Make Your Paper Notebooks Useful: Handwriting Help

When I started using notebooks after years of keyboarding, I immediately re-discovered how illegible my handwriting was.

If you, too, find yourself squinting at your own chicken-scratch, here are two books I used to help me understand what I needed to change.

It came down to a couple of simple fixes. My handwriting is readable now (at least to me).

A Practical Book on Making Your Handwriting More Readable

Most handwriting books are geared toward handwriting as an artistic practice. However, this first book I’m recommending takes more of a clinical approach; aimed at making your handwriting legible.

It also includes a detailed chapter for left-handed people.

Because my handwriting was so bad, Improve Your Handwriting by Rosemary Sassoon and Gunnlaugur SE Briem was the book that helped me most.

Now I can read what I wrote.


A Practical Book on Making Your Handwriting More Artistic

The second book I recommend is Brenna Jordan’s The Lost Art of Handwriting.

Jordan covers hand lettering techniques for both cursive and printing, with suggestions about how to mix the two in composition.

If, for example, you want to make quotes stand out in your notebook, or letter something as a gift for someone, The Lost Art of Handwriting would be a valuable resource.

Jordan addresses left-hander problems briefly, but not as in depth as Improve Your Handwriting does.

I loved her tips on flourishes, and how to use them responsibly effectively; and now I have wonky but legible writing with swoopety-loops around it.

Also cool!

Two Video Courses on Improving Your Handwriting

Tip o’ the Fountain Pen to a reader in Istanbul who took two handwriting courses, considered them “very good,” and kindly emailed me about them.

Since I made a solemn vow to be semi-reasonable* about my online course habit, I haven’t checked these out.


But they do look interesting!

Here are the links:

Skillshare, Transform Your Handwriting

The Postman’s Knock, Improve Your Handwriting

Finally, if drawing a robot or a daisy in the margin feels too ambitious for you, handwriting exercises (loops and lines!) are excellent for doodling.

I think of handwriting exercises now as almost like a fidget tool.

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* I vowed to finish a course before I line up another one. Right now I’m drawing birds; so handwriting will have to wait.


Sassoon, R. and Briem, G.S.E. (2010) Improve your handwriting. London: Teach Yourself (Teach yourself books).

Jordan, B. (2019) The lost art of handwriting: rediscover the beauty and power of penmanship. First Adams Media hardcover edition. New York: Adams Media.

Transform Your Handwriting With Beautiful & Easy To Read Cursive | Robert J. P. Oberg (no date) Skillshare. Available at:… (Accessed: 24 February 2023).

Improve Your Handwriting: A Comprehensive Online Course (no date) The Postman’s Knock. Available at: (Accessed: 24 February 2023).

Nature Journaling and Field Sketching | Bird Academy • The Cornell Lab (2023). Available at: (Accessed: 24 February 2023).

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