My handwriting has always... well... I guess there is no nice way to put it... my handwriting has always sucked (bad). As a personal improvement goal for 2014, I want to try and clean up my handwriting a bit. I only decided to do this late January, so it doesn't count as a New Years resolution.
I started off by taking a good look at my handwriting, to see what is actually wrong with it:
- I write too small, not to say tiny. On regular lined paper, each character is about a quarter of the line height, with capitols being somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the line heigth.
- My writing is a blur. Many of the characters I write end up looking exactly the same.
- I write very irregular, spacing is a mess and I can't seem to write characters in a consistent way. Especially my lower case "f" is a problem.
Then I took a good look at what was causing these problems. I found that when I write, my hand is very cramped, limiting my motion. I put so much pressure on my pen, it's like I'm trying to murder the paper. Also, I'm a victim of the digital age, I simply don't write enough by hand, nearly everything I do is on a keyboard.
After that I started thinking about how to solve this. Of course there's the obvious: write more. So I've started taking all my notes at work by hand. Also I've started to keep a journal. Another thing I did is replace my company issued ballpoint pen with a fountain pen. Back in school, I used to write with a fountain pen a lot. I remembered how putting too much pressure on the nib made the pen stop working (or even break). By using a fountain pen again, I want to force myself to use less pressure. And of course I will need some discipline to make my writing a little more consistent.
I purchased a nice journal (Rhodia Webnotebook A5) and a number of cheap (mostly Chinese) fountain pens. I already had a Waterman Graduate, which is nothing special, but it does have some emotional value, so I don't want to mess it up if I have a relapse into trying to stab my paper to death. I bought a cheap fountain pen at the dutch department store "Hema", I use this pen with "Hema" store brand cartridges. This pen loos and feels cheap, probably because it is. I also purchased a Hero 529, as I was amazed by a pen being available for $2.76 shipped. My next purchase was a Hero 382, I only received this pen last friday and it does seem to have some flow issues, but shape and weight wise, this is my favourite so far. One pen is still on it's way to me, a Jinhao X750, I bid on this pen on ebay and completely forgot about it. I didn't expect to win the auction as it was a complete lowball bid, but I ended up winning the auction anyway. As both Hero pens came with a converter, I purchased a bottle of ink as well. After doing some research online, I was completely overwhelmed with what was available. I remember going out to the office supply store as a kid to buy ink for my mom, and all I could choose from was Waterman blue ink, and parker blue or black ink. Of course, it was an office store, so choice was limited, but seeing 36 different colours from a single brand and 20+ brands to choose from at the first website I looked at, was something I was not prepared for. I opted for the cheapest bottle of ink I could find, which happened to be Hero brand as well. The ink I ended up with was the No. 232 blue-black, which happens to be a colour I quite like.
To have a reference point, I wrote a couple of pages in my journal on the 1st of February. Using my company issued cheap-ass ballpoint pen. It was terrible. As I wanted to see if my attempts to improve my handwriting had any effect, I put away my journal for a month. During that month, I took notes exclusively by hand and wrote with fountain pen only. And my logic seems to be correct. I'm much less cramped and no longer trying to inflict bodily harm on my paper. on the 1st of March, I wrote another page in my journal, it wasn't a day and night difference, but even though the difference is small, an improvement could clearly be seen.
And as a picture can say more than a 1000 words, this is a sample of my handwriting from when I started on this quest of self improvement:
As you can see, improvement is desperately needed. And to make matters worse, in this sample I was really trying to make it look not as bad as usual. The sample was written with a company-issued ballpoint pen (as that was my go-to pen at the time). Pretty bad huh?
As described above, after that, I started writing with fountain pen, for a month I took all my notes at work by hand instead of digital. But haven't actively tried to change the way I write. Just by changing the pen I use and simply writing more, in a month time I went from the above to this:
Still pretty terrible, but a slight improvement can be seen. At least enough to motivate me to keep up trying to improve myself.
Any advice will be appreciated