Writing Wednesday: Improving handwriting

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Vintage ZANER-BLOSER 1948 3rd Grade Handwriting Practice Booklet "WE WRITE NOW" - Back Cover

My handwriting is pretty atrocious, despite the fact that I write a lot every day in my planner, my journal, and other notebooks. I don’t really have an excuse. My handwriting has never been great, but lately it’s worse than ever. If I take my time my penmanship is fine, but usually I’m writing as fast as possible and the result is a mess.

I recently decided I need to do something about it, especially for my journals. I want to be able to read my journals years from now, and considering my eyesight is certainly not going to improve with age, I need to clean up my handwriting. I keep telling myself, if it’s worth writing, it’s worth writing legibly! So I’m making an effort to slow down and form my letters deliberately.

When I was about 20 years old I decided to make a determined effort to improve my penmanship. I took out a book from the library designed to help with just such a thing. I practiced forming my letters correctly, loops and points and crossing my t’s horizontally. You’d never know it to look at my writing now that I spent that time trying to improve it.

Have you ever made a conscious effort to improve your handwriting? How did it go?

9 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: Improving handwriting

  1. I use clairefontaine seyes paper (a french ruling commonly used by school children) — it’s available through the goulet pen company, listed as a “french ruled”. The particular rules of it are that, when writing script, capitals go up to the third line, loops in lowercase letters go up to the third line as well (l,f,h,k,etc.), lines in lowercase letters that extend upwards go up to the second line (t,d, etc.), the bodies if you will of all lowercase letters remain between the dark baseline and the first line up from that, so letters like a, e, i, and r all remain between the bottom line and that first line up. In addition, letters that extend downward go down two lines.

    I use it for improving my left-handed handwriting (I’m a natural righty).

  2. My six-year-old grandson missed a spelling word because his printing was so illegible. I bought two inexpensive composition books and gave him one of my Pelikano Jr. pens, and now we each practice in our own penmanship book. His printing improved tremendously when I showed him how to make the letters; apparently the method is to assume the children will just sort of figure it out. Not only has his penmanship improved, but mine has too. Part of it was just paying closer attention to what I am writing, but I also discovered I have large handwriting and trying to contain it on very narrow lines makes it go all wonky.

  3. I keep about half of my fountain pen collection inked most of the time. That’s probably too many, but it encourages me to use them daily to make sure they keep a good flow… I know how big of a pain it is when they’re not used enough! They get clogged or develop air-pockets if not used, so I’m happily “forced” to scribble my to-do lists and any work as church historian… It’s a labor of love, though…

  4. Like many, my handwriting isn’t bad when I take the time, but kind of awful when I’m rushing. It’s funny to look back at my school notes, and compare what I wrote in class vs what it looked like when I rewrote them.

  5. I have a pretty enough left-handed handwriting (and am left-handed). But I practice with my right hand all the time!

  6. Like you, my writing is better when I slow down. I never reflected on it until now. I intend to respect what I consider important enough to write down by writing it well enough for anyone to read. Thank you for the wake-up call.

  7. Left-handed and write with a hook. Remember being covered in ink during 2nd grade. Most of my life thought illegible was a virtue. Printing now and tempted to try a fountain pen again after all these years just to break out of the virtuous.

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