People often assume that calligraphy and handwriting are synonymous, but they’re not. In general, calligraphy is comprised of stylized, embellished letters — it’s more art than writing, really. Conversely, handwriting refers to the style and technique that you use to jot things down day to day. Handwriting needs to be quicker and more practical than calligraphy. While everyone has their own personal handwriting style, there’s always room for improvement! In this post, you’ll find eight tips to help you improve your handwriting.
1. Use a Nice Pen
The adjective “nice” is subjective — you’ll have to hunt to find the pen that works for you! My choice of pen for everyday writing is the Pilot G2 05 because of the stroke width, the grip, and the jet black ink. I also like that it’s so responsive; I don’t have to exert a lot of pressure on the pen to ensure consistent ink flow.
You can find thousands of pens on the market, so I encourage you to shop around. Pick up a pen here and there, and give it a try! It doesn’t matter if you prefer gel pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens … whatever you connect with the best is perfect.
2. Maintain a Relaxed Grip
A nice, relaxed grip is one of the main things that will improve your handwriting. A “relaxed grip” means that none of the muscles in your hand are overly flexed, and your fingernails shouldn’t be white from squeezing the pen’s barrel.
Many people tend to clutch the pen, which will result in an achy hand after a few minutes of writing. We often clutch without realizing we’re doing it, so try to mentally check yourself every few minutes to make sure you’re still holding the pen comfortably.
3. Start with Drills
Whether you plan on writing in cursive or print, it can be difficult to form nice letters without warming up. Doing a couple of simple drills will help you to write clear, confident characters. You can use the Drills section of the Improve Your Cursive Worksheet …
… Or you can doodle a few “telephone wires” or similar forms.
Whatever gets your hand used to writing for the day will be perfect!
4. Experiment with Paper Rotations
As children, we are generally taught to keep our paper in a vertical position in front of us. If that works for you, great! If not, feel free to experiment with different paper rotations. Keeping the paper at a certain angle can go a long way in helping you to improve your handwriting!
Most right-handed people are fine with the traditional vertical paper position … but I’m not one of them. I have always found it easier to write — particularly in cursive, which is my style of choice — when my paper is rotated 90 degrees. I’m not kidding: you can watch this super-short video to see!
Paper rotation is a personal thing, so I encourage you to try all sorts of different angles. Right-handed people should start at the vertical position, and rotate the paper to the left until writing feels easy and comfortable. Left-handed people should start at the vertical position, and rotate the paper to the right.
5. Practice with a Worksheet
If you want a structured way to improve your handwriting, I made a free worksheet for you! It’s three pages long and focuses on cursive writing — you can download it by clicking here. Basically, the worksheet takes you through drills, capital and lowercase letters, words, and sentences.
The cursive writing featured in the worksheet set isn’t any sort of formal style. Instead, it focuses on the letterforms that I, personally, use in everyday cursive handwriting. Those letters are easy to create, and they connect to each other beautifully to make for quick writing.
If you would prefer to practice with a book, there are many options available! I’m particularly intrigued by Great Literature Copywork and the Advanced Cursive Handwriting Practice Workbook for Teens (which I would absolutely use as an adult).
6. Sneak in Practice When You Can
Just like anything else, you can improve your handwriting with use. The more you write using good habits and implementing styles that appeal to you, the better your handwriting will get.
You can get practice through a number of ways — for example, you might send someone a hand-written letter in place of an email or text. If you have the time and interest, you can start writing in a journal every night. Entries don’t have to be long; they can be short accounts of how your day went!
7. Write on Lined Paper or Use a Template
Writing nice, even words are a big shortcut to neat handwriting! If you want to write a letter to someone, you can put a piece of notebook paper under printer paper. More than likely, you’ll be able to see the notebook paper lines through the printer paper, and you can use those lines as guidelines for even writing. Or, if you don’t mind the lines, you can write someone a letter directly on notebook paper.
This point reminds me of another tip: always use a “padding” piece of paper. No matter what piece of paper you’re writing on, it should always have another piece of paper under it. For some reason, the slightly cushier surface provided by two pieces of paper makes it easier for all pens to write!
8. Embrace Your Personal Style
Handwriting is a very fluid, personal thing that is always evolving. It’s not like calligraphy, where you more or less write the same every time. Instead, you’ll have neat days, and you’ll have not-so-neat days (like the notes pictured below).
No matter how your handwriting looks, it is a wonderful reflection of you and your personality. That’s why people love receiving handwritten notes: they represent a piece of you! So, don’t get too hung up on a radical change: instead, focus on making clearly formed letters that are easy to read.
I hope that you enjoyed this post, and that it inspires you to ditch the keyboard and write something by hand this weekend! Don’t forget that you can download the Improve Your Cursive Worksheet for free if you want a cursive refresher. It’s not a complicated little worksheet, and it should be helpful!
Thanks very, very much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your day!