Improve Your Handwriting By Writing With Your Shoulders

Improve Your Handwriting By Writing With Your Shoulders

You might thing that the best penmanship would involve excellent finger control over the pen, but your fingers actually don’t help you write better — they can make your handwriting worse. Dyas A. Lawson, creator of pen, paper and writing site PaperPenalia, explains the difference between writing with your fingers and using your shoulders, and why using your shoulders is better.

People who inevitably have trouble with handwriting and calligraphy write with their fingers. They “draw” the letters. A finger-writer puts the full weight of his/her hand on the paper, his fingers form the letters, and he picks his hand up repeatedly to move it across the paper as he writes.

People for whom writing comes more easily may rest their hands fairly heavily on the paper, but their forearms and shoulders move as they write. Their writing has a cadence that shows they’re using at least some of the right muscle groups. They don’t draw the letters with their fingers; the fingers serve more as guides.

There’s more to great handwriting than just taking the strain off your fingers, but it’s a good start. For more ways to improve your handwriting, hit up the full post over at PaperPenalia.

Tips for improving your handwriting [PaperPenalia via REDDIT]


  • wow i never realised that. just did a quick pen test and I can see a vast improvement on my chicken scratching handwriting. It would have been nice to know this when I was learning to write 20 years ago

    • I can’t envisage what I’m doing wrong, although I clearly do write with my fingers.. Unless you’re writing in letters 3 feet tall, how does Shoulder movement come into it?

      • Because your shoulders are actually better at doing very fine movements without the fatigue that your fingers exhibit. I have been using the shoulder method for almost a year now, and I don’t get tired after long periods of writing because I don’t grip my pen so hard and my fingers aren’t doing all the work. It’s not like you are swooping your arm across the page to make your letters 3 feet tall. I can write letters that are under 1.5mm high now that I couldn’t do without the shoulder method. Also for using fountain pens (which I use almost exclusively) using your fingers to write changes the angle the pen is oriented to the paper, which results in unpleasant feedback from the paper.

        • How are you supposed to use your shoulders? My handwriting is terrible using my fingers, and I just tried to use my shoulder after reading this, but it’s now completely unreadable (and larger).

  • Ok, my handwriting is pretty damn good, and I can’t work out for the life of me how this relates to using my shoulders… It’s all in the fingers, baby!

    I think what it’s trying to say is that if you’re a spaz at writing, try using a different muscle group…

  • Writing from my shoulder feels like using a pendulum. My hand and pen are on a long pole and I am trying to write by holding the far end of the pole. I can only make large approximate movements. I can’t get any accuracy or small movements that way. Should I tape a pen to a pool cue and practice writing with that? Would I figure out how to control it that way?

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