How does one go about improving his/her handwriting...?

Hi all,

This is my first post here so I don’t know if this is an approriate question. I have asked many (including artists) how could one (namely me) go about improving his handwriting, because ever even now at the age of 20 I am still writing worse than a six year old. No matter how many lines of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” I wrote, my handwriting is still worse than that of a doctor.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions, or maybe I shall forgo writing and just keep to typing?

Let me know if you get anything…I too have less-than-desireable penmanship.
My writing resembles that of a serial killer. :wink:

I would suggest “tracing” proper handwriting. I learned to draw by tracing comic books (I still can’t draw that well, but A LOT better), so I figure that handwriting is similar…

Me too. My writing has always been bad, and has become even worse since working with computers full-time. Fortunately I’m freelance; I used to dread applying for a job and finding it was one of those companies that use graphology in the selection process (beware of any firm that says apply with a handwritten letter).

Find a retired nun, buy a ruler and a desk, and get to it!
Practice practice practice!

Nun? Why…?

IIRC, the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (the newer edition) has a section on how to improve handwriting through various exercises. You can usually find a copy of this book at the library.

I used to have absolutely horrible handwriting, but in my art classes I could always block print letters for comics and other words very well. It’s all a matter of coordination, and learning what shapes to make with your hand. Handwriting is very much an artistic discipline.

I taught myself to use about 4 or 5 different fonts, and while it took awhile to get used to, my handwriting is much neater.

When I was in high school, I used to sit and practice for hours. I would find someones penmanship that I liked and tried to make it my own. It is all in training the mind on copying what you see. Visualize it, practice it, make it yours.

I noticed my handwriting improve markedly since I took up caligraphy as a hobby. It is literaly the art of beautiful writing. Once I learned it properly, the skills and strokes (You Pervert!) nessisary transfer to the regular pen.
So shuffle over to the Office supply store, get yourself a Shaffer set, get out the fine nib and practice, practice, practice.

My handwriting used to look like that of a monkey with Parkinson’s Disease.

So when I was about 19, in an effort to improve myself, I bought a book on penmanship, and practiced like mad the new shapes, until it became completely natural to form them.

My handwriting now looks like that of a monkey having ECT, but in a different style.

I used to write Chinese too, and that looked like Chinese characters written by a monkey having a seizure.

My point: IMO, you either have good handwriting, or you don’t.

Oo, oo, one of my favorite subjects!

As an adult, I had terrible handwriting that seemed to be getting worse and worse over time. I finally made up my mind to improve it, and have had great success. My handwriting isn’t perfect–I just don’t have the patience to hone it beyond a certain point–but it is legible to everyone, even when I’m not making any special effort to write neatly, and, IMHO, it’s much nicer looking than it was.

I used the book Teach Yourself Better Handwriting by Rosemary Sassoon. The book teaches the Italic alphabet, which is well suited to printing as well as joined writing. It’s not at all like an italic typeface. It’s just a nice, clean style of writing.

The book has lots and lots of exercises to do, and that’s the key. You will not improve your handwriting without practice, practice, practice. Practicing drawing straight lines. Practicing drawing basic letter shapes. Practicing letter combinations. Some of the exercises seem pointless, but just keep trying. Even when my exercises looked awful compared to the examples in the book, I was still improving my control, and it showed up in my writing. The time you invest in practicing pays off, over and over again, in everything you write!

I used to think that people with nice handwriting were concentrating on every letter they wrote, and I said to myself, hey, I’m not gonna waste brainpower on making my cursive perfect when I should be having Great Thoughts about what I’m writing. So I had rotten handwriting that nobody could read (sometimes not even me) and I was proud of it. (And, damn it, I always sound like a Christian witnessing when I talk about this. :)) Once I started practicing and saw an immediate improvement in my handwriting, I wished I’d found this book in college. I think of all the notebooks I’ve filled with crabbed, messy writing, and realize that my class notes would be a much better resource for me if I’d improved my handwriting sooner.

If you want to improve your handwriting, I recommend that you find a book like the one I mentioned. Avoid books for teaching little kids how to write (which is a very different process), and look for books on retraining an adult’s handwriting. You might want to get some different books from the library and try them all, then buy the book you like best. Practice, and stick with it! This is a process that doesn’t have a clear endpoint. I still find little things to work on now and then so that I can improve my handwriting even more.


First, find handwriting you like and then, practice making your letters look like those. Not sentences - pages and pages and pages of “a’s” then “b’s” then “c’s” and so on and so on until you don’t have to think about it anymore, your letter looks the way you want it to look, without effort from you.

I also did it in highschool when you spend hours with a pen in your hand - and this looks like taking notes. I’m willing to bet you could do it in business meetings.

Thanks for all the advices…

Now I could write for less than 2 miniutes and my hand will be cramping. Hope I can put up with the practise.

Next stop: Borders…

Lighten up on the writing utensil, i.e. relax, that will also help.

My handwriting is not legible at first. But there is some consistency. Lower case i’s, m’s, n’s, r’s, u’s, v’s, and w’s are very subtlely different :slight_smile:

If I want to right something neat, I switch hands as I’m ampedextrous (sp?). But it appears that, as I’m most likely concentrating more, my left hand is legible while my right hand is not.

My handwriting used to look like that of a monkey with Parkinson’s Disease.

That’s not necessarily true - my handwriting isn’t awful , but it’s definately not what I learned at school, and nobody over 40 can read it. I’m frequently complimented on my Japanese handwriting by native speakers/writers, however. (Now, granted, you’ve got your “talking dog” syndrome, but my teachers tell me that too.) I think it’s because I had to learn to draw, then “write” these later in life - a lot more thought went into learning hirigana and kanji. (My katakana’s gone downhill, but it’s still not the slapdash scrawl the native speakers often use.)

I have the Teach Yourself Better Handwriting book, although cough cough I’ve never gone and used it, but it seems excellent in teaching you an adult script that you can write with more speed and legibility. It has you examine what’s wrong with your handwriting now and try to fix those precise errors - a lot on writing speed, for example. I reccomend the book, in a theoretical sort of way. :slight_smile:

LostCause, Better Handwriting* has advice on your problem, and some suggestions: changing your grip, changing your pen or pencil, exercises to help you loosen up and relax your grip, etc. Other good handwriting books should have something on this, too. It shouldn’t hurt to write. Your first step should be to figure out how to stop that!

You obviously didn’t go to Catholic school. Nun + ruler = neat, legible handwriting.

Look at a copy of the Declaration of Independence. I would love for my handwriting to look like that. How did they write so straight without lines on the paper?

Also, while my cursive isn’t atrocious, I have a terrible problem connecting certain letters. If i’m writing the word ‘because’ for example, The ‘B’ ‘E’ and ‘C’ are just squished together. I just cant make my hand move properly. I guess handwriting received more attention in formal education in the 18th and 19th century than today.

I’d be darned if that isn’t true!

Try different pens, I’ve found that a fine point does wonders for my handwriting. And as they have all said: practice, practice and practice.