How to Improve Your Handwriting

Improving our handwriting is something that many of us have on our ‘eventually to-do’ lists. Some of us want to improve so that we may make better first impressions. Other so that we can read the notes we have taken in a lecture or meeting 3 weeks ago without having to resort to decryption methods. Handwriting is still a relevant thing today. We use touch screens that take stylus inputs, we still hand write notes now and again, and we still need to fill in forms. So, if your handwriting is hideous, you need not despair. There are ways to improve your ugly scribbles, and maybe even achieve neatness! In this article, I have broken down some core hints and tips.

How to Improve Your Handwriting

Pen and Paper

When you write, are you using a pen? a pencil? a fountain pen? Do you write on copy paper, notebook paper? cardboard? It is important to take into consideration that for each person, each writing tool will have different results. For example, I write well with a pencil, but disgracefully with a gen pen. For this reason, I always avoid gel pens. It is generally advised that left-handed people should also avoid any pen type that will smudge (isn’t quick to dry) as they move their hand across the page.

The type of paper can have an impact as well, although not as much as the pen. Take some nice, notebook quality paper, and use a pen that does not smudge, and at least you’ll have clean writing, if not neat (yet!).


As a child, when we start to learn to write, we are made to write dozens of pages of the same few squiggles. This is enforced so that we can develop ‘muscle-memory’ of the motions that make up the letters of the alphabet. Once our hands remember how to shape those letters, we have those motions with us for life. What you must do to override these learned and ingrained shapes, is to practice the shapes that you want to be making. Begin by making curve, loopy shapes on paper. Keep them about the size of letters, and don’t allow them to become angular. This will help your hand to learn to glide into smooth shapes as it is writing. Practice all the time, even when you only have a couple of minutes to spare.

Loose Grip

Another essential tip. Keep your grip on your pen or pencil loose. It’s not the goal to strangle the ink out of the biro. If you want nice, flowing penmanship, then you have to let go of rigidity and excessive firmness. This goes for the pressure that you put on the page as well. It is much more likely that you will create a rough, angular shape when you are pressing down on that small point with all your upper body weight.

Use Worksheets or Books

There are a number of excellent resources available online for improving handwriting. Worksheets are one of them. They can show you how to write each letter the way that it was intended to be written. There are many styles of writing that you can get sheets for, so take a look around, and see which ones look like you would want to write.

There are also a number of good textbooks and practice books available online to purchase. These will guide you through learning to write beautifully from start to finish. One highly recommended example is the old fashioned, but still relevant Spencerian Theory Book. This is a book that they used to teach penmanship in the 19th century, but much of it still holds true for the modern writer, as well.

Use a Guide

If the problem is less that you can’t write nicely, and more that your letters don’t line up at the bottom, or your rows slant upwards or downwards, then use a guide. This is such an easy but overlooked method to improve writing. All that you need is a sheet of lined paper underneath the one that you intend to write on. Place it so that you can see through the top page to the lined sheet underneath, and use it as a guide to show you where to begin each letter.

Lining up your words and letters can actually have a much more dramatic effect than you would think, so I would recommend trying this even if slanting and misalignment aren’t the reason you are looking to improve.


Getting very consistent with your handwriting is also a good idea for improvement. Make sure that you are using the same shape and symbol for all of your lowercase ‘r’s for example. If you are a ‘circumstantial writer’ (you write the same letter in different ways depending on what letter it comes after or before), then you should focus on this especially. Getting a consistency of size, shape, and style across your writing will make it so much more cohesive and pleasing on the eye.

In the End | Conclusion

All you have to do is focus your energies on making more rounded, consistently sized and shaped letters. Do it regularly, with enough practice to bring out the results that you want. There are a lot of resources out there to help you get right into the details of transforming your writing, from textbooks to websites with printouts. It depends on what you are going for (penmanship championship or legible notes), hwo much time you have, and where you are now!

It is worth mentioning that handwriting is improvable, but very rarely is it completely transformable. You will need to work with what you have already got to some extent. But it gives a personal touch to your writing if it is unique to you, so don’t worry too much about it! Having readable, clear writing is the main goal.

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