I broke my right arm when I was in the first grade. Being right handed and breaking my dominant arm meant that writing was pretty difficult for me. In fact, if we’re being honest, I didn’t really try very hard after the first few days. I knew that actually trying to complete my assignments would mean that it would take me hours (ok, I was six, it probably would have taken me 15 minutes instead of 5) to complete the work. I scribbled with my left hand and called it good.
Sometime around when I broke my arm, my teacher sent home a note letting my parents know that I needed to practice my handwriting at home because it was illegible.
I was devastated.
I remember crying at the back of the classroom as the shame of it washed over me.
It’s something that I’ve never forgotten. Still, handwriting was put on the back burner until I hit 8th grade. I made friends with some new girls and they all had beautiful handwriting.
Back then, passing notes was still a thing. I saw how bad my handwriting looked next to theirs. I didn’t want to be the girl with terrible handwriting anymore. So I practiced all the time. I’d try and copy the way that they formed certain letters. Dissecting the way they looked and cobbling together my own handwriting.
My handwriting became my trademark. It’s weird to say, but I’ve actually made friends because of my handwriting.
Still, it wasn’t until I graduated college that I decided to try hand lettering. In much the same way, I got hooked on practicing and working on my letters. After awhile people started asking me to hand letter things for them.
Some times I think back to that little girl who cried at the back of the classroom. I wish I could tell her that she could fix the problem. That someday, handwriting would be one of her talents instead of her weakness.
I’m here to tell you the same thing I would have told her. You can do it. If it’s something you want, whether it’s hand lettering, blogging, writing… anything. All you have to do is decide that it’s something that you want enough to work at it. Start where you are, and someday your seemingly pathetic first attempts now will just be the beginning, they don’t have to be the end.
What is a talent you wish that you had? What’s stopping you from working on it today?
By the way, if you’re thinking of getting into hand lettering, here are some resources!