Let me start by clarifying that this is not a calligraphy or handlettering blog post, but it is about how I can easily improve my daily handwriting. Maybe you also want to improve your handwriting, but you are overwhelmed by the beautiful scripts you see around you, then these three tips are going to help you.
Handlettering or calligraphy was always a step too far for me, which resulted in me not practicing my handwriting. Since half a year this has changed and how I have dealt with that, I am happy to share with you.
A neat handwriting goes back to my high school years. Not so much that I was really practicing then, but I thought it was very important that my writing looked neat. I'm one of those people who can easily overwrite an entire chapter, because I don't think it's neat enough. Everyone has his or her abnormality, isn't it 😉. By writing neatly and thus paying attention to my work, I studied better. I used to write a lot and I still do.
Later, in my early twenties, I bought a calligraphy set. I so wanted to be able to write beautiful decorative letters. I didn't do much with it, I found it too difficult. In my diaries you can see the development of my handwriting nicely. From one to another, to separate, from italics to straight, from round to long. As long as there is regularity in the letters and words, that's the most important thing for me to make it look neat. And let me just be not good at that 😊
My handwriting ruined by studying
During high school my notebooks looked super neat. Tightly written, beautiful titles, clear structure and then I started studying. Taking notes quickly was the motto. Then I had to work it out later at home, because there was no time for neat writing during the lectures. The writing out was so much, that I could hardly keep it up to date in my study time. Sometimes I wrote so sloppily that I could not even decipher my own handwriting.
I worked fulltime during the day and in the evening I studied for my bachelor's degree at the HEAO in Breda. Because of my busy schedule, I stopped working out my notes neatly and remained scribbling ... that was the time when my handwriting went backwards. Even when I was making a summary for which I really took the time, my handwriting didn't come out neat anymore. Later at university, during my management science studies, it got even worse. I wonder if that's why there aren't many doctors with good handwriting. They must have had to write a lot in the short time of a college or whatever. 🤔
A computer with printer a solution?
You'd almost say, "Esther, if you've had to write so much, shouldn't you have a good handwriting? After all, you have practiced a lot". You'd think so, but nothing could be further from the truth. The pressure of time undermines clear writing (in my case). The cluttered notebooks, sloppy handwritten reports, went against me quite a bit. I was going to work it all out on the computer. Beautifully printed summaries, neat reports. I can type super fast, so it saved me a lot of time and yes! finally decent work again. Unfortunately the typing didn't help me with my studies. I needed the writing to be able to make the material my own.
To keep the taking of notes fun while it's not neat, but efficient, I started making mind maps. Mind Mapping is, in a nutshell, the process of working out the study material in the form of a diagram that starts with the subject I had to learn. By mapping all aspects of that subject and linking them together in a drawn diagram, that made learning the material, for an image thinker like me, a lot easier. And that is how I still work, even when I want to prepare a job interview.
Enough about my study time and ruining my handwriting, back to the now. I would like to return to a neat, regular handwriting. Especially now that I work a lot in my bullet journal, I like to see a neat handwriting for myself. The beautifully curly letters etc. is not my goal. Just write neatly again in a normal day to day handwriting. The letters and words at a correct distance from each other and so on. Below you can read the three tips I use to improve the regularity of my writing:
Tip 1: A nice pen
One pen is not the same as another. I like to write with a fountain pen or a fineliner, another finds just a Bic pen super nice to write with. It makes a world of difference to me whether I write with a nice pen for me or not. For me, a medium fine tip and a slim grip are important. Because I write italic as well as normal, I use one fountain pen per type of writing. I can't write nicely in italics with the fountain pen I use for my upright letters. The nib forms to the hand and the handwriting. If you use the pen long enough, you will really notice the difference.
Tip 2: French lined paper
I swear by a notebook with French lined paper called séyès. This paper originates from France and is widely used there in elementary school. My practice book happens to be from France. I bought it there during a vacation in the supermarket. You can also buy it in the Netherlands. For example, you can buy the loose-leaf sheets at the Hema . Just search on 'seyes'. Do you prefer the paper in workbook form, you can here .
The construction of the lines help me with both the height of the letters and the distance between letters and words. I think it is ideal.
Tip 3: Practice for a short time but regularly
I know from myself that if I have to sit down for an hour to practise something, there is a good chance that in time I will throw in the towel. Hmmm ... while I'm writing this I immediately think of drawing, then it doesn't apply to me. I can sit on a chair all day and draw, paint, doodle.
Aaannndd back to practicing ... 🙈 Improving my handwriting shouldn't take an hour a day, I'm just not going to keep that up. I spend 10 minutes a day on improving my handwriting in a focused way.
Through Dafont, a free font website, I picked a typeface and printed the alphabet. I practice this script by writing it down. I write 2 pages filled with only the letter and 1 page with a three-letter word that starts with the letter that is on the roll to practice. I take my workbook, my Lamy Safari fountain pen and set my timer for 10 minutes and off I go. If the timer goes off in the middle of a line, well, tomorrow is another day.
By practicing for a short period of time every day, I create regularity. And with that, a habit of paying attention to my handwriting. When I am finished with this font I want to practice italics. I would like to write cursive again, as we have learned a long time ago. I always look with admiration at the handwriting of a school teacher. I love it.
In my habit tracker I keep track of when I have practiced, so improving my handwriting is not only included as an operational thing in my journal, but also as a point of improvement in my tracker. Two birds with one stone. And who knows in a while I'm going to try calligraphy writing myself, but not for now.
Oh, and don't forget to download the free blank template of the seyes paper (French lined).
Do you practice to improve your daily handwriting? How do you do that? Let me know in the comments below ⬇
A warm creative salute,