If you’ve always wanted to improve your handwriting but never got around to it, here’s your chance.
If you’re a firm believer in graphology — the study of handwriting and its relation to character traits — you may believe that your handwriting is as fixed as your character.
But you’d be wrong.
You may also believe that decent handwriting is obsolete, or that teaching cursive in schools is a waste of time. But for many, teaching handwriting is still something we need to take seriously.
As is teaching ourselves good handwriting.
There’s a wealth of resources, both online and offline, designed to help you straighten out those scribbles, and to make your scruffy handwriting somewhat more readable.
Why Handwriting is Important For Adults
For children, good handwriting can lead to improved grades, and an easier time at school. For adults, however, the benefits are different. And they are more than simple vanity.
Writing by hand has its own host of assets, from acting as therapy to improving memory. But if your scrawls remain illegible, not just to others, but to yourself, you lose out on a good portion of those benefits.
By not being able to look back on, and understand, your written-down thoughts and ideas, you are unable to make proper decisions based on them. If your writing is especially bad, going through those thought processes again is often easier than struggling to decipher what you wrote in the first place.
If you need any more convincing, watch this entertaining TEDx Event talk given by Jake Weidmann. He explores the connection between the pen and how we learn, think, and carry our cultural heritage in a time when everything around us is bits and bytes.
If you’re looking for an even more pragmatic reason to improve your handwriting, the handwritten note will never be fully replaced by email. When it comes to building your network, or climbing the career ladder, Jessica Cleiman believes:
In this day and age, when sadly we’re getting fewer and fewer letters in the mail, a handwritten thank you note, well-crafted on good stationery, will make a candidate [or acquaintance] stand out from others who chose not to take that extra, personal step.
It’s true that a hand-written note tends to hold more value than a simple email or text. If you are able to craft such a note in decent, if not excellent, handwriting, you’re able to use this as a tool to create deeper relationships, and — according to some small business owners — as an excuse to stand out from the crowd.
A Few Common Lessons
Throughout the courses, lessons, apps, and books that follow, there are a few basics that keep coming through.
- Start with basic movement exercises to loosen up
- Practice your handwriting every day.
- Slow your writing down
- Examine writing that you like
Whichever of the following resources you choose to make use of, be sure to keep these four “rules” in mind at all times until your improved handwriting style becomes second nature.
The Basics: Writing Cursive
This basic, 29-part YouTube course on How To Write In Cursive (the first video is above) is a thorough place to start. You will feel like you’re back in school, but you’ll be surprised at how many of the fundamentals you’ve completely forgotten.
Each lesson is only a few minutes long, and comes with a free worksheet (the link to which is in the corresponding video description) to print out to help you practice.
If you want to practice these basics even more, print out and work your way through this cursive writing workbook from Peterson Handwriting.
Once you’ve nailed the basics again, you may want to make a few alterations to your style to add some more personality, or professionalism to your handwriting.
This 14-minute video by professional sign-writer John Neal is aimed specifically at adults who want to improve their handwriting. The meat and potatoes starts at 2:30, where you’ll be shown how to pay special attention to rhythm, speed, and direction.
Becoming a Pro
Next, work your way through this short, 8-part YouTube course taught by a handwriting specialist. Much of the information does overlap with the previous video, but hearing two different descriptions of similar techniques will most definitely serve to help.
If you’ve tried the above courses (and practiced), without seeing much improvement, it may be time to spend a little cash on something more comprehensive.
Udemy have a highly rated 4-hour course titled Improve your Handwriting – Improve your Life ($100), with many past students citing “immediate improvements”.
The aim of the course is to guide you through daily, 10-minute practice sessions gradually changing your muscle memory, and causing a positive effect on your handwriting. You can sign up to Udemy for a free preview of the course.
Going Old School
If you’re looking at using a textbook to help improve your handwriting, there are two books I would recommend.
The first is Rosemary Sassoon’s Improve Your Handwriting ($13). The structure of this book encourages adult readers to experiment with styles to find the one that works for them, including left-handers.
The second is Barbara Getty’s Write Now: The Complete Program For Better Handwriting ($18). The aim of this book is to help anyone “achieve elegant, legible handwriting” by focusing on writing in a specific italic style.
Try Two Mobile Apps
Although handwriting is almost exclusively for pen and paper these days, you can use mobile devices (usually tablets) to help you practice. Using these apps on your smartphone is possible, but won’t be particularly effective as you need a larger, flatter area on which to write.
If you have an iPad, the Cursive Practice app (Free) is an easy way for you to practice your cursive writing on the go. The lessons take you through uppercase, lowercase, individual words, sentences, and numbers. You’re also able to change the width and style of your “pen”.
A similar option for Android devices is Writing Cursive (Free). This mainly focuses on uppercase and lowercase letters, so has less functionality than the iOS app mentioned above. Even so, it’s still an easy and enjoyable way to practice your cursive to help build that muscle memory.
Practice Handwriting on Worksheets
Once you’ve spent some time studying how to improve your handwriting, you’ll need to have some decent worksheets on which to practice.
If you search Google Images for “handwriting worksheets” (searching specifically for large images which are suitable for printing), you should be able to find all you need. If you’re after something more specific, try:
If you’re after something more specific, you can use a wesbite such as HandwritingPractice to create the exact worksheet you need. These include both dot and outline worksheets, with plenty of customization options.
A Life of Beautiful Handwriting
Once you’ve spent a good deal of time practicing the lessons you learn from these resources, you’ll turn writing beautifully into a habit. This should be a habit you’ll never have to relearn. You may even love your new handwriting so much you want to turn it into your very own font.
After seeing all of the resources that are so easily available, will you be making the time to improve your own handwriting? If so why? Why do you think good handwriting is so important?