If you want nice handwriting then you couldn’t be in a better place! Get your supplies ready and your workbook from the previous challenge. The very first step you have to do is analyse what you’ve got.
Get Nice Handwriting In Part 2 of The Upper Hand
Recap of the seven challenges:
- How to build your workbook
- Examine your current handwriting style. (you are here)
- The basics: movement exercises, tools and fundamental skill development.
- How to develop good habits
- Looking at Print handwriting, developing your print font in uppercase and lowercase.
- Cursive handwriting, developing your style!
- In review, assessing your current handwriting and can we take that further.
Welcome to Part 2 of The Upper Hand Handwriting Challenge!
This post, in particular, will be split into 3 sections
- Why you might want to improve your handwriting
- Assessing what you’ve got
- Mistakes to avoid when aiming to get nice handwriting
1. Why you might want to improve your handwriting
I wanted to write this section before you assess the handwriting that you already have. Taking things slow and not rushing this exercise will prove to be the most beneficial. Trust me. I’ve had to do it twice (that’s all in the first challenge).
Writing by hand can act as a wonderful mindfulness exercise.
So, What is mindfulness?
In short, it’s defined as:
“a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
Mindfulness is the art of living in the present moment; no thoughts of the past or dreaming of the future. Only the here and now.
A mindful attitude takes a bit of time to develop. I’ve been practising for two full years now, and I would happily recommend the practice to ANYONE. It may not be for you, but it is definitely worth a shot.
You don’t have to meditate cross-legged on a floor and burning stinky incense. There are many ways in which you can practice mindfulness. Of course, you can practice mindful eating; mindful breathing or mindful walking.
Now you can practice mindful writing; paying attention to how the pen or pencil feels in your hand. Pay attention to the pressure you are using and even how the ink flows out of the pen. Is it flowing fast, slow? Is it clumpy?
Having extreme focus is another form of acting mindfully.
Now I can hear you saying “yeah Claire, this is all very interesting but why the flip should I care about mindfulness at all?”
As I alluded to in the introduction of this post, good handwriting and mindfulness meditation can lead to improved memory, better focus and even better sleep! I write from first hand experience.
My notes from University look like a doctor has scrawled them with a broken hand. If you aren’t able to understand your notes, lists and amazing ideas; it’s going to be exhausting trying to think of those fabulous ideas all over again.
How are you going to maximise your productivity when you can’t even understand your notes?
Practice, build your dreams, write those lists and crush the living heck out of your goals! I know that I said you don’t have to meditate to practise mindfulness but I highly recommend that you try it at least once.
In 2014, I began meditating for the first time and it has completely changed my life for the better! The simple act of meditation can literally change the grey matter of your brain.
The benefits of meditation are well known; you get calmer, you can focus much better, your stress levels can be reduced, you can sleep better, and I’ve discovered that when I meditate or use a gratitude journal, my positivity and happiness goes through the roof.
Now comes the science bit!
Grey matter is the part of the brain where neurons connect with each other. This is the part of the brain that is activated when we learn something new. When we meditate, we stimulate the growth of new brain cells.
With practice, we can create new neural pathways in the brain (all that exciting grey matter), and with regular practice, we re-enforce those neural pathways to reconfigure your brain!
That’s when we feel all the marvellous benefits mapped out previously.
That’s why, you should at the very least, practice your handwriting and at least open yourself up to the possibility of changing your life for the better.
Why Do You Want To Improve Your Handwriting?
- Is it improved legibility?
- Do you just want nice handwriting?
- Wanting to develop your style?
- You might want to learn how to write efficiently while still being easily read.
- Learning how to write a lot without developing a crippling hand cramp. I have suffered from crocheter’s cramp and it’s not pleasant! I discovered some great techniques to prevent it and I applied it to my handwriting development.
Don’t fret; the only tools you need right now are paper and a pen or pencil.
2.Assessing What You’ve Got
I recommend using 1cm graph paper or a dot pad. You can always use the handwriting worksheets provided.
Write each letter of the alphabet in each of the squares. Write them in your usual style and begin to examine it.
- Does your capital D look more like an O?
- Could any of your letters be confused for another?
- Are they slanted? Leaning to the left or right?
- How tall are your letters?
- Are they short and tubby?
Grab a red pen and circle the letters that you are unhappy with. These are the letters you will concentrate on during practice.
For me, it was a lowercase e and a capital B.
- What do you want to change about your chosen letters?
- Do you want your letters to be taller?
- More like the lady who writes the chalk letters on sesame street?
- What would it take to turn your alphabet into nice handwriting?
You’ve had a look at your handwriting and figured out which of the letters require a little work.
If we can take a look at your alphabet once more;
- Is your writing feint? Press harder.
- Are your lines really dark? Ease up on the pressure.
- Did your fingers get sore? You really need to loosen your grip.
- Are you sitting correctly?
- Is your writing slanted? Adjust the paper to straighten up your writing.
I made it a mindful mission to always write my lowercase e’s and capital B’s in my chosen style. Every single time.
I still practice. Pinky promise.
In fact, I’ve written this entire series of challenges with pen and paper first. Flexing my muscles and developing my ideas with a little more clarity.
3. Mistakes To Avoid When Improving Your Handwriting As A Grown Up
When you have already invested in improving your handwriting, there are a few mistakes that are easy to make. If you are mindful in your approach, it should be easier to avoid them.
- Grip. Your pen may indeed be mightier than the sword, but it is not a weapon.
- Don’t simply try to copy someone’s nice handwriting exactly. You can be inspired, sure, but don’t flat out copy. It doesn’t allow your personality to shine and who wants that?!
- Don’t worry if, initially, you have copied a font almost exactly. That’s how many of us learn new skills, and it’s a fairly common occurrence.
- If you’re passionate about pursuing your handwriting goals, you will find that with practice and play, you will see your style developing.
- Make a point of slowing down and reflecting on far you’ve come, will help you see elements of you in your handwriting.
That can lead to beautifully written notes, cards, fancy writing on scrapbook layouts or decking out your planner and sharing online! Allow the whole pinterest community to drool over your words!
As for cursive, keep in mind that it’s a completely different style of writing to print, so don’t attempt to join up print letters. It won’t work.
Always remember why you started trying to improve your handwriting! (Why did you want to do this?)
If the answer is simply “to have nice handwriting” then that is enough! As long as you remember WHY you started.
In the next post, you will see the basic shapes. Feel free to copy these into your workbook or print out the pdf version for your binder or workbook.
Do you need some inspiration?
Inspiring Fonts To Copy
Now I’m sharing inspirational images to help you figure out which style of handwriting font that will give you nice handwriting!
Are you ready to get started?