Handwriting is unique to each individual, a fundamental way to make our mark and a part of our identity and personality that can’t be translated digitally – it’s the reason your signature is still so important.
Sending a handwritten letter or note to someone has a far greater impact than an email or text message. Even receiving a handwritten note – think of that moment of anticipation when you recognise the senders writing on the envelope as you go through your mail.
People are fully accustomed to typing now and handwriting has suffered as a result. For many it has reached a point where they are apprehensive about their handwriting so we’ve put together a quick guide to help you improve your handwriting.
While traditionally people believe that a fountain pen is the best way to achieve attractive handwriting, this may not necessarily be true for you. You need to a pen or pencil that feels comfortable and relaxing to hold, and that flows across the page without having to put too much pressure onto the paper. It’ll take experimenting to find the right pen for you.
Also, depending what hand you write with may also be a factor – specific pens for left handed writers can have a dramatic impact on their writing.
Having materials that are a pleasure to write on is important, as is having a reason to practice. Make sure you’ve got an adequate supply of paper both for practicing and for actually using such as quick notes, letters, a journal or just post-it notes.
Many people have terrible memories of having the correct way to hold a pen or pencil drilled into them from an early age at school, when in fact their fingers just didn’t seem to form to that required shape. Again, our guidance would be to find the way of holding the pen that is allows you control, consistency and comfort.
Posture is important when writing. Sit with your back straight, feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed. Your hand and arm should be relaxed. Have your forearm resting on the table, so that the arm moves the fingers rather than the wrist. Before starting to write it is recommended you lightly stretch and flex your hands.
It may seem like we’re getting back to the school teacher shouting at you to sit straight in class, but the reality is that writing can actually be a therapeutic way to spend time and the posture you maintain will allow you to tap into the flow and maintain it for longer.
As people are used to having a fast typing speed they can often approach handwriting with the same vigour. Writing a note or letter takes time and consideration so do not rush. Knowing what you want to write and making sure you have the time available will make you able to focus and ensure your message is clear and easily understood.
You need to practice your writing, but do so deliberately and take time to answer a few questions during your practice:
Should I write in cursive or print script? This decision can have a significant impact on the clarity and fluidity of your writing, while cursive is seen as the more ‘developed’ handwriting style, we recommend what ever style works best for you and for the reader.
Should I write slanted or straight? Again, this will make a difference to your legibility and the attractiveness of your handwriting but has to be based on what suits your style better.
Which letters need work? It sounds simple, but write out the alphabet – which letters are you unhappy with? How can they be improved and focus on those letters.
What handwriting do I admire? Practicing someone else’s handwriting is an entertaining way of expanding your control over the pen and can bring some new dimensions to your own style.
Am I writing enough? One simple way to improve your handwriting is to do it more, a recommended method is to write letters and notes to colleagues, friends and family or to keep a diary.
Finally, that might all sound like a lot of work but there are also wonderful ways to get inspired to write better. We would recommend taking a look at Seb Lester, over 1 million followers on Instagram follow his calligraphy and art.