Practice Practice Practice

Just wanted to let you all know that I studied like half a lesson last night, which gives me the authority to be over-posting today. Yea, so I am a small step closer to actually finishing the Simplified manual.

Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

(by johnsapp for everyone)


42 comments Add yours
  1. The thing is, I write in Gregg all the time, but I rarely study it. So, I end up forgetting all the brief forms I've learned and just spell everything out. I haven't done any Gregg-approved wpm tests, but I would guess my speed is around 45 wpm. Also, being so unpolished in my knowledge really slows down transcription time, since I am always wondering what the heck I was meaning by some certain outline or other.

    (sorry for deletion, made a grammar error)
    Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  2. That's like me; but not. (lol)

    I rarely study, I'm only on lesson 17 or so, but I constantly jot small notes down in Gregg, or just doodle on scraps of paper when I'm bored. I'm still slow and I constantly erase outlines because I don't get them correct, but I suppose that will disapear over time.

    I also know a lot of brief forms and affixes from the latter lessons, but I also don't know many of them. Maybe I should just follow the book.

  3. I was recently at Marc Semler's site, looking at this month's offering of self dictation. It's a good one, actually.   Then I realized that I had to do minutes this week for my committee at work. So I took some of the old minutes and made a self dictation page out of them, and presto, after going thru once to make sure I knew all the outlines, and practicing it thru a few times, I'm now up to 60 wpm! (Well, on that take, anyway.) The last time I wrote that fast was in 1973. (Quiet down, peanut gallery.)   So, the next time you wished you could write something in shorthand, make a self-dictation out of it, and lo-and-behold, all those outlines are in your head (hopefully for ever, or at least until you're 51).   The Manager made me do this.

  4. I'm glad my self-dictation helped. Now write the piece another three or four times each day for month and see how speedy you get!

    HOWEVER, I forgot to update last night (yesterday being the first of the month), so I expect to post fresh material tonight after work.

    (Is it me or does work get the way of EVERYTHING good?)


  5. Does reading count as pratice?  I haven't wrote shorthand (except for phone messages) forever.  Guess I need to do that.  I got a book Dictation & Transcription and it's over 400 pages of just written shorthand and it's easier to read then write.  I did find out that I like to reread the letters because then I can make out the outlines easier and faster and actually read some that I couldn't the first time (I'm thinking it will help with my writing because I'll see the outlines in my mind faster and write them faster).  Anyway I guess since I'm on page 65 or so I should go back and start writing these assignments… Debbi

  6. My opinion (and I'm sure many will have other opinions!) is that reading IS helpful to speed, but writing from dictation–the kind where you're forced to keep pace–is better. It stretches your ability and forces your brain to get signals to the hand just a bit faster.

    Of course, writing too fast means you can't transcribe accurately, results in "shattered" notes, and will be detrimental to speed in the long run.


  7. Shattered notes…ah, a name for what I make.  Ha ha.  How depressing.   Debbi, I remember someone relating the story of how the Functional Method was born; it was that some kid read tons of shorthand and learned it surprisingly well without drilling writing.  So, it is supposedly a good method.   So, guess what!  Last night, I finally finished the Simplified manual!  Woohoo!  Where's my cake?  Actually, I didn't technically finish…I'm skipping the lesson on city endings and the final reading practice.  I don't deal with many city names…maybe I'll learn those later.  For a while, my post-manual plan was to make a second run through to reinforce my learning.  Now that I have been having fun with brief-form flashcards, though, I think I'll take this method a little further.  I'll expand the stack to include beginning/ending flashcards, phrasing flashcards, and abbreviation-principle flashcards.  It might not be the best way to learn, but remember–I'm just in it for the fun.    ________________________ Praise the Lord, I'm finally done!

  8. Omigosh! Today I took minutes for the adjourned very important meeting I talked about in an earlier post. I surprised myself by how well I recalled brief forms–the flash cards really work! It reminded me of the time my toddler nephew had an epiphany while looking down at his feet one day. "Hey! I'm running! I'm running"

    Hey! I'm taking dictation!
    Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  9. You skipped the last lessons?  How can you not read the infamous exchange of letters between a hotel manager and a guest that allegedly took some blankets from the room?  Shame on you!    Seriously, though, congratulations.  I agree with Brian — you should at least take on the Gregg Dictation book.  It definitely reinforces what you have just learned.  And yes, you will see more phrases, more analogical endings; it will all be there for you to use and study.  But, this time, don't take a year and a half to finish!!!

  10. Thanks guys. I remember that the lesson preview said something about how entertaining the hotel letters would be to read…I'll read 'em some time soon.

    Hmm…so the time has come that I myself need the experts' guidance on choice of text. Now that Chuck's gregg-shorthand-comparison.pdf in the Documents section only shows recommend beginning texts, are we missing a comprehensive list for each version? I have had my eye on The 5,000 Most Used Words and Phrases for a while. I thought I might just drill those and learn all the outlines like chinese characters, and not bother with studying principles anymore.

    The post-manual system I really like is the one described in the Gregg Speedbuilding article by Mr. Swem that Chuck posted in the Documents section. He calls for practice of 1 hour per day, 5 days a week, plus an extra 2 hours thrown in somewhere. Here is the general idea:

    15 minutes of the hour is used to start over at page one of the manual and work through it again, a little each day, to keep the rules fresh in your mind, and to warm up your writing hand.

    5 minutes are then spent taking dictation as fast as you can write. A dumb school kid should be enslaved for reading the material to you, so that the speed can be adjusted as needed. "Write it that first time as if your life depended on it."

    35 minutes after that are spent (1) reading the notes you have just taken, marking all mistakes, and practicing them in the margin, (2) retaking the same dictation at a very slow speed, getting everything perfect, (3) retake the same dictation again, but a little faster, (4) repeat step three until there are only five minutes left in the hour.

    5 minutes at the end of the hour are spent copying expertly written shorthand plates, mimicing the penmanship closely.

    That's the daily hour, then there are the two extra hours to be fit in sometime during the week. 30 minutes are dedicated to an advanced manual, working through the new shortcuts, etc., and (30) minutes taking dictation of a passage, correcting the notes, then taking dictation of a different passage.

    Once you get up to 125, the program changes to eliminate most of the manual review, and once you hit 150, it changes again. The concreteness of his suggesting is appealling, but I'm not that dedicated to practice seven hours/week, as you all know. My favorite line in the article is, "…in all, seven hours a week. Not very much, is it?"

    Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  11. "Not very much" until you actually try to squeeze it into your life. Then you miss a day here, a few more days there, a week for business trip, and suddenly you find you've not worked on your shorthand for a month. Or a year.

    Oh, wait. That was ME.

    I'm sure you'll do just fine. But I think you should go back and review, reveiw, review!



  12. John I remember that article and it is a good suggestion. However that is a lot of time for me too…  You probably don't have to do this every night.  Maybe a few nights a week so you can continue to build speed and reinforce what you've learned.  You could even consider it a "night course" and then you have a schedule to stick to.  Even if you do this one night a week, that would be better then nothing.    Of course you can look for other manuals in the mean time that may appeal to you and then work on those when you have them.    I'm going to work on writing more shorthand.  I've started copying some and realized I do need to write more then I have been.  My penmanship is horrible.  So until I figure out how to dictate on my computer (I think I need a mic but I might have one somewhere that could work…) or find my tape recorder.. I'll write mostly and then read when I've written at least 2 letters.  I have over 60 pages read in that dictation and transcription book, so I'm okay there.  (Yes I read 60 pages without writing an outline… but my reading is MUCH better and I can make out the outlines much better too so it is all good). Debbi

  13. No, I still cannot post to documents, but Jonathan posted a couple items last month.  Is it working for some and not for others?  What a calamity.   Thanks also for the encouragement Marc and Debbie.  Since shorthand is a hobby to me, not a job skill, I am determined not to turn it into a chore.  So, I may try to increase my nightly studies…as long as I'm still enjoying it.  That said, I have felt more motivated since taking official minutes for meetings.  It would sure be nice if I was in the 120 club when doing that type of thing.

  14. The two kinds of writing, writing under the stress of dictation, and writing for penmanship (no stress), complement each other very well. I'm a firm believer of penmanship writing, not just isolated words, but paragraphs. Writing from well written shorthand, and even self-dictating from printed material for penmanship practice, teaches you control, plus you can concentrate on learning new outlines. You will notice that at higher speeds, your notes will still be legible. In my opinion, hesitation goes away with writing practice (not from reading), whether it is from real or self-dictation, since it forces you to have those outlines at the tip of your pen.

  15. I got an idea from my Gregg Speed Studies book… it's an old book I got off ebay and I think it was a schools as there are 8 names in the front…   anyway on one page it looks like someone went over the outlines with a pencil on a page for a letter.  I was thinking of making a copy and then going over the outlines with a pen, then I wouldn't go over the book of course, and it might help with penmenship and sizing and so on… Does that sound like a good way to practice at least once in a while? Debbi

  16. Sure does, Debbi.

    In The Art of Verbal Self-Defense, written by Suzette Elgin–who is a Professor Emeritus at the San Diego University–this "modeling" technique is very effective. Not just for penmanship, but also for accent reduction, voice training, and body language training–and even learning to write.

    The student is instructed to follow along, at the same time, as the model. The method is supposed to be so effective that it's possible to overdo it–you don't want to be an exact, duplicate copy of the model!

    Of course, for shorthand, an exact duplicate model might be desirable! Get some tracing paper, and write directly over the Copperplate. Dramatic improvement should be noticed in 20-25 hours of this…

  17. How neat to hear Debbi's technique – there must be something in the air.

    Last month I started tracing the exercises on small pieces of tracing paper – very carefully, very slowly. Then placed that accurate tracing under the top sheet in a pad of tracing paper and copied it again. Over and over, faster and faster, each time moving the original tracing to a clear area until the page was full. Then, without tracing, write the letter many times to fill a sheet of regular paper.

    After spending 3 months of reading only, I started writing practice in October. I had struggled to form readable outlines at 50 wpm (using the dictation records). This new tracing technique has helped speed and penmanship, and I was able, after multiple passes, to trace accurately the Rader outlines at 85-90 wpm. The follow-up work on blank paper, is less accurate, and half as fast, but improvement seems accelerated.

    This morning I had a print shop cut the spine off the book that came with the self-teaching set. That first tracing, trying to hold the darned book flat, was a lot of trouble. Now I'll trace over the loose page itself.

    (Side benefit: I'll stop filling in the exercise blanks so my daughter can use the book someday.)

    I haven't tried it, but what do you guys think about using tracing paper over self-dictation pages? You could use any text, newspaper articles, etc., enlarged as necessary on a copier to make space for outlines written over the words below. Then remove the text and see how readable your ourlines are.

    Thanks, Debbi, for your post. And George for your follow-up. It's encouraging that experienced hands found the tracing idea worth a try. I was a little worried that it might be a goof-ball waste of time.


  18. Oh no. On my screen the tight spacing of the sans serif font makes the word "d-a-r-n-e-d" as in "darned book" look like something a bit more strong. If you have the same impression, please read "danged" or "gosh dog" or some such family-value grade intensifer there.

  19. Clark, writing on newspaper or on ads in magazines was an idea that was suggested years ago before self-recording divices were available to ordinary public.  It was suggested as an alternative to dictation.  So you can do that.  And enlarging it may make it easier to write down the outlines… you could even copy it on half the paper and write the shorthand outline on the other side, with the newspaper in columns it might fit… same with some magazine articles…   I'm going to have to get some tracing paper now…. Debbi

  20. I just remembered, I downloaded those pdf files from the site for the anniversary books and could just print those instead of copying my book… so that's another idea… I might try that when I don't have tracing paper… like right now… Debbi

  21. With 35 years as an elementary teacher under my belt , and having used the tracing method to teach printing, cursive handwriting and supplementary Gregg shorthand, I think the tracing method has proven its value especially for students who are developing hand control. Some adult writers of long hand have not fully developed writing skills as is evidenced by poor penmanship. I have seen beautiful and unique styles of penmanship in both long and shorthand. For those shorthand students  a certain finesse in their Gregg, another valuable method is to take a Gregg transciption text and copy the shorthand once (while translating aloud) and move on to the next lesson. The vocabulary is often repeated many times throughout the text and the images become recorded in the brain and transmitted often withpout thinking to the hand. The result is improved reading skills and increasingly rapid stenography displaying an attractive appearance. Whatever works for you is the most valuable. DOC  

  22. I've found another way to practice.  My friend gave me a little moleskin black notebook.  I love it.  She has one like it and since I wanted to use it more like a journal I decided to write in shorthand, plus she sits next to me at work and has one too and I didn't want them confused or her reading my thoughts… I also put other things in there, quotes from books, goals, etc.  But I'm using as much shorthand in there as I can.  I find that it has helped because I have to think of the outline instead of copying it or knowing it from the book.  Also other practices, like copying from books, helps because I'm working on remembering the outlines so I can use them in my black book. I figure this will also give me shorthand to read if I need it (although I have a small thin graded readings in my purse too). Debbi

  23. I know how slow and painful that process is John… I started learning Simplified coming on two years ago, and the furthest I got was lesson 50 before I dropped it that time because of taking a full load of classes.

    Right now I'm back at lesson 28 trying to review what doesn't come to my pen right away… Maybe I'll get through the whole manual this time. Yeesh.

  24. Oh so it's not just me… lol. I started learning Anniversary 3 years ago (I knew DJS) and I finished the manual about 3 months ago… I sort of finished the little anniversary manual about a year ago, but I didn't really study or practice the last few lessons… then I went back to the functional method books because I was having trouble (obviously) and have learned it more throughly… Debbi

  25. I love those moleskin books. I carry a small one with my ID, Debit card stuff like that and another larger for writing ideas, limited journal entries and the like. They are too expensive for me to use for my journal (I write too much) My main journals are cheap composition books.

  26. I studied too. It must be the rainy weather. I keep comparing shorthand systems–Pre-anniversary, Anniversary, Simplified, etc. I did lots of read and writing. I'm obsessed? Do I get the day off? Anyway, what's the best way to study without getting overwhelmed? I have these marathon study sessions, and then, I don't study for days–not good. Vic/San Jose CA

  27. John S.:

    I own the "Gregg Dictation Simplified (c.1955), and the Gregg Speed Building for Colleges (c.1958).

    For practice, I read the outlines regularly, especially when I don't have much time to keep the theory fresh. I analyze the various versions too. Also, I write outlines while I'm watching TV with the captioning on.

    Finally, I find that reading briefs and phrase lists really help me with writing and reading.

  28. There is a legal secretary and medical manual for the Simplfied version which you may helpful as well. I own both, and find the legal secretary version very helpful for legal outlines and dictation. — Vic/San Jose CA

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