Have you admired someone else’s handwriting and wished that yours could be as smooth and readable? You may think that your poor penmanship is just a part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the right tools, techniques, and time you can change your handwriting so that you are the one who is the envy of others.
Before beginning your handwriting exercises, you will want to make sure you have the right tools. You can use either a pen or pencil for these drills. If you choose a pencil, you will want one that has a well sharpened point. To avoid having to stop and sharpen while you are writing, a mechanical pencil may be a good choice.
If you prefer to write with ink, you should invest in high-quality pens with smooth flowing ink. Stay away from cheap pens with gel ink that doesn’t flow easily and smoothly which requires you to apply more pressure when writing.
You want a medium sized shaft the doesn’t require a tight grip which will prevent hand cramping and fatigue. You may want to invest in a pencil grip to help retrain your finger muscles and prevent going back to your incorrect grip.
Choose a narrow or college ruled loose leaf paper. The narrow lines force you to make your letters smaller which helps to create consistency in your writing. This will make it easier to focus on making your writing neat and less crowded.
Choose a flat or angled writing surface, such as a slant board, to work at. Using an angled surface opens your wrist to promote better finger movement.
Before you begin, make sure you are holding your pen or pencil correctly. Grip your writing utensil so that it’s resting on your middle finger and held in place lightly between the thumb and index finger. Keep your grip loose and relaxed. A tight grip will cause fatigue leading to handwriting that looks stiff and sloppy.
Position your paper correctly for the best results. The top right and bottom left corners of your paper should line up in a straight line with your nose. Use your non-writing arm to hold the paper in place. This paper position helps to create the proper letter slant in your handwriting.
Warm up exercises focus on lines and curves. Begin by filling a page with vertical and horizontal, parallel lines. Keep the lines the same length and make them straight. When you draw horizontal lines, you should be able to fit three lines on top of each other in each line of the narrow-ruled paper.
To practice your curves, draw left and right parentheses. Each set of parentheses should fit inside the lines of your paper. This will help you form curves and keep letters the same height as other letters.
Additional curves to practice are lines of connected “u’s” and “m’s”. Try to concentrate on lifting your pen slightly on the upstroke and pushing down on the down stroke. Concentrate on making all your lines the same size with the same slant.
Once you have done the warm up drills its time to practice actual cursive writing. Pangrams are a fun way to practice sentences.
A pangram is a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet at least once. The best known pangram is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Other popular pangrams include:
- “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.”
- “The five boxing wizards jump quickly.”
- “How vexingly quick daft zebras jump.”
- “Bright vixens jump; dozy fowl quack.”
- “Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.”
You don’t have to use pangrams for your practice, but they are a fun way to make sure you’ve worked on every letter in the alphabet. These drills are the foundation of better handwriting and should be practiced daily. Limit your practice sessions to approximately 10-15 minutes at a time.
You may be tempted to write longer but this will not lead to quicker results. Anything beyond 20 minutes ends up tiring your hand causing regressing instead of progressing.
Once you have spent a few weeks practicing these drills, you should see an improvement in the legibility of your handwriting.
To take your practice to the next level, start writing more things by hand instead of typing. You can write letters to friends, write out to-do and shopping lists, or write short notes to customers and loved ones.