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8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet)

better hand writing

Lindsey Bugbee


In this article, you’ll find eight tips for producing neat and confident penmanship. You can also download a free cursive worksheet to improve your handwriting! Did you know: TPK offers a comprehensive handwriting improvement online course. You can learn more by clicking here.

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better hand writing

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. Conversely, handwriting refers to the style and technique that you use for everyday jotting. Handwriting needs to be quicker and more casual than calligraphy. While everyone has their own personal handwriting style, there’s always room for improvement! In this article, you’ll find eight tips to help you improve your handwriting in video and written form — plus a free worksheet.

How to Improve Your Handwriting: The Video

Let’s have a little chat about how to improve your handwriting! You’re invited into my snowy sunroom to talk about all the different ways you can make your penmanship a bit better:

How to Improve Your Handwriting: The Article

1. use a nice pen.

The adjective “nice” is subjective — you’ll have to hunt to find the pen that works for you! Right now, I’m loving Muji 0.38 mm pens because they’re responsive and write such a fine line. I like Sakura Gelly Roll white pens for writing on dark papers. Keep in mind that preferences change, though, and there’s always a new pen or pencil to discover.

better hand writing

Handwriting purists tend to love fountain pens, and I happily agree that my Pilot Falcon is fabulous. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that a pen will magically transform your handwriting. Yes, a nice pen helps, but it’s not the be-all, end-all of pretty penmanship.

2. Maintain a Relaxed Grip

A relaxed, fairly loose grip is one of the main things that will improve your handwriting. None of the muscles in your hand should feel tense or flexed, and your fingernails shouldn’t be white from squeezing the pen’s barrel.

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

Many people tend to clutch the pen, which will result in an achy hand and shaky 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. Improve Your Handwriting 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 …

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

… Or you can doodle a few “telephone wires” or similar forms.

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

If you’re interested in additional drills, the Improve Your Handwriting Online Course features several helpful exercises! Handwriting drills tend to be simple but mighty, and the more you do them, the more of a difference you’ll notice.


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!

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

Many 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– when my paper has a severe counterclockwise rotation. Lefties should try rotating their paper clockwise. For clarification, see my How to Improve Your Handwriting video .

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.

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

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. For intensive exercises and instructions over how to write vintage-style cursive, check out TPK’s Elegant Cursive Handwriting Worksheet . It’s a fabulous investment if you want to infuse your penmanship with sophistication.

This delicately beautiful letter was written using a Pilot Falcon fountain pen and elegant cursive handwriting.

Here’s a list of all the structured handwriting worksheets and instructions that TPK has to offer:

  • Improve Your Cursive Worksheet Set – A free worksheet with helpful practice opportunities
  • Grammy’s Handwriting Exemplar – A free worksheet that offers letterforms based on my grandmother’s beautiful handwriting
  • Learn Cursive Worksheet for Kids (and Adults!) – A worksheet that teaches you how to write in cursive with the help of this free supplementary course
  • Elegant Cursive Handwriting Worksheet – A detailed worksheet set that teaches you how to write in elegant, vintage-style penmanship

6. Sneak in Practice to Improve Your Handwriting

Just like anything else, you will 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.

Elegant and Effective Letter Writing Tips | The Postman's Knock

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, balanced 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.

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

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).

8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting (Plus a Free Worksheet) | The Postman's Knock

No matter how your handwriting looks, it is a wonderful reflection of you and your mood. 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 alphabet characters that are clear and legible.

How to Make a Beautiful Handwritten Note

I hope that you enjoyed this article, 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!

Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock

This article was first posted in March of 2017. It has been updated to include new photos, a freshly-filmed video, and additional resources.

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon

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Why Does Writing by Hand Promote Better and Faster Learning?

Handwriting practice may improve literacy learning by engaging motor functions..

Posted July 9, 2021 | Reviewed by Devon Frye

  • Why Education Is Important
  • Find a Child Therapist
  • Handwriting practice involves specific motor skills that are only engaged when writing by hand with a pen or pencil.
  • A new "handwriting and literacy learning" study shows that writing-by-hand practice promotes faster learning than non-motor writing practice.
  • The learning advantage gained by handwriting practice may be linked to the perceptual-motor experience of writing by hand.
  • Cursive handwriting engages sensorimotor brain regions that are not activated by typewriting; this neural activity helps students learn better.


New research from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) suggests that handwriting practice refines fine-tuned motor skills and creates a perceptual-motor experience that appears to help adults learn generalized literacy-related skills "surprisingly faster and significantly better" than if they tried to learn the same material by typing on a keyboard or watching videos. These findings ( Wiley & Rapp, 2021 ) were published on June 29 in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science .

For this study, Robert Wiley and Brenda Rapp conducted a two-phase experiment involving 42 non-Arabic-speaking adults randomly divided into three groups of learners: hand-writers, typers, and video watchers.

In the experiment's first phase, each participant was taught the Arabic alphabet (i.e., abjad), which has 28 letters, using motor and non-motor learning styles depending on their group.

After six learning sessions, everyone in the video watching and type-writing group had learned the Arabic alphabet and could identify each of its 28 letters. However, people in the handwriting group—who used pen and paper to write each letter during their learning sessions—gained the same level of proficiency after just two learning sessions.

During the second phase of this experiment, the researchers tested to what extent (if at all) participants in each group could "generalize" their new knowledge by using Arabic letters to spell new words or to read unfamiliar words with abjad lettering. The researchers found that the handwriting group was "decisively" better at this type of literacy-related generalization.

Why Does Writing by Hand Help Us Learn?

The 3 research questions addressed by Wiley and Rapp include:

  • Are the benefits of handwriting practice due to motor learning per se or to other incidental factors?
  • Do the benefits generalize to untrained tasks?
  • Does handwriting practice lead to learning and strengthening only of motor representations or of other types of representations as well?

"Our results clearly show that handwriting compared with nonmotor practice produces faster learning and greater generalization to untrained tasks than previously reported," the co-authors explain. "Furthermore, only handwriting practice leads to learning of both motor and amodal symbolic letter representations."


How Does Handwriting Help When Learning to Read?

When learning to read, why does writing an alphabet's letters by hand work best? Handwriting creates a perceptual-motor experience, the authors posit.

"The simple act of writing by hand provides a perceptual-motor experience that unifies what is being learned about the letters (their shapes, their sounds, and their motor plans), which in turn creates richer knowledge and fuller, true learning," the researchers said in a July 7 news release .

Although the participants in this study were all adults, Wiley and Rapp speculate that the same results would be seen in children. When learning an alphabet for the first time, this research suggests that writing the letters by hand optimizes literacy learning. This research also has implications for K-12 classrooms, where literacy learning is increasingly dependent on computer tablets and laptops. These digital devices fail to create a perceptual-motor experience, which may impede learning.

"The question out there for parents and educators is why should our kids spend any time doing handwriting," Rapp, a professor of cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University, said in the news release. "Obviously, you're going to be a better hand-writer if you practice it. But since people are handwriting less, then maybe who cares? The real question is: Are there other benefits to handwriting that have to do with reading and spelling and understanding? We find there most definitely are."

better hand writing

"With writing, you're getting a stronger representation in your mind that lets you scaffold toward these other types of tasks that don't in any way involve handwriting," Wiley, a former JHU doctoral student who is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina, added.


Writing or Drawing by Hand Triggers Robust Neural Activity in the Brain's Sensorimotor Regions

The latest JHU handwriting research builds on the findings of a Norwegian University of Science and Technology study ( Askvik, Van der Weel, & Van der Meer, 2020 ) from last year, which found that 12-year-old children and young adults learn more efficiently and remember new knowledge better when writing by hand instead of using a keyboard. This high-density EEG study tracked and recorded brain wave activity during classroom learning. The researchers identified neuroscience -based ways that cursive handwriting was superior to typewriting when learning in the classroom and why learning cursive is good for our brains .

"The use of pen and paper gives the brain more 'hooks' to hang your memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain," senior author Audrey van der Meer said in an October 2020 news release . "A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write, and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sensory experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better."

In their paper's abstract, the NTNU authors sum up their findings on the importance of cursive handwriting over typewriting for learning in the classroom: "We conclude that because of the benefits of sensory-motor integration due to the larger involvement of the senses as well as fine and precisely controlled hand movements when writing by hand and when drawing, it is vital to maintain both activities in a learning environment to facilitate and optimize learning."

Robert W. Wiley and Brenda Rapp. "The Effects of Handwriting Experience on Literacy Learning." Psychological Science (First published: June 29, 2021) DOI: 10.1177/0956797621993111

Eva Ose Askvik, F. R. (Ruud) van der Weel and Audrey L. H. van der Meer. "The Importance of Cursive Handwriting Over Typewriting for Learning in the Classroom: A High-Density EEG Study of 12-Year-Old Children and Young Adults." Frontiers in Psychology (First published: July 28, 2020) DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01810

Christopher Bergland

Christopher Bergland is a retired ultra-endurance athlete turned science writer, public health advocate, and promoter of cerebellum ("little brain") optimization.

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The App Store—But For Cars—May Not Be Far Off

Writing software apps for cars is nowhere near as easy as writing software apps for phones, although companies like gm are hoping to remove obstacles.

Oct. 26, 2023 7:00 am ET

better hand writing

General Motors is rethinking traditional software development processes to target more innovation and better software, faster. 

Taking a cue from Apple ’s approach to third party applications, GM earlier this month released a set of open source APIs, or application programming interfaces, designed to let developers build apps that can integrate with connected vehicle hardware such as windows, headlights, and infotainment systems. APIs are the critical connective tissue of software development, allowing pieces of code from one application to connect with another. Opening APIs to the broad community of software developers is a crucial step in getting to a more Apple-like ecosystem of apps and innovation. 

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7 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing, like any other skill, is something you can get better at with time and practice. Learn how.

[Featured Image]: A woman with curly hair and wearing a white long sleeve shirt, writing in her notebook, while sitting in front of her computer.

From sending emails to preparing presentations, writing is often a day-to-day task in many professions spanning diverse industries. Writing skills go beyond grammar and spelling. Accuracy, clarity, persuasiveness, and several other elements play a part in ensuring your writing is conveying the right message.

What are writing skills?

Writing is a technical skill that you use to communicate effectively through the written word. Though these may vary depending on what you’re writing, there are several that transcend categories. Writing skills can more specifically include:

Sentence construction

Research and accuracy


Each of these components can influence the quality of writing.

Why are writing skills important?

Being able to write well is a form of effective communication , which many employers see as a crucial job skill . In fact, strong communication—spanning written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual—is among the nine common employability skills that employers seek in job candidates.

Regardless of your role, with good writing skills, you can clearly transcribe your thoughts into meaningful messages, enabling you to share your ideas, build relationships, and strengthen your professional image.

Learn more: Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them

How to improve your writing skills

Writing, like any other skill, is something we can get better at with time and practice. Here are some strategies for developing your own written communication:

1. Review grammar and spelling basics.

Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. Writing with proper grammar and spelling communicates your professionality and attention to detail to your reader. It also makes your writing easier to understand.  

Plus, knowing when and how to use less-common punctuation, like colons, semicolons, and em-dashes, can unlock new ways to structure sentences and elevate your writing. 

If you’re looking to strengthen your grammar and spelling, start by consulting a writing manual. The Elements of Style by William Stunk and E.B. White has long been considered a staple for writers. You can find similar resources at your local library, bookstore, or online.

2. Read what you want to write.

Knowing what a finished piece of writing can look like can guide your own. If you’re trying to write a humorous short story, read humorous short stories. Writing a book review? Find a few and take note of how they’re structured. Pay attention to what makes them good and what you want to emulate (without plagiarizing, of course). If you’re working on a school assignment, you can ask your instructor for examples of successful pieces from past students.

Make reading a part of your everyday life to improve your writing. Try reading the news in the morning or picking up a book before you head to bed. If you haven’t been a big reader in the past, start with topics you’re interested in, or ask friends and family for recommendations. You’ll gradually begin to understand what subjects, genres, and authors you enjoy.

3. Proofread.

While it’s tempting to submit work as soon as you’re done with it, build in some time to revisit what you’ve written to catch errors big and small. Here are a few proofreading tips to keep in mind:

Set your work aside before you edit. Try to step away from your writing for a day or more so you can come back to it with fresh, more objective eyes. Crunched for time? Even allotting 20 minutes between writing and proofreading can allow you to approach your work with renewed energy.

Start with easy fixes, then progress to bigger changes. Starting with easier changes can get you in the rhythm for proofreading, allow you to read through your work once more, and clear distractions so you can focus on bigger edits. Read through your work to catch misspellings, inconsistencies, and grammar errors. Then address the larger problems with structure or awkward transitions. 

If you could say something in fewer words, do so. Being unnecessarily wordy can cloud your message and confuse the reader. Pare down phrases that are redundant, repetitive, or obvious.

Read out loud. Reading out loud can help you find awkward phrases and areas where your writing doesn’t flow well. 

Should you use computer spelling and grammar tools?

Many computer-based tools—like spell check on your word processor, or Grammarly — can help you find and fix simple spelling and grammar errors. These tools are not perfect but can help even the most seasoned of writers avoid mistakes. Take note of any frequently highlighted words or phrases so that you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.

4. Get feedback.

Whether you’re writing emails or essays, asking for feedback is a great way to see how somebody besides yourself will interpret your text. Have an idea of what you’d like your proofreader to focus on—the structure, conclusion, the persuasiveness of an argument, or otherwise. 

Approach a trusted friend, family member, coworker, or instructor. If you’re a student, your school might also have a writing resource center you can reach out to. 

You might also consider forming a writing group or joining a writing class. Find writing courses online, at your local community college, or at independent writing workshops in your city.

5. Think about structure.

Grammar and spelling keep your writing consistent and legible, but structure ensures the big ideas get across to the reader.

In many cases, forming an outline will help solidify structure. An outline can clarify what you’re hoping to convey in each section, enable you to visualize the flow of your piece, and surface parts that require more research or thought. 

Structure might look different depending on what you’re writing. An essay typically has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A fiction piece might follow the six-stage plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement. Choose what’s best for your purposes.

Like many skills, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to practice. Here are a few ways you can get started:

Start a journal or a blog.

Join a class or writing workshop.

Practice free writing.

Write letters to friends or family.

Put together an opinion piece for your local newspaper or publication you like.

7. Know some common fixes.

Even if a text is grammatically correct, you may be able to make it more dynamic and interesting with some polish. Here are some common ways you can sharpen your writing:

Choose strong verbs (for example, “sprinted,” “dashed,” or “bolted” instead of “ran”).

Avoid passive voice.

Vary sentence length.

Cut unnecessary words.

Replace cliches with original phrasing.

Showing your writing skills in a job search

Your writing skills will shine throughout the job search process , whether or not you intend to show them off. This is because job applications are largely written materials, including your cover letter , resume , and email communications . Use these opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills to prospective employers by submitting clear, accurate, and engaging materials.

Additionally, if you have specialized expertise, such as experience with legal writing, medical writing, technical writing, or scientific writing, you can note that in a resume skills section and further detail that experience within your cover letter or during your interviews .

For a limited time, your first month of Coursera Plus for only $1. With Coursera Plus, you have the ultimate flexibility to start new courses and move between programs at no additional cost.

Getting started

Whether you’re a scientist or a product manager, journalist or entrepreneur, writing effectively will enable you to communicate your ideas to the world. Through practice, exposure, and familiarizing yourself with basic rules, you’ll be able to use your writing to say exactly what you want to say.

If you’re looking for a structured way to expand your writing skillset, explore writing courses on Coursera —the first week is free.

Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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Writing ‘Maid’ Pulled Stephanie Land Out of Poverty. She’s Fine Now, Right?

Despite writing a best seller that became a hit Netflix series, Ms. Land says she still worries about her job security.

Stephanie Land, wearing overall and a red t-shirt, stands with her hands in her pockets in a field with mountains in the background.

By Ron Lieber

What do you do with the money you earn from a story you wrote about not having much for too many years?

As a single mother cleaning houses, Stephanie Land dusted and polished a catalog of possible answers to this question and chronicled them in her memoir “ Maid .” Her new book, “ Class ,” which comes out on Nov. 7, picks up where “Maid” left off, recounting her struggle to use food stamps to feed herself and her daughter while going deep into student loan debt.

When “Maid” became a surprise best seller in 2019 and then a hit Netflix series in 2021, it looked to the world like she had become rich.

A local nonprofit requested a donation in the range of $25,000 to $30,000. Friends asked for loans, large ones. A fan seemed surprised — and not exactly approving — to see her sitting in first class.

The reactions were a lot to absorb, given that she wasn’t that far removed from living in a homeless shelter with a toddler. But what she wanted as much as anything was a house, in her name — one without black mold or roommates or unpredictable landlords.

It wasn’t easy to get one.

When you sell a book, you usually get your money in up to four separate payments over at least a couple of years. Agents take up to a 15 percent cut, and you have to set aside money for taxes.

When Ms. Land, 45, got her first book payment in 2016, she had nearly $50,000 in student loans. She also had about $16,000 in credit card debt, which she paid off immediately.

Her two children had been on state-subsidized health insurance, but her book earnings rendered them ineligible, so she needed to purchase new insurance, which at one point cost her family over $30,000 per year. She spent $7,000 on a very used Subaru.

“I had years of not being able to make ends meet to make up for,” she said. “And that includes mental health and our physical health.”

So down-payment money was scarce. Ms. Land got married in 2019 to a veteran who is eligible to receive disability payments through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but two late student-loan payments had left him ineligible for a V.A. home loan. They tried to move from Missoula, Mont., to Raleigh, N.C., in early 2020 and were seeking a mortgage of about $350,000.

But her book deal and its promise of future payments weren’t enough for her to qualify for one. “I couldn’t prove to them that I had a job,” she said.

She didn’t really believe she did, either. “The book advance felt like some kind of weird loan,” she said, given the standard contractual provision in the book industry that a publisher can reject a finished manuscript. “It was scary.”

A Netflix deal is also no guarantee of riches. With an adaptation like the one of Ms. Land’s book, you generally get a small amount up front once your agent sells the rights — this happened several months after the book came out and became a best seller — and much more only when the cameras turn on. But if the show doesn’t get made at all, no more money generally comes your way — and production hadn’t started yet when Ms. Land was trying to buy a home.

A long-term source of guaranteed income would also have been helpful to qualify for a mortgage. Like many nonfiction authors, Ms. Land turned to speaking. An author of her renown should be able to command $15,000 to $20,000 or so for a speaking engagement, before agent fees, taxes and any discounts or freebies for nonprofit clients.

But this too is precarious. Bookings can be sporadic, and her income dried up during the early months of the pandemic. Speakers may have a shelf life of only a handful of years before their book gets old and the topic seems stale.

The subject of poverty is, alas, always timely. The further Ms. Land gets from the lived experience of it, however, the more she worries that she seems like an impostor. “I’m still really struggling with job security,” she said. “My job depends on people finding me interesting, and I worry that people are thinking that I’m not authentic.”

There was no evidence of that earlier this month when Ms. Land spoke to an audience of University of Delaware freshmen who had read her book . The queries at the end were reverential. “You ask me questions like I’m a white guy or something,” she said, drawing peals of laughter from the crowd.

In September, she’d politely declined to write a $30,000 check to the nonprofit with the bold ask, though she had paid a week’s worth of camp tuition for a dozen low-income families in her community. Friends who approached her with financial needs ended up with $15,000 in loans over time, and she forgave them all. When she sits in first class, it’s almost always because clients pay for her ticket.

And that house? She finally got it, when a miracle worker mortgage broker finagled a deal for her in Missoula. The down payment was low enough that mortgage insurance was necessary. She’ll be on the road a lot in the coming years to pay for it all. (Ms. Land declined to comment on the terms of her second book contract.)

Inside the house, there isn’t much that resembles the lavish homes she cleaned and described in “Maid.” There is no hot tub or deep fryer or Lazy Susan with fancy salts and a variety of hot sauces.

Instead, there are 45 or so houseplants and a kitchen crammed with jam jars and Fiestaware plates in rainbow colors. Three dogs live there too, slobbering all over everything and shedding so much that twice-daily vacuuming is sometimes necessary. Ms. Land and her husband clean; she can’t bring herself to hire someone to be on their hands and knees while she is still walking around. When she stays in hotels, she leaves $20 per night near the phone with a note of gratitude.

Her children have their own rooms, which they’ve fixed up as they please.

“As a house cleaner, the thing that really got to me was the kids’ bedrooms,” she said. They had places for their clothes. They had new clothes that weren’t from Goodwill, and lots of them.

“I wanted that for my kids,” she said. “Everything else is just a bonus.”

Ron Lieber has been the Your Money columnist since 2008 and has written five books, most recently “The Price You Pay for College.” More about Ron Lieber

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10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Handwriting

by Ryan Hart | Updated on February 14, 2019 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Handwriting Illustration

In this post you’re going to learn easy ways to improve your handwriting. If you follow these tips you’ll have perfect penmanship in no time.

I used these same tips to make my handwriting better in just a matter of days.

Ready to learn how to write neatly?

Let’s get started!

Use a Nice Pen

The first step in learning how to write nicely is to use a nice pen. No, it does not need to be an expensive or rare pen, just high quality.

Nice pens help improve your handwriting because they have more consistent ink flow and offer more control. However, there is not one perfect pen. You will need to experiment with a few until you find one that feels good in your hand and gives you the consistency to create identical letters every time.

Consider experimenting with ball point, fountain or fineliners at first. Each pen style will produce a different line thickness and give you a different feel.

Learn Correct Pen Grip

At this point in your life you probably don’t even give a second thought to how you hold your pen. But the experts agree that there are really only one or two correct ways to hold a pen.

The primary way is to hold the pen between your thumb and index finger with the body of the pen resting on your middle finger.

The next most common way is to hold the pen between your thumb and both the index and middle finger with the pen resting against your ring finger.

Whether you decide to change your pen grip or not, the most important thing is to hold the pen lightly. Your hand should be relaxed and comfortable with no tension.

Use Your Wrist and Arm

There are two main types of writers: those that write with their fingers and those that write with their forearm and shoulder. Your fingers should be used as a guide rather than to draw the letters.

If when you are writing for an extended period of time and your hand starts to get tired, then you know you are a “finger” writer. Using your shoulder and forearm will be much less tiring and give you a more consistent handwriting style.

To improve your handwriting focus on keeping your forearm, wrist, and fingers still and let your arm and shoulder move the pen.

As you are writing move the paper away from you as you move down the page. Do not move your hand into an uncomfortable position that will affect your handwriting.

Maintain Good Posture

When you are writing in your notebook or bullet journal it is important to be in a comfortable position and maintain good posture. Try to sit up straight and avoid hunching over your paper.

You should be able to move your arm and shoulder freely without anything on your desk getting in your way.

Having perfect posture can improve your handwriting, but staying relaxed and comfortable in your chair will yield the greatest results.

Take Your Time to Improve Penmanship

During my first year of architecture school we were required to hand draft all of our presentation drawings, or “blueprints” as some might call them. That means we were required to draw our floorplans by hand with lead holders rather than using a computer program and printer.

After we spent dozens of hours working on one drawing, the last step was to title the board.

Our professor encouraged us to just think about just one letter at a time to avoid making a critical mistake at the last minute. So if I was writing the word “FLOOR PLAN” my professor told me to say the letter “F” out loud as I was writing the first letter. Then “L,” “O,” “O,” “R,” etc.

Sure, I probably sounded ridiculous sounding my letters out loud, but this was an incredibly easy way to improve my handwriting. I suggest following a similar process if you want better handwriting as well.

As you write, think about or say each letter out loud. Focus on writing each letter as neatly as possible. Over time you will be able to write faster and still maintain your perfect handwriting. But in the beginning, taking your time will help you dramatically improve your handwriting.

Use Lined Paper

If you open a blank notebook or bullet journal and start writing, you are going to have less control over your handwriting than if you used lined paper.

Handwriting looks neat when lines of words are properly aligned and is consistent across the page. If you are trying to improve your handwriting the first step is to use lined paper.

In the event you need to write on a blank piece of paper, put a piece of notebook paper underneath to give you a guide or draw lines lightly with a pencil that can be erased when you are finished.

Use Proper Spacing to Write Neatly

What’s the difference between good handwriting and perfect penmanship?

The answer is proper letter spacing and alignment!

Each letter must be the same size and equal width apart. When writing in cursive your letters should maintain the same angle at all times.

When printing your letters respect the space above and below the letters when writing “g” or “t” or other tall letters. Do not let your letters touch the row above it and mainain a clean white space between lines.

Practice Each Letter of the Alphabet

If you want to make your handwriting better, you should practice writing each letter of the alphabet.

Yes, practicing your letters seems like something your third grade teacher might tell you. But I’m here to remind you that prefect handwriting is the result of deliberate practice.

Print out worksheets you find online or dedicate a few pages in your bullet journal just to practicing your letters.

Stick With One Style of Handwriting

One mistake I’ve made in the past when trying to improve my penmanship was constantly changing my handwriting style.

I would switch from cursive to printing and then to a lazy combination of both. It was like I was having a handwriting identity crisis.

I even experimented with different signatures!

Please don’t make this same mistake.

Pick one style of handwriting and continue to practice until it’s perfect. Then, if you are feeling abitious, you can move on to mastering calligraphy or other forms of handlettering.

Get Inspired By Pretty Handwriting

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my journey to improve my handwriting, it’s that I’m my own worst critic. If you’re anything like me, there’s hope.

To avoid becoming discouraged with my handwriting I started looking for inspiration online. My handwriting wasn’t horrible to begin with but I knew it could be better. So I started searching for images of handwriting that I liked, but was still similar to mine.

These images gave me ideas on how to improve my current handwriting without having to change my handwriting completely. Then, I was able to focus just on improving the parts of my penmanship that were less than perfect and leave the good parts.

Image of Ways to Improve Your Handwriting

Now It's Your Turn

And now I’d like to hear from you.

Do you have neat handwriting?

Why do you want to improve your handwriting?

Either way let me know by writing a comment below right now.

Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart is a certified relationship coach and writer. His mission is to help make connections between people better, stronger, more meaningful, and longer lasting using technology.

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How To Improve Your Handwriting (+FREE Worksheets)

How To Improve Handwriting cover image

This post and the photos within it may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

When someone asks, “How can I improve my handwriting?” they usually look for a few things they can easily implement to make their writing look more legible or presentable.

The problem is that handwriting is a habit deeply ingrained in both the mind and the muscles, so even a tiny change can be difficult to implement.

I’ve always taken a different approach to helping people with their handwriting, one that might require a little more time and commitment but gives the writer all the tools they need to take their handwriting as far as they like.

The approach is to first understand how handwriting works on a basic level, then apply that understanding to improve your own handwriting.

Sample of beautiful handwriting.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Handwriting

If you don’t understand how handwriting works fundamentally, you will always feel lost when trying to improve your handwriting, even if you are following the advice of a handwriting expert.

When you understand how handwriting works, everything becomes clear. You will know things like:

  • Why the letters have different heights
  • Why the letters are spaced the way they are
  • Why the letters have different forms yet work together to create a cohesive script
  • The way to position your body, hold the pen, and position the paper for optimal writing
  • Why someone’s handwriting is more legible or visually pleasing than another’s

I hope you can see that if you understand all the above, improving your handwriting will be a walk in the park.

So your first task, if you want to improve your handwriting, is to learn the fundamentals of handwriting.

The best way to do this is to study a proven handwriting system.

Any time-tested system will do. I recommend American Cursive because it is a beautiful, legible script.

I also have a  free course that will teach you everything you need to know  about American Cursive.

before and after image example of improved handwriting.

Regardless of what script you choose, by studying one, you will learn how handwriting works, and you will be able to apply what you’ve learned to any other script, including your own chicken scratch.

By studying a script like American Cursive, you will learn these important concepts and more:

  • Body position ,  pen grip , and  paper position
  • The grid , or how the lines printed on the page (and the imaginary ones that aren’t) work with the letters
  • How to write across the page
  • How a script builds on  fundamental strokes  and repeats those strokes throughout the alphabet

If you want a taste of how important the fundamentals are, I suggest you watch the video below titled “The Cursive Grid,” which is from my  free online cursive course .

better hand writing

What Do You Want Your Handwriting to Look Like?

When you study American Cursive or any other script, you will learn to write in that style, but that doesn’t mean your personal handwriting needs to look exactly like the script you are studying.

That said, traditional scripts like American Cursive were successful for a reason.

They evolved out of the culture in which they were created and have stood the test of time as legible, visually pleasing scripts.

You cannot go wrong by trying to emulate a traditional script, and no matter how hard you try, your script will always have personal quirks that are unique to you.

The great thing about studying a traditional script is that you have a very clear and defined vision to work towards.

Every traditional script has an exemplar, which is the ideal letterforms that comprise the script.

With an exemplar in hand, you know exactly what your goal is, and you can always compare your handwriting to the exemplar to see where you are falling short.

Exemplar of American Cursive Lowercase Letters

If you want your handwriting to have its own unique flavor, I suggest you at least find a traditional script to use as a base.

That way, you can take the exemplar from a traditional script and modify it to make it your own, which is much easier than creating an exemplar from scratch.

Of course, you can create one from scratch too, but it takes a lot of time to do it right, and the result won’t be as good unless you understand handwriting at a high level.

Let’s be clear, you need an exemplar. Without an image of the ideal letters, you will wander aimlessly and waste a lot of time while making little improvement.

Whether you are studying from the exemplar of a traditional script or your own unique creation, you will be armed with everything you need to improve your handwriting.

Cursive handwriting example.

You’ve Done the Work, Now Apply It

I know, I know.

You’ve already done a lot of work.

Learning the fundamentals of handwriting is no small task and creating your own exemplar takes time too.

The good news is that your handwriting will already look much better by this point.

That’s because your understanding of handwriting is naturally solving the problems with your handwriting without you having to do anything except pay attention while you write.

Of course, there are more active things you can do to improve your handwriting at this stage.

When you understand the fundamentals, improving your handwriting is a straightforward process –

  • identify errors,
  • and figure out why you are making the errors.

If you can see an error in your writing and then understand exactly why you are making that error, resolving the error is pretty easy.

Here’s an example.

As you can see, our friend’s handwriting here is very cramped in the horizontal direction.

Fixing this is pretty easy because he’s done the work and understands the basics of handwriting.

Our friend was able to fix this problem because he understands that spacing is controlled by the movement of the hand and that movement is limited by the hand’s range of motion.

He is trying to write too many letters without picking up his hand and moving it to the right.

The problem was easily solved by pausing more often to move the hand and continue writing with proper spacing.

This is just one example of how improving your handwriting works when you have an understanding of the fundamentals.

You have all the tools to identify, analyze, and resolve issues with your handwriting.

How much you want to improve your handwriting is up to you.

Handwriting example.

As you improve your handwriting, the errors in your writing will become less noticeable to the average person.

However, you will see more and more errors in your writing.

This is because when you are studying handwriting, you are training your eye to see errors, which allows you to see the more subtle errors that previously escaped your eye.

The only way to end this process is to become satisfied with your handwriting or keep working on it for the rest of your life.

Should you become satisfied with your handwriting, writing regularly will maintain it.

Download free handwriting PDF worksheets

In my free online course, Consistent Cursive, you’ll learn all the needed fundamentals to improve your handwriting. In the download section you’ll also be able to download free handwriting worksheets, which include –

  • Lowercase letters + variations
  • Capital letters + variations
  • Numbers & Symbols
  • Various blank grids for practice

You can check them out on my site by clicking the button below.

Free PDF handwriting worksheets.

Quick recap + final words on improving your handwriting

There you have it, friends.

If you’re genuinely looking to improve your handwriting, this is the best approach you can take. 

Little tips and tricks may marginally improve the look of your handwriting.

However, learning the fundamentals will allow you to take your handwriting to a new level. 

Here is a quick recap of the whole article – 

  • Understand the basics of handwriting
  • Pick and study a proven handwriting system, e.g., American Cursive
  • Always practice using an existing exemplar
  • It’s easier to use an existing exemplar than to create one from scratch
  • You’ll be able to apply the knowledge to other writing styles as well (even create your own)
  • Once you understand the fundamentals, you’ll be able to correct your mistakes
  • The improvement of your handwriting will depend on how much time and effort you put into it

Once again, be sure to check out my free online course that will teach you everything you need to know about American Cursive. 

Now let me ask you something – What has been your biggest struggle with improving your handwriting?

Let me know by dropping a comment below 👇

Thanks for reading!

How to improve handwriting Pinterest pin.

About the author

better hand writing

David has been studying traditional American penmanship since 2016. He has created over 100 videos about penmanship on  YouTube  and his exemplar for business penmanship was featured in the 25th edition of the Speedball Textbook. You can take his free cursive course online at .

8 thoughts on “How To Improve Your Handwriting (+FREE Worksheets)”

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Hi, David. I am left handed, and my great niece (10 years old) has asked me to help her with her penmanship since she is also left handed. We will work together this summer. Do you have any tips for us?

' src=

Hi! Would you be so kind to point me in the good direction to find a similar set of tools/courses but for PRINT handwriting?

' src=

Maybe youtube? Not sure to be honest.

' src=

Finally a true web 🕸 All others are like goat at handwriting themselves

' src=

I can’t thank you enough; and it’s free! I’ve been struggling with this for some time now and I think you have provided an answer for me.

Sometimes “thank you” is simply too inadequate but right now it’s all I have.

Thank you Jerry

Thank you for the nice comment, Jerry. Super glad to hear you like the article 🙂

' src=

I am really happy with the online tutorials and very interesting to see more,learn more.Thanks

Thank you so much for the feedback, Stanley 🙂

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6 Simple Steps to Improve Your Handwriting as an Adult

Improve your handwriting steps

Table of Contents

You love the idea of hand lettering and calligraphy. But if your penmanship is embarrassing, how do you improve your handwriting so that you can create hand lettering art you’re proud of?

You’re definitely not alone in the poor handwriting category. Many people struggle with their penmanship and want to improve their handwriting as an adult.The good news? You can practice and improve your handwriting quickly.

In this post, we’ll explore 6 steps to improve your handwriting as an adult, including:

  • Analyze your handwriting
  • Focus on consistency
  • Experiment with writing utensils
  • Learn traditional calligraphy
  • Practice—a LOT.

Continue reading for more details on these steps to improve your handwriting!

First Things First: Why You Might Want to Improve Your Handwriting as an Adult

Maybe you’re looking to monetize your hand lettering hobby, or maybe you just want to be able to send a handwritten thank you note that looks like it was written by an adult.

You might even be experiencing judgment from coworkers if your handwriting is illegible or looks like a 5-year old did it.

Improving your handwriting will not only make your writing legible, it will also bring about confidence in your work. As a result, you’ll also be taken more seriously.

And if you’re on this Lettering League site, chances are you might want to improve your coordination so you can use your penmanship to:

  • Create a bullet journal that is post-worthy
  • Master your hand lettering skills
  • Have more hand control when drawing

Improving your handwriting does take LOTS of practice, especially focused practice. Most importantly, you will need to slow down—even the best hand letterers and calligraphers take their time when working on their craft!

First, analyze your handwriting

Before you can improve your handwriting, you first need to do a full audit of your writing.

Write a paragraph or two on paper by copying some text out of a book or from your phone. The more you write, the more you’ll be able to see patterns (good and bad). Take your time, but also try to write at your normal pace.

Once you’re done, you can start to analyze some things about your writing that you wish to improve:

  • Spacing : Spacing between letters should be consistent, and spacing between words should also match up!
  • Slant : Does the slant of your letters match, or is it all over the place, tilting left and then tilting right?
  • Style : Are your letters formed the same, or does your style go all over the place?
  • Height of letters : The heights of the lower case letters should all match up, and same with upper case letters.
  • Consistent baseline for letters : Do your words line up on the bottom, or does it bounce around and go astray?
  • Closing counters : I’m totally guilty of this one… when rushing, do you leave your O’s and similar letters open?
  • Dotting your i’s : And cross your T’s… blah blah blah.

Once your hand recovers from writing so much (ouch!) try writing the same passage again, paying attention to what you want to improve. Here you can see improvements in my writing already. Sure, it took me longer, but the payoff is worth it!

Improve your handwriting by writing more

As a digital society, we tend to stick to our computers and phones when writing notes and emails. Our hand muscles for writing and drawing are going unused! Muscle memory is important for anything we do, even writing with pen and paper. If you don’t have regular practice, you’re going to have a harder time writing neatly.

Taking 10-15 minutes each day to write neatly and slowly  can vastly improve your handwriting. Schedule time into your calendar to write a page or two (like right after a meal or when you wake up). Write as neatly as you can, about anything. Maybe even kill two birds with one stone by keeping a daily handwritten journal.

I personally have managed to vastly improve my handwriting as an adult by journaling and taking notes on my iPad Pro .

Focus on Consistency to Improve Your Handwriting

Consistency is key. No matter what style you practice of your own handwriting, whether it’s cursive or not, you want to find a set of letter styles that you like to write and that look good together.

Practice with varying slopes and angles, heights of your letters, roundness of letters, etc. Once you start to see a style pattern in your handwriting, practice the same letter over and over again (literally fill one page with a’s and then the next with b’s) until you start to feel comfortable.

For slants, you can even create your own angled calligraphy guide and place it under your paper to practice.

Experiment with Pens and Writing Utensils to Maximize Your Handwriting Improvement

There are seemingly countless brands and types of pens and writing utensils available. It’s up to you to find the style of pen that works best for the level of control, line thickness, pressure, and preference you prefer.

For example, some gel pens are too slippery and move too fast. A super fine pen may not work for someone with a heavy hand. Cheaper ballpoint pens may be clumpy and messy.

For basic handwriting, I prefer fine felt tip markers over any other type of writing utensil, because they provide more friction on the paper and help me slow down. You can even practice with an old fashioned #2 pencil in order to help you slow down to improve your handwriting.

Recently, my favorite pens for beautiful handwriting include:

  • The Pilot G2 for faster writing on more textured paper
  • The Zebra F301 for slower writing on smoother paper

Learn Traditional Calligraphy to Improve Your Handwriting Skills

I know this seems counter-intuitive. It’s like I’m telling you to run before you can walk. However, I saw vast improvements with my hand lettering after I studied calligraphy. Learning how to form letters traditionally can help you understand consistency and anatomy.

My recommendation: learn basic strokes of brush calligraphy .

Grab a calligraphy book that isn’t for pointed-pen calligraphy (I recommend Calligraphy for Dummies ) and a $1 grid composition book or cheap graph paper. Studying this book helped me slow down (super important!!) and focus on consistent letterforms.

Finally, Practice. Practice. Practice.

I can’t stress how important regular practice is! If improving your handwriting sounds like a chore to you, try to make it fun:

  • Journal daily—with pen and paper.
  • Write letters to your friends (because really, everyone would love to receive a handwritten letter!).
  • Write out your grocery list as neatly as possible.
  • Leave handwritten notes in your kids’ lunches.
  • Take notes—even sketchnotes—when listening to a podcast or watching an educational YouTube video.
  • Start a bullet journal.

Even if you can’t dedicate time to daily practice, make it a point to write neatly for everything  you write down—notes at work or school, filling out forms, etc.

All in all, slow down, pay attention, and work to find the handwriting style that is best for you, along with your preferred pen type and paper combination.

What are some ways you’re going to try to improve your handwriting?

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How to Have Better Handwriting

Last Updated: June 13, 2021

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 18 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 53,345 times. Learn more...

Has anyone ever told you your handwriting looks like chicken scratch? Are you frustrated and embarrassed that your notes look like a child's writing rather than an adult's? Because of all the typing we do on computer and cellphone keyboards, emphasis on handwritten material has slowly drifted by the wayside. However, even though typing has become a lot more common in our lives, writing things by hand is still a necessary skill in some academic and professional situations. Your handwriting doesn't need to look like a first grader's. All you need is a pen, patience, and some practice,

Getting Ready to Write

Step 1 Stretch your fingers, hand, arm, and shoulder.

  • Wiggle and stretch your fingers using both hands.
  • Match your hands up (like you're giving yourself a high five), and push your fingers against each other.
  • Interlace your fingers and push your hands out in front of your body.
  • Alternate between making a tight fist, and then opening your hand wide to stretch your muscles.
  • Flex and reach to touch each of your fingers to your thumb. Try to coordinate each touch with the beat of a song.
  • Roll your wrist around in circular motions. You can also flex your wrist back and forth.
  • Roll your shoulders in forward circular movements and backward circular movements. [1] X Research source

Step 2 Gather your materials.

  • A table or a hard surface to write on. Having a smooth, hard surface to write on will immediately increase the readability and clarity of your handwriting.
  • A lined notebook or lined paper . This will help keep track of the size of your letters.
  • A writing utensil . Some people debate over which is better to use for handwriting: a pen or a pencil. A pen can sometimes write smoother because of the free flowing ink, but a pencil but might better for someone looking to work on technique and correct mistakes. Either way, pick a writing utensil that is comfortable to hold in your hand.

Step 3 Find a comfortable writing position.

  • For people who write with their left hand, it may help to write with your hand hooked, creating a mountain shape between the forearm and thumb of your hand. It may also help to hold the pen a little bit higher up, so you can see what you are writing.

Step 5 Try learning a different writing technique.

  • Once you get comfortable with the shoulder and forearm movements, make the size of the letters you are drawing out smaller and smaller. [6] X Research source Then, once you feel you are ready, practice with pen and paper.
  • Concentrate on keeping your fingers, hand, and wrist steady while your forearm and shoulder provide the movements.

Practicing Your Handwriting

Step 1 Doodle.

  • L,V,U,W,Z,C,O,S
  • B,D,J,K,M,N,PQ,R,X,T,Y,Z

Step 4 Focus on writing just the lowercase alphabet letters.

  • b,d,h,j,g,p,q,f,y

Step 5 Practice with directional charts and handwriting workbooks.

  • Handwriting notebooks usually consist of writing spaces that are lined in different ways to help with letter sizing and proportion. Repetitive practice writing out letters and sentences can make your handwriting neater and easier to read.

Step 6 Experiment with different writing styles.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • If you write with your left hand, avoid notebooks with spiral binding. The spiral might prevent you from writing naturally. [18] X Research source Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Give your hand frequent breaks if you are doing a long piece of writing. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 3
  • If the pen or pencil slips in your hand as you write, you can buy rubber grips to slip on the lower end of the pen for a better grip. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2

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About This Article

To have better handwriting, grip your writing utensil with enough pressure that it won’t slip out of your fingers while writing but be gentle enough to keep your hand from cramping or shaking. Once your grip feels comfortable, practice your handwriting by doodling any kinds of shapes. Additionally, practice writing all of the letters in the alphabet in both upper and lower case. You can also try mimicking a style that you like, writing more slowly to help you focus on precise lettering, and working with directional charts and handwriting workbooks. To learn how to hold your pen properly, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Improve Handwriting: 10 Great Tips to Up Your Handwriting Skills

Struggling with bad handwriting, ugly cursive, or shaky letterforms read our guide with top tips on how to improve your handwriting.

Goodwall Team

You’ve got to hand it to handwriting! The average student spends 60% of their time in school writing, even in this increasingly digital world. And, there’s still a great benefit to writing by hand. Handwriting helps you process information more fully, articulate your knowledge, and even make connections with others. 

Unfortunately, many people struggle with poor handwriting, even after years of practice. That’s because learning how to improve handwriting involves learning several things (and maybe forgetting a few bad practices). But you can learn right here and start putting concepts into practice.

How can you assess what you need to improve? What tools do you need for nicer handwriting? How should you practice your handwriting skills? How to turn your chicken scratch into lines that are pleasing to the eye? Answer these questions and you can have perfect penmanship in no time.

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Here are 10 tips to follow to improve your handwriting:

1. Assess Your Current Handwriting

Before you attempt to improve your handwriting, let’s see where your current autography stands.

Write a paragraph on any subject of your choice. Try to use each letter in the alphabet and words of different lengths and structures. If you’re not up to writing something new, you can copy a paragraph from a book, but it should be several sentences long. 

Read the paragraph over so you have a basic sense of what your handwriting is. Then take a pen and circle the letters that exhibit the primary shapes of your handwriting. You may write with a lot of hard corners, loops, or straight lines. 

You should then take a look at the slant of your writing. Draw straight lines to see if your handwriting slants to one side or another. You should check the alignment of your letters, seeing if you write them at an angle to the lines.

Draw lines underneath the spaces between your words. There should be just enough space to fit another letter in between each word. However, the lines that form your letters should be straight and easy to read without taking too much space. 

Related Read : Is Journaling Important or Useful? Here Are 8 Great Benefits of Journaling

2. Look at Handwriting Styles and Calligraphy

You can take handwriting inspiration from people with better form. You can watch them while they write and emulate what they do to improve your own writing form. 

Try to study people with different handwriting styles and fonts. For example, print handwriting (block letters) involves lifting the pen off the page with each letter, which can make letters neater. This is like hand lettering, where you focus on each letterform.

But you can also examine cursive writing, especially more modern forms of it. Cursive is a penmanship style where each letter of a single word connects with the next. Cursive writing is ideal for long-form texts, as you don’t need to lift the point of the writing utensil from the paper after each letter.

Calligraphy is the visual art of writing. Calligraphers try to produce the most visually appealing words possible, using pens and fancy ink to create their art. You can take inspiration from calligraphy styles to adapt your own handwriting style and create more pleasing letters. 

3. Use a High-Quality Pen for Good Handwriting

There is no one pen that works for everybody, and there’s no writing instrument that specifically causes bad handwriting. In general, you want a pen that is easy to grip and manipulate with your fingertips. 

Most people enjoy ballpoint pens with rounded tips. They are inexpensive and easy to use, but the ink may take some time to dry, especially on low-quality paper. Fountain pens are similar to ballpoint pens, as it has a metal nib on the tip to help apply the water-based ink.

If you want your ink to dry faster, you can use rollerball pens. They also have small and rounded tips, and they are roughly the same price as ballpoint products. Thin-tipped pens produce lines that may look neater than wide-tipped ones. 

Gel pens have a thicker line width than the fountain pen, which makes it a better choice for writing big letters. And, of course, there’s the pencil, the popular school writing instrument from yesteryear. If you need to write neatly and have only one shot, a pencil might be a good idea, as an eraser can help you mend your mistakes.

Related Read : 10+ Best Journaling Tips and Advice to Get You Started or Unstuck

4. Select Good Paper

Don’t forget to consider the paper when practicing handwriting improvement techniques!

Lined paper can make it easier for you to avoid slanting or misaligning your letters. You can get paper with wide lines so you have enough space to fit your letters, but don’t get sheets with very large spaces.

Your paper should be thick enough that your pen cannot break through it. Try to avoid using paper with a coating on it, as it can cause your hand to slide around.

You should always put a second piece of paper underneath the paper you are writing on. This gives your pen and hand additional support as you write.

practicing cursive handwriting and calligraphy

5. Write on a Stable Surface

To improve handwriting, you need to improve your desk. If it wobbles, you should prop it against a wall or fix the legs so the desk stays sturdy. You can write while holding your paper against your legs, but you should fix your feet to the floor and sit in a good chair.

Give yourself plenty of space to move your hands and arms. You should clear a few inches around your paper so you don’t bump into anything. You should also remove any objects that can become damaged if the ink runs off the page. One elementary tip for great handwriting is keeping the pen on the page! 😉

You can hold your paper down with one hand. Hold it down in a corner with your fingertips rather than using the entire arm of your non-writing hand. Laying your hand across part of your paper limits the room you have and can cause the ink to smear.

Related Read : 10+ Inspiring Journaling Prompts and Ideas to Get the Gears Turning

6. Improve Your Posture to Improve Your Handwriting

Learning how to get better handwriting involves learning how to hold your writing instrument properly. And that means you should start by sitting with a good posture . 

Your back should be straight with your feet flat on the floor. Your legs should be uncrossed, with your knees bent at right angles. If you have bad knees or if you feel cramps in your legs, you can stretch your legs out for a moment, but you should return to your posture as soon as possible. 

Relax the muscles in your arms and shoulders before you start to write. You can stretch them above your head or out in front of you to ease your muscles. If your shoulders feel stiff, roll them and straighten the position of your neck.

Your other hand can remain down by your side or lay on your writing desk. Do not curve either of your arms around your paper, as you risk skewing the angle of your pen. 

7. Grip Your Writing Utensils Well

There is no one pencil grip or writing grasp that everyone with nice handwriting has. But, if you learned a handwriting grasp in school, you probably learned the dynamic tripod grasp.

This involves gripping the barrel of your pen with your thumb and forefinger and using your middle finger as a support. Your fourth and fifth fingers stabilize the paper so it doesn’t move around as you write.

If your pen tends to shake as you grip it, you can try the lateral tripod method. Your thumb crosses the barrel of your pen, pinning it against your forefinger. This can give you more support, though it can strain your thumb. 

In a dynamic quadrupod grasp, you grip your pen with your thumb and first three fingers. This is a good grip if you have weak fine motor skills and need additional support with holding your pen. The lateral quadrupod grasp is a similar grasp, but your thumb crosses over to hold your pen against your forefinger.

Just remember to use a relaxed grip, not grasping too tight, as you learn to improve your handwriting skills. A relaxed grip gives you more control, while a tight grip can lead to heavy pressure, causing poor line quality and writer’s cramp.

Related Read : 15 Great Benefits of Learning a Second Language

8. Practice Basic Shapes

Start by making waves, loops, semi-circles, and circles with your pen. You can trace lines or a basic shape, or you can draw on a blank sheet of paper. Look closely at your figures and individual strokes; start from scratch if they are too close together or crooked. 

Feel free to get creative and make small doodles. Move your hand in different directions so you can stretch all of the tissues in your hand and practice making distinct shapes. With regular practice, you’ll improve your handwriting with consistent letterforms and aesthetically pleasing script!

9. Write Different Texts

Once you have basic shapes down, you can start practicing with words. Write your favorite quote multiple times on a sheet of blank paper. Write each line directly beneath the previous line so you can use a magnifying glass to compare how the two lines differ. 

Switch things up from using all lowercase letters to all the letters capitalized to title case and back. Also, go from cursive letters to block letters and then back to cursive letters.

Pangrams are sentences that use each letter of the alphabet. Write a few pangrams so you can practice writing each letter. The most common pangram in English for handwriting practice is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Another fun pangram you may enjoy writing is “How vexingly quick daft zebras jump!”

Make sure you practice special characters and punctuation in addition to letters as you improve your handwriting. An easy way to do that is to write mathematical formulas out. 

Don’t worry about writing fast at the start. Focus on your written style first, then faster writing as you watch your handwriting improve. With daily practice and building up the muscle memory, you’ll have faster and better handwriting in no time!

Related Read : 10+ Best Writing Websites, Forums & Writing Groups for Aspiring Authors

10. Challenge Yourself

Take every opportunity you can to practice handwriting tips. When you need to take notes on something, use writing utensils and paper instead of your computer. Incorporate note-taking tips into your handwriting tips like using different colors to designate different subjects.

When you are writing for pleasure during your free time, practice writing words and sentences slowly . Slowing your pace down can make your written block letters straighter and your cursive script more legible. You can start a timer and try writing one sentence in more than 10 seconds. 

If you can’t find opportunities to practice your handwriting, you should start a journal. Write at least one page every day talking about your life, thoughts, and desires, for example. Feel free to experiment with different types of journaling , like using a bullet journal. 

bad cursive writing style can be difficult to read

Master How to Improve Handwriting

You can learn to improve your handwriting and cursive writing style in no time. Start by looking over your work and getting resources for good writing. You should get a pleasant-to-use writing utensil, practice sheets, and a desk where you can write. 

Try out different grips and practice making basic shapes. Then increase the difficulty level, writing sentences and paragraphs with different combinations of letters. Take handwritten notes and branch out into journaling so you are always practicing. 

Thanks for reading our guide on how to improve your handwriting! We hope it helps, and if you have any questions, feedback, or other neat handwriting tips, let us know in the comments below.

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Typewriter trend helps teenagers with ADHD get into the writing spirit

Typewriter generic

A typewriting trend among teenagers could help kids become better writers, experts say.

Russell Watson, who founded Sunshine Coast Typewriters, said he had noticed a surge in interest among young people looking to buy their own typewriters – particularly among students with ADHD.

"They seem to be over technology and just like the idea of being able to type away on a typewriter," he said.

He said teens and tweens were swapping computer keyboards and word processors for the tactile "click clack" of mechanical typing in what was a typewriter resurgence.

An older man in a striped polo shirt smiles while holding a retro typewriter.

He said students with ADHD had "really taken" to typewriting because it was more physical, more "instant" and offered less distractions than digital typing.

"It's that whole tactile experience of writing – it's not just a keyboard," he said.

"It's the sound of the paper, the ratcheting of the bell, opening up the case, and knowing that what you've written can't be hacked, it can't be deleted."

'The kids went crazy'

Mr Watson said he first noticed the typewriting trend after the release of the popular Addams Family spin-off Wednesday, Netflix's most-streamed English series of all time, in which the main character owns a typewriter.

"I got inquiries, and I kept getting, 'My daughter is interested in a typewriter'," Mr Watson said.

But it wasn't until he supplied six typewriters to a Sunshine Coast schoolteacher that he realised the possible benefits for students, especially those with ADHD.

"The teacher reported back after a week of these typewriters and one of the kids [with] ADHD, she really battled to get her to write a single sentence," Mr Watson said.

"[But she] would not get off the typewriter. She just absolutely loved it."

Griffith University education expert Kathy Gibbs said she could see how typewriters could benefit students with ADHD but wasn't sure whether the benefits were sustainable over time.

Looking closely at a typewriter with its paper curled around the top cylinder. Gibberish words are printed on the paper.

"By using a mechanical typewriter or manual typewriter, they have to really focus on spelling the words they that want to use," Dr Gibbs said.

"They'll have to focus and concentrate on the task at hand, and there are no other distractions on that typewriter — other than the keypad in front of them."

Trend worth investigating

Dr Gibbs, who researches ADHD in teenage boys, said typewriters could become a useful classroom teaching tool.

But she said the novelty of typewriting could be causing students with ADHD to "hyperfocus" and their interest could wane "very quickly" after the initial experience.

"I'm going back to my own schooling days where typewriters were used, and a lot of students found typewriting class mundane and boring," she said.

"I can see for some students with ADHD, the novelty of using a typewriter may assist with focus and concentration, and the lack of other distractions that are on a computer."

"But I question how long that focus and interest will be sustained."

The typewriter trend would be worth investigating further, Dr Gibbs said – especially since typewriting could improve a student's ability to write sentences and improve their grasp of the English language.

She said it could also have a "flow-on effect" where students read more books and articles in their pursuit to become better writers.

"The key thing is engagement. If you've got students who are engaged and interested, they're going to learn," Dr Gibbs said.

Typewriter historian and restorer, Robert Messenger, was optimistic that young people would remain interested in typewriting.

He said many of his most enthusiastic customers were budding writers aged between eight and 15.

"[They tell] their parents or grandparents, they want to write the "Great Australian Novel" and they want to write it on a typewriter," he said.

"They amount of work I've got here, getting typewriters ready for young people, is quite surprising actually."

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