Does it seem like penmanship is becoming a lost art? So much of our written expression is tapped out on a keyboard or via text messages that when it comes to writing longhand it can feel like we’re all thumbs. Yet we can all appreciate beautiful handwriting, and many of us would like to improve our own. If you’re one of them, here are some things to remember.
1. Practice slowly and carefully. Better handwriting is usually a matter of slowing down and concentrating. To improve, you need to train through slow, deliberate writing motions until you’ve taught your muscles to form each letter. Consistently beautiful penmanship is a matter of muscle memory. In other words, practice, practice, practice.
Thanks to sites like HandwritingPractice.net, it’s easy to create your own practice pages where you decide the words or letters you want to work on improving. You can also find other resources online such as workbooks, lesson materials, and tutorials.
2. Start with a good pen or pencil. Writing should be enjoyable. Find a pen that feels comfortable and balanced in your hand, something you can hold and maneuver without employing a death grip, one where the ink flows easily onto the paper without requiring you to press hard on the page or retrace your strokes. Try several pens with different sized nibs or balls to find the thickness that appeals most to you.
3. Check your grip. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but you don’t need to wield your pen like one. Your grip should be supportive but soft. Holding your hand too tense will cause unnecessary strain—and squeezing will not help the ink flow any better.
4. Correct your posture. Be sure to sit up straight and relaxed with your fingers gently
curled under your hand.
5. Give yourself room to work. Writing free-flowing script is difficult if you feel like
you’re writing in a cramped space. Cleaning your desk or writing surface will allow you
to move more easily as you write.
6. Don’t write with your wrist and fingers. It may take some getting used to, but your
shoulder and forearm should be moving when you write and not your fingers and wrist.
These muscles don’t tire nearly as quickly as those in your hand and wrist. You can
practice this by writing large letters in the air and paying attention to your arm
movement. Next pull out the paper and practice drawing large lines loops and shapes, still
focusing on your arm and shoulder movement, as you get more comfortable make your
shapes smaller and smaller until you’re ready to work on letters.
7. Don’t miss an opportunity to write. If you can send a thank-you note in longhand rather
than sending an email, do it. Use your planner for notes. If you need to write a report,
consider writing the first draft by hand. Write a little more in your journal each day.
8. Don’t overdo it. When you practice it’s wise to remember to practice intensely but in
short spurts. It’s more effective to practice something a few times correctly than several
times incorrectly. Only perfect practice makes perfect. If you begin to grow tired and feel
the desire to rush through your lessons, you should stop so you don’t commit incorrect
penmanship to memory.
There are all sorts of reasons for good handwriting. Whether you’re filling out a job
application, sending a thank-you card, or leaving a note for a co-worker, your
penmanship, fair or not, does leave an impression.
Good luck, and keep writing.