Bikekaitori & Hikaku

How To Improve Handwriting

Whatever your problem is with handwriting, it is very unlikely it cannot be remedied. People of all ages and professions take steps to improve their handwriting and almost always succeed.

It’s probably not your fault but due to the way that you were taught. Recently, handwriting has been given less emphasis in schools, partly from technology lessening the need for handwriting, and partly from a focus on learning script to develop writing skills. This leads to the exclusion of control, uniformity, and professionalism. The following practices can improve your handwriting.

Pen Grip

Unless your grip is very disabling, there is little need to change it. Most people grip the pen with their thumb, index and middle fingers. If you also rest the whole assembly on the ring finger, that is okay. Calligraphy writers rest the pen on the first knuckle so that the blunt end is pointing away from the body. Use whichever grip is most comfortable. If you do change, it will feel weird, but eventually, it will feel normal.

Stop drawing – use the shoulder group

Most people do not write but use their fingers to draw or scrawl the letters. This necessitates picking up the whole hand for each new word, causes your fingers to tire quickly, and results in cramped or jagged writing.

Instead, to increase endurance and control, learn to write using the muscles of the shoulder group. Surprisingly, the large muscles of the shoulder group are more than capable of making small, controlled movements, not only that, but they tire less quickly than the hand muscles.

Let’s write

Ensure your seating position is comfortable, so you’re not too low or high. The correct level is where your forearm is parallel or slopes slightly down towards the desk. This will give your whole arm the freedom to move it needs.

Using a wide ruled pad, write letter O’s, U’s and parallel L’s, twice as large as normal writing. Don’t join up just yet. Keep your hand in a locked yet relaxed position, and let the shoulder muscles do all the writing. The fingers should serve only as a guide and so should hardly move, the wrist even less so.

It will feel strange because every fiber of your being will want to do it the way you were taught as a child, the wrong way! Your letters and lines will be jagged and crumpled at first, but after practice, the O’s, U’s and L’s will become more uniform – that is the ultimate goal. Use the same principle for all the letters of the alphabet. Start by writing the letter “a” many times, twice it’s normal size, and as neat as you possibly can, every time. There is a reason why kids start off writing big letters, that’s because it works! When you feel more controlled, shrink them to normal size. The letters that are, not the kids.

Practice

You only have to practice for 10 – 15 minutes per day. Do not be tempted to binge practice. Practicing for a solid hour once a week will not work. Little and often is the only way.

After you feel confident with drawing separate letters neatly, you can begin to join them up. Writing “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is excellent practice, because it uses all the letters of the alphabet. Be sure to practice slowly and accurately just like before. Don’t try jumping in the deep end by writing too fast, you are not finished practicing yet! Also, don’t forget to rehearse punctuation and numerals in a similar way.

Improvement in your handwriting should be apparent after only a few weeks, but ensure that you still practice your facility drills to keep your skills up to scratch. 20 minutes per week will be enough to stop your cerebellum surrendering to the old style of writing.

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