New to shorthand – which one should I try?

I’m a writer and I usually do all of my manuscripts on the computer.  I type over 90 wpm so I’m fine as long as I’m in front of a computer, but I now have a 90 minute commute (1 way) to work and I’m finding that this is when my best brainstorming has been coming into play.  The problem is, I can’t exactly whip out the old laptop, and by the time I try to get it down in long hand, I’ve either lost the thread or it’s stilted at best.  My brain thinks faster than my hand works, so I’m losing my best work before I ever get to my destination.  And after working 8 -9 hours a day and commuting for 3 (not to mention kids, dinner, homework and the like) I don’t have a lot of time to spend on personal writing at the end of the day.
Which method is the easiest to learn in the shortest amount of time?  My mother is an old Gregg user and I’ve tried to learn from her but didn’t spend enough time on it to get any real value, not to mention I was too young to appreciate the skill at the time.  I have 4 manuscripts I’m actively working on and my goal is to get at least two submitted by end of 2006, so I need something that won’t take a lifetime to learn.
I’m a blank slate here totally open to suggestions!
Thank you!

(by mtggirl for everyone)

23 comments Add yours
  1.  If I understand your post correctly you would like to learn a system of shorthand in 16 days! This is virtually impossible given the time required to master any system, the time constraint on obtaining the texts or materials of any given system. The two most popular systems in the USA, Gregg and Pitman, offer texts and materials easily obtained on EBAY, AMAZON and Of the two Gregg has fewer rules and cursive style . Pitman has many more rules and a geometric style. I have materials from some of the Alphabet Shorthand systems, some of which have catchy titiles like Shorthand in TWO HOURS, Shorthand in 15 Days. Hogwash! Most of these alphabet systems employ phonetic letter substituion technique, often with an awkward use of capital letters within an abbreviated spelling. Any system of shorthand, and there are too many to enumerate here, requires learning symbols, phonetic and compacted spelling, technique mastery, skill development and theory.Now about Gregg, if your willing to put a few months in concentrated study you can make impressive progress ( especially given the fact that you have identified some sound reasons for acquiring this proficiency). In this website you have avaiable some fine materials and a group of people who are supportive of your efforts and nice  to become associated with. So welcome to the group, get busy and join in on the excitement we have all shared in the rediscovery of the value and fun of Gregg Shorthand!   DOC

  2. Not 16 days; 1 year and 16 days. By the end of 2006, 2005.

    This being a Gregg Shorthand group, I'm not going to mention any of the other systems. There are many different kinds of Gregg to choose from, but for your needs, I'd suggest either Anniversary or Simplified. Anniversary would be faster than Simplified, but it has twice the memory load, and from the description you provided of your dilema, Simplified seems to be fast enough. Search "Gregg Shorthand" on Wikipedia for some more information on the various systems.

    Good luck!

  3. It seems to me that any of the Gregg versions would get you to 90 wpm — so if you want to go faster than that, stick with Simplified or Anny — but you'll be up and running faster with Series 90 or DJS or Centennial.   DJS & S90 have speciality books which can get you going faster — according to my sources — these introduce Simplified and Anny brief forms.

  4. Welcome to the group, MTG! You are right in thinking that Gregg will help your hand move faster to keep up with your thoughts. Even if you didn't get up to 90 wpm, it is not so hard to at least get faster than longhand. It sounds like you are pressed for time; shorthand study normally takes about a year to get past the beginner stage, but the series with the smaller learning curve is Diamond Juibilee. It has less rules and abbreviations to memorize. Be sure to download the "gregg-shorthand-comparison.pdf" file in the Documents section for a comparison of all the Gregg systems.

    Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

  5. Let me clarify.  I'm not trying to learn it in 2 weeks or even 6 months.  However long it takes – then it takes.  I'm committed to learning it whatever timeframe works for me.  I just wanted to know from people with experience which would be the best version.  I remember some of the rules from when I worked on it with my mother so I at least know that I want it to be Gregg, but when I started shopping for the books I was AMAZED at the different versions.  I thought shorthand was shorthand.  I had no clue that there was anything other than Gregg or that there were evern other types within Gregg!   And thank you all for your help in deciding which one to use.  Thanks to your help I've got it down to Simplified or Anniversary – but what is S90, DJS or Centennial?  One of you mentioned that S90 or DJS would get me there faster (which is great) but what is the difference between those 3?  Am I correct in assuming that these are all sub-types of Simplified and Anniversary?   Your help is much appreciated!   Coral

  6. Coral   Read this for an understanding of the different versions:   gregg-shorthand-comparison.pdf   If your mother explained about shorthand to you, find out what version she took: if she was in high school between 63 and 78, it would most likely have been Diamond Jubilee. If it was 50 to 63, it would have been Simplified. If it was 78 to 88, then it would be S90.   Andrew Owen's excellent website has good explanation for the different versions:   Likewise Marc Semler's site has information about the different versions:   Good Luck

  7. Thanks again for all the help.  I think I've decided on Anniversary.  It's what Mom used and go figure – she still has her old high school manual!!  Not to mention that there seems to be more resources online for Anniversary that will help me learn to translate and in a form that I would actually enjoy reading anyway.  I love that the Angelfishy link you pointed me to has a link to Fables written in Gregg to practice with.  ~~ How cool is that???   Looking forward to hanging around here.  I actually think this is going to be a lot of fun!

  8. Coral — there are quite a few of us Anniversary writers around! If your mom has her high school shorthand books, go for it. Could you post their titles? I'm curious, as to some are better than others, and we can recommend specific ones for learning. And as always, if you're stuck, just post a question here.

  9.  It's always interesting for me to read the various reasons that people are wanting to learn shorthand.   Good luck to you, mtgirl.   I have been plugging away trying to get the basics down (Simplfied is my poison), so I don't have to think about the shapes before I write them down.   It doesn't come easy to me.   There are some shapes that I am very comfortable with and others that elude me — deciding which direction the curves go, etc.   I probably just don't have any real aptitude.  Nevertheless, I do enjoy learning and will reach a certain level of competence if I continue to practice and review.

  10. I think that the best way of figuring out which way the curves go is by reading lots of shorthand. The time will come in which you won't think twice on how a certain curve will go, because it has been already fixed in the brain. So, don't despair.

  11. BEANTEA, I've been told that, if a person naturally writes cursive very rapidly, he has great shorthand speed potential.

    But if his cursive is rather slow and labored, his potential isn't very high. If you watch various people write, you will notice that, indeed, we all write cursive at various speeds.

    I never noticed this until I was told about it…

  12. George, that would make sense.  At my stage, I'm trying to improve my forms.  Not really aiming for speed.  This pic of me was probably taken while I was trying to get my fountain pen to flow.     Actually, I've had it with trying to use fountain pens.  I'm going back to rollerball or gel (ick).

  13. I have a Retro51 and a Lamy.    The Retro is good, but the barrel is too short to use without the cap and the cap is too heavy and falls off.  Therefore, it is worthless.  I bought the Lamy recently.   The ink doesn't flow out the tip consistently.  It is a big disappointment because I love the shape and that it is lightweight.    So, no more fountain pens for me.  

  14. I know this is beyond the pale and declassé, but I just buy the cheap Shaeffer ones (about $10) — they're cheap plastic but they work really well. Their only problem is they are delicate, but most fountain/cartridge pens are. 

  15. I write with an old Shaeffer pen with a Gregg Shorthand nib. It writes beautifully and makes shorthand a lot of fun to write!

    With regards to the ink, are you using the Lamy with an ink cartridge? If not, here are some tips:

    1. Fill the pen every day. Remember that the nib may clog, and that can cause the flow of ink to become unsteady. You don't need to clean it with water every day; just the action of the refilling should be sufficient to maintain the flow. Clean the pen when you notice that ink is seeping out of the nib when you write.

    2. Try a more liquid ink, such as Waterman, Pelikan, Skrip, MontBlanc, or Quink. I prefer inks a little denser, so that ink flows steadily (I use Private Reserve, they are awesome inks). The good thing about the denser ink is that when it doesn't flow, I know it's time to clean the pen and refill. This usually happens after a week of use with my pen.

  16. I have a Cross "Classic Black" fountain pen with an XF nib that I bought years ago, and it's about the best fountain pen I've tried.  Consistent ink flow, smooth line, no scratchiness, and even though it's XF it doesn't dig into the paper at all.  I don't know if Cross is even still making fountain pens.   Bottom line for me these days, though (sadly), is that a fountain pen isn't practical.  Ink is expensive and sometimes hard to find, I don't always have a pocket to carry it in, and I don't have time to deal with "maintenance" issues.  I also have to write on all kinds of paper, some of which isn't compatible with FP ink.  I almost always use a Pilot G2 gel pen now–the ink is intense, and the pen's performance is consistent.  The flow is liquid enough to have a sense of writing with a real writing instrument.  There's also a range of colors that I find satisfying (although my everyday choice is blue).    Alex

  17. Alex — I agree with the don't have time problem, but I usually use Zebra Sarasa pens, because as you say, they feel like a real writing instrument and they come in satisfying colours, including 3 different blues.

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