Handwriting—much less neat handwriting—is quickly becoming obsolete in this digital age of communication. Now, it’s all about the text message. According to a 2013 study, American smartphone owners send an average of 4,735 texts each month. (Do you have any of these annoying texting habits?) Texters aged 18 to 24 alone send about 67 texts every day. What’s more, learning how to type has now taken precedence over cursive in some schools.
With less time spent holding an actual writing utensil, it’s no surprise that your (or your child’s) handwriting might be suffering. Luckily, there’s a way to improve your penmanship in one stroke—and it involves the body parts you already use to write.
Most people move only their fingers when they write, essentially drawing each letter. But when you keep your fingers and wrist still and put your whole arm into each stroke, the result is more fluid and legible writing.
Practice by writing big letters in the air. Notice how even your shoulder gets involved. These are the same motions you should be using when you write on paper. Making an effort to slow down (again, a lost art in our fast-paced modern world) will also improve the control you have over your penmanship.
It may take some time (and more practice) to get used to, but once you do, you’ll be able to make handwritten notes more personal—and nicer to look at—and boost your intelligence while you’re at it. Bonus: Choosing pens over keyboards can save you from a nasty case of text neck. Everybody wins!