When I was in elementary school, we used to spend part of our class time transcribing our Social Studies textbook chapters into outlines. Presumably, this was to help us understand how to write outlines - probably to learn stuff like using roman numerals and organizing unstructured texts into logical bullet points. Instead, I would sit next to Robin Ong, so I could learn to copy her handwriting because I thought it was pretty. I was a weird little kid.
I think it’s paid off, though. While my handwriting has changed throughout the years, meaning I no longer write like I’m a teenage girl, I’ve always maintained a high standard for my letterforms (said the pretentious designer). Huh. Now that I think about it, I wonder if my childhood urge to have nice handwriting was the precursor to my painfully stereotypical obsession with typography. HTSI: delivering profound psychological insights.
Anyway - at this point, you might be asking, “But Chris, my handwriting is absolutely atrocious. Isn’t it too late for me? Haven’t I already passed my handwriting window of opportunity?” To which I say, “Could be! I have no actual experience in teaching someone how to have better handwriting!” Maybe this post was a bad idea. Oh well. Here are some tips anyway!
Find some handwriting idols.
I mean, this is basically what 5th grade Chris did. Robin was my handwriting idol. And then in 8th grade, my write-dol (this blog has really increased my punning aptitude) became my friend Stacy Chen, whose handwriting was not only neat, but super edgy. Like, literally - a lot of letters that are normally round, like “o” and “c”, had sharp corners when Stacy wrote them. I was instantly smitten. Also, Stacy loves HTSI so I thought it’d be fun to give her a shoutout.
Copy their handwriting.
Just ask for some samples and start trying to write like them. Here are some innovative ways to ask for handwriting samples:
“Can I borrow your notebook real quick? I need some scratch paper.”
“I’m going to be taking meeting notes on the computer, but I really like to have someone taking notes by hand as well. You know, as a nod to the days of analog. Would you mind?”
“There’s this really insightful Buzzfeed quiz that analyzes your personality through your handwriting - want to try it out?”
Practice makes perfect.
Handwriting is all about muscle memory, so if you currently have terrible handwriting, your hand basically needs to forget everything it ever knew about letters. This might be far more effort than it’s actually worth. I have no quantifiable evidence that cool handwriting is impressive.
If this all sounds like a lot of wasted effort to you since it’s 2015 and everyone mostly just types stuff, you would not be wrong. If you’re too lazy to improve your handwriting, you could also just up your typography game by getting some nice fonts or something. I have recommendations, but now I feel like I need to leave at least a little bit of work for you to do, since you’re already taking the easy way out.