Shorthand without much practice

G’day all.
Some of you may recognize me, as I seem to go through periods where I’m really active on this board, and then periods where I don’t post for a while. Anyway, onto my question. I was wondering if it would be possible to learn shorthand without a lot of “sit down and study for half an hour” sort of practice. I have a rather full schedule, and I find it difficult to actualy buckle down and study like I probably should. I’ve been learning simplified for quite a while, but only off and on, and as a result, I’ve only managed to reach lesson 15 or so. Does anyone have any other ideas about how I could approach this?


(by _pie_man_ for everyone)

12 comments Add yours
  1. Pie Man, obsession knows no schedule.

    Carry the manual around for quick reference.

    Buy a dictionary for your version; carry that around, too. They were printed in pocket-sized editions.

    When you're in unscheduled time (waiting in lines, etc.), work out outlines in your head. When you come to a word or principle you're unsure of, pull out your manual or dictionary. (When you're actually writing outlines (adding them into your longhand), avoid guessing beyond your confidence of the theory.)

    When you can, try doing your thirty minutes within an hour or two before going to sleep; as often as not you'll wake up with it still on your mind. (I learned that one in my college days; it can be a little hard on your sanity, but it gets the material in there.)

    One of John's old posts inspired me to make flashcards for the brief forms; these work fantastically to develop the kind of reflex-quick recall that you want. You can carry those around for line-ups, too.

    Simplified has a index that's almost as good as a quick-reference table. You may find it quickens overall progress to work through the text from that index, filling in the blanks as you need. I found the "topological" view it gives of the system more encouraging than the per-chapter pep talks.

  2. If Gregg is like Pitman (and I think it is, in this respect) I don't think it possible to develop great speed and utility without a lot of practice.

    You might be able to learn Series 90, or one of the abridged versions of Gregg, your way. (Or PitmanScript, for a Pitman wannabe)

  3. If you can't carry around a book with you (although the small dictionary sounds like a good idea) maybe the flashcard idea would work with the theory.  Write down the theory of the next lesson on flash cards, study those in your free time and then when you have a sit down moment (at least once a week) read through the lesson and write down as much as you can.  This way you at least get through one lesson a week.  Keep brief form and pharse flash cards with you all the time to study.  This way you're studying throughout the week and getting the shorthand into your head.  Of course if you are able to carry around a steno book with you, you can copy the theory into a steno book with the lessons and review what you have written in previous lessons too.   If you can carry the manual with you, all the better.  Read whenever you have a free moment and then once a week sit down and copy what you have read, as much as you can for at least a half hour if not longer.   If you find that you carry the index cards or books with you and you don't have a free moment at all, then make time, maybe 10 minutes each day, and 30 once a week to sit down and study.  That's probably the minimum time of practice and will move you along, although not fast, but faster then what you're doing now.  10 minutes before bed is perfect.  Cut back on computer time, phone time (voice mail is there for a reason), tv time, etc., those things that can be cut back on.   Good luck. Debbi

  4. The way I've been picking up Gregg is to just use the outlines I know right away, and mix them in with my longhand (and my old personal shorthand). I started with the one letter brief forms (like will, I, are, etc.) and added on a few words I used a lot, like "from", "meeting", "to", "todo", and so on.

    Since I had an office job this summer, I just left the Series 90 dictionary on my desk and looked up anything that I found I was using frequently. Maybe once a week, when I had downtime, I sat down and just wrote down whatever I overheard around me for a few minutes.

  5. Hi all,   I haven’t been here in a while myself but I’m still creeping along with my shorthand in my own way: I always wanted to keep a “day book” like a diary where I could keep track of phone calls, make notes and keep track of progress on goals etc. My “day book” is part business record and part personal diary. I can flip through the pages and find a phone number or the date that I talked to a business and what was said.   I was never successful in keeping this book before shorthand. When I tried to keep the book on the computer I found it wasn’t always near me or ready to go. When I tried to keep the book on paper it seemed too easy for other’s to read my misspelled quickly scribbled notes. I can’t spell while I’m listening to one thing and writing another. Finally, the steno pad and shorthand solved my problems. I can take notes quickly and haul the pad easily.   How does this answer your question about practice? Well, I get lots of practice writing throughout the day and I get curious about how to write some of the words. Sometimes I am able to look them up and get an “aha” moment. There have been weeks that I have not taken the time to look in my textbook yet I use the dictionary all the time because I write shorthand daily. I’m amazed at how many words just flow correctly and speedily just because they come up all the time in my daily writings. The natural desire to know how to write words comes from trying to write them in real life. Sometimes I just spell the word out and later I’ll look it up and learn the better way. My earlier writing has more “wrong words” but it’s still readable because it’s just too spelled out. I see how far I’ve come when I read my older stuff.   I keep my shorthand dictionary out next to my TV chair. When I’m watching TV I’ll sometimes review and look up words I’m curious about. Often I make notes from the TV too. If you make the steno pad a part of your daily living it can become a habit and the shorthand study just follows out of natural curiosity. You’ll feel more like taking a lesson because you’re “into” it and even if you don’t find time to take a lesson you’ll still have gotten lots of shorthand practice every week.

  6. I've noticed that too – that sometimes things get a bit better after a break. Maybe it takes a while to settle in or something. I'm also trying to learn Spanish and I take long breaks from that – some of the info settles in and some goes out the window!

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