Writing as a Lefty 101: Eliminating The Smudge

Every lefty writer has smudged his or her handwriting on multiple occasions. A few years ago we listed a few simple methods for helping lefties better manage smudge marks on dry erase surfaces. We recently spent some more time studying lefty habits and picked up a new list of techniques that can help left-handed writers avoid sloppy handwriting.

Avoid a hook-style grip.

Writing with your wrist hooked is one of the worst practices for lefty writers. Given the structure of your wrist, those that choose to write with a hook-style grip are constantly smudging their words as they continue to write. A popular way to combat this smudging is by adopting a new grip when dealing with a pen or pencil. Commonly referred to as underhand, this method of handwriting has the user pulling the pen or pencil away from their body, thereby eliminating the dragging sensation of the hand. You may have seen this method of writing used in the past, as those who choose to write with fountain pens often utilize it.


If using a paper or maneuverable surface, rotate accordingly.

If you are reluctant to change your pencil grip, changing the orientation of the writing surface may be useful for you. Rotating the orientation of a writing surface can help straighten your wrist, making it more difficult to smudge inks. The best way to get the most out of this method is to write with the top left corner of your surface pointed straight ahead. By angling the surface in this manner, you are able to write in a straight line, without having to hook your wrist as intensely as you normally would. However, not all writing surfaces enable this sort of flexibility, so the usage of this technique is limited.

Use gridded surfaces to help visualize orientation.

For those looking to improve their handwriting on a dry erase surface, writing on a gridded surface may be the best option for you. Writing on a surface that offers guided lines (like Magnatag’s Ghost-Grid surfaces), helps the user visualize how they execute their handwriting technique. More specifically, lined surfaces enable the user to visualize the orientation of their handwriting, granting the user to opportunity to focus on avoiding smudge marks with their writing hand. Lefty writers are often prone to smudging when attempting to write in a straight line, that’s why rotating the orientation of a writing surface is so helpful. Gridded surfaces serve a very similar purpose; rather than focusing on the orientation of their handwriting, the writer can now be conscious of how they drag their hand as they write.

Avoid adding extra pressure to the surface, and be sure to use the entirety of your arm.  

Placing too much weight on your hand while writing is unnecessary. By placing an excess of force on your writing hand, you are actually increasing the likelihood of smudging ink! As you apply more pressure to the writing surface, your hand will instinctively move closer to the tip of the pen. Applying too much pressure to the surface may also lead to a tendency to use an excess of wrist motion when writing (see hook-style grip). The best way to write without applying too much pressure to the surface is by using your entire arm to write, eliminating the possibility of smudging due to wrist movement.

In order to master these new lefty tricks you’re going to need someplace to practice, right? Head over to our website to browse the latest in whiteboard technology.

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