Whenever I tell people I write books the first question I get approximately 99.9% of the time is: How do you find time to write a book with five kids at home?
I guess it sounds crazy when you look at it as a whole. Writing a book is daunting. And to be honest, the writing is probably the easy part. The hard part is the editing (so much editing!), the cover design, the formatting, the marketing, etc etc. But that’s all for another day and another blog post. Back to writing. When and how do I write?
I started out with a goal of writing 1,000 words a day. I found I could write 1,000 words in about 20-30 minutes. I fit this in either during my nap time hour or at night when my kids were asleep. It really wasn’t hard find 20 or 30 minutes when I was really determined to.
Once I made that 1,000 words a day commitment, I stuck to it. Rain or shine, sick or healthy, I promised myself I’d write 1000 words a today. And you know what happened? In about two months I had a book. A real life, legit book.
And that’s when the ball started rolling and it hasn’t stopped. I’ve currently written two full length novels (one comes out in January!), two novelettes, and I’m halfway through the first of a three book series I’m co-writing.
Do you want to know the kicker?
I started writing less than 9 months ago. All this simply because of a 1,000 words a day goal I set for myself. I’ve recently bumped my goal up to 2,000 words a day which is a little trickier, but it’s the same principle: rain or shine I get my word count in.
So that’s it! That’s the way I’ve done it. Nothing big and crazy, just slow and steady. That tortoise knew what he was doing when he agreed to race the hare 😉
Fact: My lettering style has changed and improved over the years.
I know we hear it all the time, but it’s true. Even if we don’t feel like it is, our ability and style will change (for the better) over time if we practice. Don’t believe me? Today I’m gonna bear my soul and give you some snapshots of how my lettering has changed. And trust me, those first few month (actually years) were not pretty.
This was my writing about 1 month into lettering. I was actually very proud of this at the time and thought I was the bees knees. I’m kind of cringing right now.
This next one is about six months into my lettering hobby. There’s a little bit more uniformity to my letters, a little bit more control over my thick and thins. My transitions could obviously use work.
This is about a year into lettering. I got a good handle on my pen control, my letters and spacing are even. It’s all decent. Although I will say list looks extremely generic. Basically anybody who hand letters probably could’ve written this.
Then I got my iPad Pro and all of a sudden I had a whole new learning curve. The iPad is a total game changer and I’m pretty sure I saved an entire rainforest when I switched over to one. But just like everything else it takes practice.
Here we are about six months ago, you can tell my writing style is a little bit more unique than it was before, a little less mainstream. (And if you’re struggling with finding your own lettering style, check out my last blog post here!)
And finally because this is getting long here is where I’m at presently with my writing style. Definitely has changed even in the last few months.
But the best part is, I’m sure six months from now my writing will be so different again. I’m sure I will adapt a little and everything will look a bit newer. That’s the beauty of this hobby, you’re never stuck in one place!
Tell me about your lettering journey and how your writing style has adapted and changed!
Guys have I ever told you how much I love writing? Because I do. Half the time I’m making up random stories and dialogue in my head all day. So it’s no surprise I’ve always had a goal of being an author.
About two years ago I decided to go for it. I wrote and I wrote. I wrote when my kids were napping, when I was making dinner, when my kids were in bed at night—basically whenever I could find time. It was a romantic historical fiction, a genre I love reading. I put my whole heart in it. And guess what I’ve done with it? Nothing. That’s right, it’s sitting on my computer desktop in a nice little file labeled “Summer’s Book”.
And you know why? Because it stunk. It really did.
But it’s ok because I learned a lot from that experience.
1.) I’m bad at writing historical fiction. It’s just not my thing. I love reading it, but for some reason those words don’t just flow out of my mind like they should.
2.) A first draft is a always terrible.
3.) I’m never going to be great at something the first time I try it. Practice always makes progress.
But at that time I was so discouraged I tossed out writing as a whole out, labeled myself as a failure, and moved onto other pursuits. But that desire to write a novel nevermleft me.
So I’m back at it. This time though, I’m a little more realistic about it all.
First off I’m in my wheelhouse. I’m writing a romantic comedy. And, if you know me at all, humor is my lifeblood. It’s my jam.
Second off, I’m expecting this to take a while. I know my 1st, 2nd, and probably 3rd drafts are all going to stink but that’s ok. At some point I’m going to get it right. I love this quote from Rachel Hollis:
So what was the point of this post? I wrote this hoping to inspire you to go for whatever it is you’ve wanted to do. Even if you think you’re a terrible letterer, runner, dancer, baker—whatever it is, just go for it, no matter the outcome. I promise you’ll be happy you did.
I’m on my 3rd draft of my new book and I’m going for it too. Fingers crossed guys.
When it comes to lettering and calligraphy we all know uniqueness is loved by everyone right? The more original your style is, the more people want to follow you. But the question is, how do you develop your own unique style!?!
When I started I felt like everything had already been done. All my writing was just copying other people's styles. I didn't know how to be unique. What I've come to grips with is that you can't just create your own style in a day. It takes time and development. You get influenced by one person here, then by another there, etc etc.
BUT, I still think it's important to have a method/plan as you go along. So here's my big tip on how to get started. You ready?
Don't start with the whole alphabet!
Instead, I like to break things down letter by letter. It makes them much more manageable. So first choose a letter to start with (here I chose "a"). See how many different ways you can write it. Really go crazy guys!
Once you got your page of letter madness, I want you to narrow it down to a few of your favorite versions. They don't necessarily have to be similar, but make sure they're ones you feel comfortable writing or could work well with other letters. Now practice writing words or phrases, only adjusting that one letter in each version. Again, below I'm only adjusting the letter "a".
Once you finally find a style you like, it's time to practice it! Over and over until you've got great muscle memory for it, to the point you could write it in your sleep (ok maybe that's a little extreme ) But the more you practice, the more natural it will be in your writing.
Now are you ready for the next step? Rinse and repeat with another letter!
Go through the same steps as you did with the first one. You'll find some letters naturally have more flare than others, some are simplier, the key is that they are cohesive. Be sure to test them out with each other and of course practice. After a little while, you’ll notice your own style and alphabet beginning to form!
Let me know if this helps you guys and be sure to show me your own unique styles/alphabets!
Probably one of the most frequent questions I get about hand lettering is “what are my favorite pens?”
To be honest, I use the same pens as everyone else does. I am pretty basic, nothing fancy. But I’ll list them out here anyways
1.) My favorite practice markers that I use to write on anything and everything are your basic Crayola broad tip super markers. I also like the Crayola super tips as well. These are both awesome because (1) they’re cheap and (2) I don’t care when I fray their tips.
2.) My favorite actual flex tip markers are the Tombow Fudenosuke ones. If I could only choose one I’d pick the hard tip one, but I also use the soft tip. My favorite place to buy these is Amazon.
I also occasionally use the Tombow dual brush pens as well. I like these because they have so many colors and because the hard tip on the other end is kind of a fun accessory. My only problem with these is the flexible tip is very large. So I usually only use these when I’m working on a larger piece or a short 1-3 word quote.
3.) My favorite watercolor pen is the Pentel Aquash water brush with a fine tip. I usually use these with my watercolor palate and most of my watercolors are Windsor and Newton.
4.) I don’t use an actually calligraphy nib and ink very often but the ones I do use are Nikko G nib and black Sumi ink.
5.) And finally, the tool I actually use 90% of the time these days, my iPad Pro. I use the Procreate app to do my lettering, and my favorite pen to use is @Radandhappy’s brush pen. I also occasionally use her mono pen too.
And that’s it! Those are my go to and my favorite hand lettering supplies!
If you’d like to get a free copy of my hand lettering practice worksheets, sign up for my list and you automatically get sent a link to them. Plus I’ll send you other free stuff and goodies along the way!
I grew up as a pretty smart kid. I loved reading and writing, did great with math, enjoyed science, one of my only flaws? I had terrible handwriting.
Realistically my writing probably wasn’t any worse than your average elementary school kid, but I had one differentiating factor: my mother was an elementary school teacher. What did that mean? She had that perfect, teacher typewriter handwriting that could’ve been put into a textbook. So from an early age I knew my writing was subpar.
Hence I promised myself that one day I’d have beautiful writing.
And I kept that promise too. It only took me about 20 years to get around to doing it.
It was Instagram that got me into it. Around 2014 it was the beginning of the hand lettering craze, and I decided it was my time to improve my writing.
I started slow, practicing on a notepad with my kids crayola markers at night when they were sleeping. Barely grasping the concepts of upstrokes and downstrokes and scouring the limited youtube videos available at that time about handlettering.
Fast forward a few months later and it was beginning to look like I was a calligraphy pen dealer with the number of different nibs and inks I had acquired. I was addicted.
Then a year later I bought my iPad Pro, the second edition. And I have never looked back since.
And despite all the likes and comments and followers I’ve acquired over the years, I think my proudest moments are the times my mom emphatically tells me how beautiful my hand writing is. 🙌🏻
How about you? Tell me your lettering journey!!