It’s the Get-Away Stroke!

Hello again. Guess I’m not too good at this file transfer stuff. Please open the GetAway.doc file first to read up a little on this great stroke. Then, open the sample file to view. Thanks. Ms. Letha 🙂



(by shorthandteach for everyone)
10 comments Add yours
  1. Hello Ms. Letha. Just to ensure I understood you properly: by the "get-away" strokes, you mean the extra long Vs and Bs and T-Ds of yours right?   I've got to tell you, your handwriting is an inspiration to start studying again! Like I just wrote John in a snail mail, I'm going to start reviewing and work on "mastering" Simplified because lately, I havn't been practising or using my shorthand much lately, and it's starting to show! The fact that you can write such gorgeous writing at such a high speed speaks very highly of your SH ability in my mind! Kudos! ./[tyler]

  2. Ha, Ha, Tyler! Good Point! Not everyone will s-t-r-e-t-c-h out their "Get-Away" stroke as wild as I did!

    Besides, the stroke is not to see how far a person can throw their alphabet to the wind! 🙂 It has a very definite purpose…you are constantly moving from one shorthand symbol directly to another WITHOUT any HESITATION shown IN YOUR WRITING.

    By the way, the high speed you speak of is only about 100wpm. I had been taking dictation under this speaker for several years and already knew his voice speed. His vocabulary was very simple. Today, my shorthand speed only varies up to 120wpm. When I take committee meeting minutes during the week, the meeting usually last several hours and my shorthand writing is constant until the last hour. No, the dictation does not remain constant at 120wpm….Thank God! Sometimes, I am asked to read the last statement given by a particular person and there are usually at least 8 people in these meetings.

    So,,,,it's not as high a speed as you may have thought. But, it is MY speed and I do not find a demand on my job to stretch that speed. I am faithful to practice up to speeds of 150wpm only to keep myself "ready"! I am comfortable with my current speed though you may have believed it to be much higher. Sorry! I hope this doesn't cause you to be too disappointed.

    Thank you, Tyler for your nice compliments. Ms.Letha 🙂

  3. I am unclear on what the getaway stroke is.  From your document, I gather that it 1.  Is used at the end of each symbol, and 2.  Allows the writer to continue to the next outline without hesitation.   Looking at the image of the notes, I do not see any particular stroke which is used at the end of every symbol.  Each outline seems to have its respective ending.   When you say 'continue to the next symbol without hesitation', I get the impression that you mean either that the pen is not lifted between outlines, or that there is written an end flourish on each word, as in cursive longhand.   Please explain in kindergardenish so that even me kan understand (colorful pictures help!).   P.S. – I enjoyed seeing an example of Gregg used for its intended purpose: fastitude.

  4. Here ya go, my friend!    You have understood most everything correctly.    You do not see a particular stroke at the end of every symbol being written because you are LOOKING for a different stroke to SEE at the end of each symbol instead of an "action" performed.    The "get-away" stroke is an action you physically perform with your hand and pen, at the end of every symbol, during dictation.  Yes, you will lift your pen quickly and move to the next symbol WITHOUT the excessive (wasted) movements between the strokes that sometimes happens when writing under pressure.    You're wanting a smooth get-away, a smooth flow continuously.   I have attached a file for you.  Let me know if this makes things any clearer.  Thank you for your feedback, John.  Ms. Letha  🙂

    Attachment: getawayexplan.doc

  5. Thank you three times over, Ms. Letha.  Your crystal clear follow-up explanation was very appreciated; you even used bright colors for me!  I think other people my age will also have a very hard time understanding the get-away stroke or, if they understand it, a hard time practicing it.  I had no penmanship training past third grade.  I notice many people use way too much pen pressure when writing, now that the age of the dip pen is gone, and the age of the triplicate form has arrived.  The idea of light pressure is all but lost.   I once read through an old Spencerian penmanship manual (the standard style of cursive in America until 1920's) to help me switch to writing with my right hand, and it called for a similar hand movement which it referred to as lifting the pen on the fly.  I recall having trouble figuring out what the author meant back then too.   In my Gregg textbook, it is very hard to see evidence of the fly-away movement, as the plates included are printed copies of handwriting, not original handwriting.  Also, being exemplars, they were probably written with very much care and slowness, and thus lack the "live" feel of your above samples.   Your post is not the first time I noticed the stroke.  The reason I was very attracted to the sample of John Gregg's shorthand penmanship is that I could see he used a continuous "let go" action of the hand.  His writing looks delicate and effortless.   It occured to me then that I was missing out on an important part of writing Gregg by depending only on my text for examples.    Since then, I have been trying to emulate his own writing, of which I have only this small example.  I never knew there was actually a unique shorthand term for the idea.  Again, thank you for explaining it in concrete terms for me, you've given me the guidance I needed to develop my ability much further than I ever could have on my own.   Now that I'm closer to understanding what the get-away stroke is, I'll explain it in my own terms (everyone else seems to have their own term for it, why not me?).  The get-away stroke is a way of moving the pen lightly over the paper, and following through the end of each outline, instead of stopping the pen before lifting it to the next outline.  Most of my peers use their fingers to control the formation of letters when writing, but the get-away requires much less finger movement and much more arm movement.  The arm should move in a sweeping motion over the paper, the pen its humble stylus, the fingers there primarily to attach the pen to the arm.   I know I do not completely grasp the concept, but I feel like I've made a breakthrough here!  If you have anything more to clarify it, I do not think it would be overkill.  I strongly feel this is a fundamental part of gaining speed and beauty in my Gregg.

  6. YIPPEE!   Yes, Yes, Yes!    You understand  P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y!!!!!!!  🙂   Practice with the consonant and vowel drill sheets in your packet a little everyday to improve your proportional and penmanship writing.  Six to 10 minutes is all you need if you practice attentively.  These daily drill practices help develop your permanent writing style with correct proportion.   It is the "dictation practice" that will help you develop your "get-away" stroke.  It is also this "get-away" action that makes your shorthand writing style appear beautifully smooth with a continuous flow and light touch whether you are writing with tremendous speed or a little faster than a comfortable speed.    When you write slowly or strictly for beauty, it is more difficult to SEE this get-away action, but because it has been developed, your writing continues to appear flowing…..:) 

  7. By the way, if you find it helpful, a major cause of my confustion was the use of the word stroke in describing the get-away.  Stroke, to me, meant a written mark made on the paper by the pen.  I understand action or movment better in this case.

  8. I agree and feel the same as you about the word "stroke".  It surprised me that The Gregg Writer magazine explained it that way.  I may change it to a different name later in our course.  "get-away action", "get-away moves"…  Thanks.  Ms Letha

  9. Now that I've actually gotten started on lesson 1 in your corresspondence course, I see that you have pages and pages explaining the get-away stroke, and other penmanship details.  Sorry!  I should have done my homework.    These little tips and details are just what I am missing out on in my text book, which causes me to sacrifice some mastery for the sake of simplified learning.

  10. I like how Charles Swem describes the getaway stroke.  See the complete passage on gregg.angelfishy.net under Speed Pointers.  Thanks for posting that, Andrew.   "Write each outline so that, as it stands alone on that sheet, you can tell by a glance at which end of the outline you began and at which you left off.  At the beginning of the outline, where your pen first meets the paper, the line should be thickest; the end should taper gently off."   ____________
    Shorthand: isn't it about time?

Leave a Reply