful way to express yourself in writing. To be clear, once you learn the elegant cursive style in the worksheet, you don’t have to use that style every time you go to write something! (I certainly don’t.) Instead, call on it when you feel like creating cursive handwriting that’s elegant, refined, and just a pinch casual.
A fair warning: the Elegant Cursive Handwriting Worksheet is not something you’ll breeze through in a couple of days. It includes intentional and intensive practice, which gives you a thorough understanding of how to form each character. Give yourself plenty of time to fill it out, and remember to make your practice enjoyable! A pleasant environment — replete with favorites like snacks, beverages, and music — will go a long way in helping you look forward to your cursive practice.
I hope that you enjoyed this article! Cursive is such a beautiful way to write, and I know that you can produce a cursive handwriting style that you’re proud of with a few tweaks and some determination. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments! Happy practicing!
This article includes affiliate links to Goldspot pens.