how to get better handwriting
US President Barack Obama signs bills declaring three new national monuments in the Oval Office of the White House July 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

“How do I get better handwriting?” is a question everyone should ask themselves once a year.

It sounds weird, yes. We now live in a world where we text and type on our phones more than we write on paper,

There are keyboards to type all our wants and wishes — who even writes anymore?

The people who care about their future, that’s who.

“How do I get better handwriting?” is a question that matters more than you think.

When you ask yourself, “How do I get better handwriting?” you’re not just figuring out how to make your writing easier to read.

You’re going on a journey into your character.

When you analyse how you write, you’re discovering aspects of yourself. You’re finding out what makes you unique, the distinct combination of your personality traits, quirks, and emotions.

Some you may already know, some you may not.

Either way, it is interesting and important to know.

Imagine it as an open book that you can read, telling you the most important story of all: you.

how to get better handwriting

Which one is closest to how you write? Source: AFP

What your handwriting says about you

Knowing who you are is key to making some of the biggest decisions in life, such as finding the best subjects at university and best careers for your personality.

There are many ways to do this — the most immediate is by your handwriting,  using the very hands you’re using to read this article.

It is said that how you dot your Is and cross your Ts could reveal over 5,000 different personality traits.

Then, there’s how fast you write, how much space you give between alphabets and words, how much pressure you put on your pen, how you loop your Ls and Ys, and how rounded your Os are.

How you do any of these is unique.

And if you write in a language other than English, there is even more for you to discover — which is why there’s a whole field of handwriting analysis experts that courts and lawyers rely on.

Never analysed your handwriting before? Here are some key aspects for you to look out for:

  • Slant: If your writing leans slightly to the right, it means you are more on the easygoing side, always looking to try new things and meet new people. Left slant speaks of fear, doubt, negative resistance — you tend to repress your feelings. If you have a straight slant, you’re present, diplomatic, confident, and powerful.
  • Size: If your writing is tiny, it could unveil attention to detail, while large, expansive letters could signal an outgoing, expressive personality, like the life of the party.
  • Roundness: Roundess hints at a creative genius or artist in you. Pointed letters indicate intelligence but holding back aggression.

All of this may seem like pseudo-science, until you see how essential writing is to who we are as a species.

how do i get better handwriting

The first signs of handwriting were found in caves from thousands of years ago. Source: AFP

The beginning of handwriting

Long before smartphones and laptops, handwriting began with the earliest humans etching symbols on cave walls.

Imagine those ancient cave folks sharing their tales through pictures and symbols, the very first strokes of communication.

As time passed, our ancestors refined their approach, realising that scratches on stone might not be the best option.

They used bone, wood, and reeds to carve clay tablets, creating the first glimpses of a written language.

Then, the transition to letters took place.

The creation of the Phoenician alphabet was a turning point, as it gave birth to the basic characters that would eventually evolve into the letters we use today.

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans continued to refine these scripts, gradually bringing us closer to the handwritten languages we know now.

In 2023, the most gifted among us have perfected their penmanship. Some, however, have taken us back to the dark ages.

Best and worst handwriting in the world 

People have varying styles of handwriting, ranging from remarkably elegant to less polished.

Prakriti Malla, a young girl from Nepal, is a great example of how consistent practice can lead to beauty on paper.

When she was just 14 and in the eighth grade, one of her assignments became an internet sensation. The handwriting on that paper was so beautiful that it captured global attention.

Curves were graceful and consistent — earning Malla the title of having the “Best handwriting in the world.”

On the other end of the spectrum, some individuals struggle with handwriting, and their scripts can be challenging to decipher.

Take, for instance, a doctor’s prescription note, notorious for looking more like scribbles and scrawls than actual letters.

The worst handwriting has cramped and irregular letters, inconsistent sizing, and a lack of attention to detail.

It can lead to confusion and errors, particularly in professional and medical settings where precision is crucial.

While it may be unintentional, such handwriting can cause frustration and miscommunication due to its lack of clarity and legibility.

Ugly handwriting is usually said to have poor rhythm and many inconsistencies. If you fall into this category, you may find yourself always having to apologise, “Please excuse my handwriting” or “I am sorry for my handwriting.”

But did you know some of the most intelligent and creative people have ugly handwriting?

Throughout history, many geniuses, creative artists, and highly intelligent people were known to have “ugly” or messy handwriting. For example, the iconic artist Pablo Picasso, whose handwriting was far from neatly composed. Yet, his artistic contributions to the world were revolutionary.

If you happen to have what some might label as “ugly” handwriting, there’s no need to be down. It may be an indication of your creativity and exceptional qualities in other aspects. Even intelligent people like Napoleon and Sigmund Freud were known for their poor penmanship, yet their intellectual and historical significance remains undeniable.

How do I get better handwriting: 5 easy, effective ways to create beauty on paper

1. Choose the right tools

Before you write a word, think about your pen. 

Select pens or pencils that feel good in your hand and offer a smooth ink flow.

Experiment with different pens to find the one that suits you best.

If you’re confused as to what is the right tool to get, here are our recommendations: 

  • Fountain pens: They are an excellent choice for improving handwriting as they force you to write slowly and carefully. Less pressure is needed, but they require a little more know-how to fill and use. 
  • Ballpoint pens: These are perfect for those who prefer to write quickly. Designed with comfort in mind, they encourage neat and precise handwriting.
  • Rollerball pens: It combines the convenience of the ballpoint pen with the little-required pressure of fountain pens. They glide on the page, but as they take a while to dry, they can be troublesome for left-handed people prone to smudged writing and ink-stained hands.
how do I get better handwriting

The ideal position is for the hand, wrist and elbow to be below the tip of the pencil and under the writing line for both left and right-handed writers. Source: AFP

2. Pay attention to your grip 

Hold the pen with a relaxed grip to allow for a smooth movement across the page. Avoid gripping too tightly, as it can cause fatigue and affect the quality of your handwriting.

Try to find a grip that feels natural and allows you to write comfortably for extended periods.

To do so, you’ll need to have a good posture too.

Sit with your back straight, feet flat on the floor, and legs uncrossed. Relax your hand and arm — shake your hand until it feels floppy if you have to. 

Most tend to curve their arm around the page, but never let this tighten your grip or hamper your posture. 

how do I get better handwriting

Slowing down and taking your time to focus on your handwriting could help improve it. Source: AFP

3. Slow down

We get it: your professors are going at light speed as you struggle to concisely sum up what they are trying to say during lectures.

Still, slowing down your writing pace can lead to better control over each stroke. Rushing often results in messy, illegible handwriting.

Focus on writing deliberately, especially when you’re practising, to ensure you’re forming each letter and word with precision.

Unless you are in an exam and forced to rush, there’s no need to write at a galloping speed. If you need to be fast, use abbreviations or learn shorthand!

how do I get better handwriting

Trying to make sense out of your own handwriting? Here’s how you can master the art of penmanship. Source: AFP

4. Take time to examine your handwriting 

Try this simple exercise — take a sheet of lined paper and write the alphabet, aiming to join every letter. 

Once you’re done, focus on which letters you have the most trouble with.

Ask yourself: Do your Os look like Qs, or vice versa? Are some letters not properly formed? Perhaps your a and g are left open at the top, so they can be confused with u or y. 

Then, circle the letters you’re not happy with and work on improving those. 

While you’re at it, you can also check the height of your letters. This is because letters must be at the correct height with each other to make it easier for people to read your writing. 

Harriet Green, an editor of the Observer magazine, shares on The Guardian: “My letter K, for example, has a tiny ascender, while my G, J and Y have massive descenders that invade the line below, making my writing look cramped.”

Cherrell Avery, a calligrapher in residence at V&A museum, made Green practise each letter until she got it right.

If you need more inspiration, check out

how do I get better handwriting

While using computers, phones and tablets are easier, it is the main reason many struggle with their handwriting, Source: AFP

5. Write more 

As a digital society, we tend to stick to our computers and phones when writing notes and emails — no wonder our hand muscles for writing and drawing are going unused!

Muscle memory plays a big role in improving your handwriting. If you don’t have regular practice, you’re going to have a harder time writing neatly.

Taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to write neatly and slowly can vastly improve your handwriting. 

Consider setting aside time in your calendar to write a page or two, such as right after a meal or when you wake up.

It doesn’t matter what you write, so long as you try to write as neatly as you can — perhaps even kill two birds with one stone by keeping a daily handwritten journal.

The best handwriting practice sheets: 

Handwriting practice sheets are worksheets designed to help people improve their handwriting skills. They typically feature rows of printed letters, words, or sentences with designated spaces to trace and replicate the characters.

Children aren’t the only ones who can use this. Adults can too. 

Children in the early stages of learning to write can benefit greatly from handwriting practice sheets. For example, a kindergarten student might use these sheets to practice forming each letter of the alphabet correctly.

With the help of practice sheets, they can trace over the pre-written letters, gaining the muscle memory needed to write independently.

Similarly, adults who want to refine their handwriting for professional or personal reasons can use these sheets.

An adult looking to improve their cursive writing might use practice sheets with sentences in cursive, tracing over the text to develop a more elegant style. 

Here are the best handwriting practice sheets to print and get started on your journey to beautiful penmanship:

  • National Adult Literacy Agency:
  • Lettering Daily: