Welcome to the next installment into my “Improve your everyday handwriting” series :) If you missed the first part of the series, here is the link. And if you don’t feel like reading it, here’s a quick summary:
What is the series about? Improving your own handwriting. This means using your wonderful handwriting skills as your template, and making minor tweaks using some of my strategies to improve how it looks on paper.
Where do I start? Analyse your handwriting and ask yourself some questions about: spacing between letters/words/sentences; any nuances and idiosyncrasies (e.g. how do you dot the ‘i’ and cross the ‘t’?); handwriting slant; is it mainly cursive, printing, a mad hybrid of both; how far up and down do you write your letters (look at the b, d, g, j, y)…
What do I do now? Work out what you want to improve about your handwriting and let’s get cracking!
And then what? Grab yourself some essentials such as a writing implement of your choice, some paper or my writing guide., a comfy place to write, 5-10 mins of your time each day, and a nice cuppa :)
How the heck do I do this? Here is a simple suggested activity: write the first 5 letters of the alphabet on each line of your paper, then write each letter until you get to the end of the line. Then practice. Continue until you’ve gone through the alphabet in lowercase letters, then go on to uppercase letters. Then practice some more. Nothing will ever replace daily practice! If you take anything away from this series, is that you have to practice to ever be good at anything!
That’s it?! Well, yes, but you can also set yourself some SMART goals to keep you motivated in your handwriting practice. If you want to, you can also look for an accountability partner to motivate you in your journey. When you write, you’re aiming for consistency with your letters. Don’t rub anything out – just embrace the mistakes and keep going :) Above all else, be gentle with yourself when you’re starting out.
There’s no time frame for how long you should practice individual letters, it’s really how happy you are with your results. This series is all about celebrating your progress rather than making comparisons with my handwriting or anyone else’s. We’re all on this journey to continue to learn and improve ourselves, don’t let others dictate your own personal journeys. Accept the bumps in the road, celebrate the little victories!
When you’re happy with where your individual letters are, here are some more exercises in handwriting with words. I should also reiterate that I’m by no means an expert on handwriting and most of these tips are what I’ve learned from my wonderful grandmother and through my own personal experiences in handwriting practice.
Choose a letter, any letter – you don’t have to start with the most obvious letter in the alphabet, like ‘A’. So I’m gonna use the letter ‘M’, just because I can. Start with five 3-letter words and write one word on each line. I try to find words which have at least one vowel as the second letter. So the ones I’ve chosen for ‘M’ have a, e, i, o, u as the second letter – map, men, mix, mob, mud – and I also have a mix of letters with ascenders (‘b’) and descenders (‘p’) in the second consonant. You don’t have to be as technical as this when choosing letters, but I like being able to practice a range of letters in my words. Here is a sample of my 3-letter ‘M’ words
Depending on how much time you have and how much progress you’re getting in your handwriting, here are some practice schedules you can try:
- 5 different words a day for a letter a week starting with 3-letter words, 4-letter words, 5-letter words, 6-letter words, 7-letter words, 8-letter words. For example, Week 1 might be the letter A. You’d choose five different words each day to practice starting with 3-letter words. After you’ve completed 35 different 3-letter words (7 days of practice), move on to letter B next week using 3-letter words. (N.B. Not all letters will have a massive list of 3-letter words, take the letter ‘Q’ for example). Once you’ve completed the alphabet in 3-letter words, move on to 4-letter words in the same fashion, and so on…
- A letter a day, 5 different words a day, starting with 3-letter words, 4-letter words, and so on and so forth. For example, Day 1 might be the letter A. You’d choose five different 3-letter words to practice for that day. Day 2 might be the letter ‘Z’. You’d choose five different 3-letter words to practice for that day. Stay on 3-letter words until you’ve practiced the entire alphabet, then go to 4-letter words using the same way.
- A letter a week writing 5 different words a days starting with 3-letter words, then 4-letter words, and so on. For example, Week 1 might be the letter A. You choose five 3-letter words on Monday, then five 4-letter words on Tuesday, five 5-letter words Wednesday, five 6-letter words Thursday, five 7-letter words Friday, five 8-letter words Saturday, five 9-letter words Sunday. Then Week 2 is a different letter using the same schedule.
Whatever you choose to do here, are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Letter spacing in words can be a bit tricky. I think in the typography world, it’s called kerning (correct me if I’m wrong here!) As a rule of thumb (based on completely anecdotal experience), depending on the nib size, you should be able to draw a line between each letter without that line touching the letters on either side. Below are just a few examples, with the left being ideal letter spacing, and the right being not so ideal:
Sometimes though, tighter letter spacing is a handwriting nuance that you like, so don’t let me stop you from using this :) Like I said, it’s what you want to achieve!
- Again, spacing between words should be able about a letter spacing length or the length of the letter ‘w’
- Don’t erase any mistakes – so important so that you can look over your progress between each practice session
- Date each of your practice sessions so you can track progress :)
And that concludes the next installment of the improve your everyday handwriting series. This part of the series will take a few weeks sometimes months to practice, so take your time. I’ll be posting a new post each month, so if you feel like you’re cracking on quickly, then continue on to the next part of the series.
Improve your everyday handwriting in sentences… Until then, happy handwriting :)