by Amanda Fleet

I have horrible handwriting. I blame it on the fact that I started out left-handed, then, for reasons lost to the mists of time, my very first primary school had a hissy fit about this and persuaded me that writing with my right hand was 'better'. I was just five, and my bolshie streak wasn't fully developed, so I did as I was told and learned to write right-handed.

It's left me unable to have a clear answer to whether I'm left- or right-handed. I do a variety of things completely left-handed, and others right-handed. I can still write left-handed (and indeed had to during my PhD when I had crippling RSI and couldn't hold a pen in my right at all). It's also left me with pretty terrible writing, whichever hand I use!

What's all this got to do with the price of sliced bread (as my Mum would say)?

Well, nothing, really. It's just that I've just had a "significant birthday" - though I don't actually ever really bother with birthdays - and wonder if now might be the time to make a bit more effort over my handwriting, given that I write by hand so much.

My writing is a mixture of print and cursive (mostly print). We were taught cursive at school, but I was never very good at it and didn't persevere, and by secondary school, no one seemed to care, so I became set in my ways. It's also mostly upright, though can lean back as if I'm writing into the teeth of a gale when I write too fast.

Scrib has glorious handwriting. I can't imagine ever being able to write so beautifully, but I am going to make the effort to be at least a bit less like a spider has crawled over the page after nearly drowning in ink.

My tools for the trade?

To be honest, a B or 2B pencil and some French handwriting notebooks by Clairefontaine! No, Nero doesn't sell them. I bought them a gazillion years ago for practising calligraphy (and never quite got around to using them!). They have Séyès ruling. Nanosphere described this far better than I can: https://nanosphere.co.uk/2017/01/qa-paper-rulings-explained/

The idea is that the rulings help you to write more evenly, with a regular height to the different elements of each letter. The notebooks would be a nightmare to use for much else, to be honest!

I have 3mm spacing and 4mm spacing versions (and another much larger version that really would only be useful for calligraphy practice). It's time to learn how to write neatly at last!