Now that you’ve done some of the arm movement exercises and are starting to write with your arm, it is a good time to demonstrate how to move across the page as you write. This involves a concept called the “writing zone”, which is critical to learning to write with your arm.
- The writing zone is the area where you can comfortably write without picking up your arm from the table or moving your paper.
- The size of your writing zone depends on the size and elasticity of the forearm that is planted on the edge of the table. The bigger your forearm muscle and the more your skin can stretch, the larger your writing zone.
- You can develop a feel for when you are getting to the edge of your writing zone. When you feel you are getting to the edge, it’s time to move your paper. By moving your paper, you can continuing writing across the page without moving the position of your arm.
- Instead of moving the paper, you could pick up your arm and move it to the right. The problem with this is that as you change the position of your arm, it changes the angles and mechanics which can negatively effect your handwriting.
- In general, you should only need to move your paper 2 or 3 times per line, but move it as often as you need to.
Grab a pen and paper and mark a line that you’d like to write on with an x. Try to center your writing zone over the first 3rd of the line. You can approximate your writing zone by moving your arm and feeling the limits of motion. Put pen to paper and trace the edge of your writing zone by stretching your arm in each direction as far as it will go (refer to the beginning of the video above for a demonstration of this).
Continue practicing the oval and push-pull drills from this lesson, but with your writing zone in mind. Keep track of how many times you need to shift the paper to complete each line and mark the number at the end of the line. Ideally, you’ll get to the point where you are moving your paper 3-4 times per line and the process of shifting your writing zone will be natural.