A little guidence on starting to write please

So I have completed the part of the Anni Functional Method that indicated reading only.  Now I have read Assignment 22, and I am wondering how to proceed.  I had the same question when I got to this point in Simplified, and just punted and read the rest and never wrote Simplified at all.

How was writing taught when using the Functional method?  I just can’t jump in at Assignment 22.  There are too many unknowns.  Why does the loop go like that in this form? etc.

So my approach since I have the regular manual and Speed Studies is to go back to the beginning and learn the strokes as they were introduced in the manual.  This is fine for me in terms of motivation.  It could be a little discouraging I guess, but I am not worried about it.  Is this a good approach?

And should I do this in parallel to continuing in reading the functional method?  Or should I catch up with writing and then pick up the functional method again doing both reading and writing?

If this has been covered previously, I’m sorry, but I would like some guidance.  I am particularly helped by the way it was taught. And if anyone would offer to guide me via correspondence I’d be very grateful.  By scanning my writing or even by good ol’ US Postal.

Thanks in advance,


(by Matthew
for everyone)

13 comments Add yours
  1. If you have honestly completed each reading lesson simply take your shorthand pad and a pen and after reading exercises or letters WRITE them trying to make your outlines look like the outlines in the book. The major idea behind the functional method was that if you read well written shorthand you would automatically write the circles correctly. Don't fret about WHY they are placed where they are, simply do it. Of course you can do the practice penmanship drills and practice words in the Speed Studies as well, being certain you're not going further in word building concept than you've already gone in the Functional Manual, but mainly worry about doing and completing each lesson with full reading and writing comprehension before proceeding to the next.

  2. Since formal GS instruction is no longer available (as far as I know), you have a lot of flexibility in designing a curriculum for self-teaching. I imagine self-taught GS writers have taken all sorts of approaches to learning. For my part, for the first several months I focused exclusively on learning principles (word abbreviation principles, phrasing principles, short forms, etc.) and developing 'fluent' reading skills. On the principles front, I read, re-read, and re-re-read the GS-Anni and Pre-Anni manuals, rearranged their contents into an integrated 'analytic GS grammar', and then drilled the contents of that. On the reading front, I read through a number of speed study and dictation manual books (mostly GS-Anni; some Pre-Anni). Reading these materials is something I continue to do regularly (generally several pages a day, when the mood strikes and time permits), taking note of novel word and phrase forms. Following this course of study, I became a very proficient GS reader within a few months. As for writing, I initially intended to work my way through the functional manuals. I still plan on doing that, and also to 'back-translate' from some of the teachers' manuals I have (which provide English renderings of the shorthand plates in their companion student volumes). That will be a project for years to come. To prepare for more systematic study of that sort, for the last several months I've been keeping a daily journal in hybrid GS-Anni/Pre-Anni. Doing that has made me a much more proficient writer. I don't have an especially beautiful hand. To gain that, I imagine one would have to do incessant form-writing drills. Though I love the aesthetics of GS done well, I am less interested in devoting the kind of time to this sort of drilling that a really beautiful hand requires. For my purposes, it suffices that I can distinguish between my own d/t, r/l, n/m, k/g, f/v, etc., even though another GS writer looking at my writing might find it difficult to do so. Though it's a lot of fun to read GS plates and — to whatever extent one has any opportunity to come across it — the GS writing of other living writers, what's most important is to be able to read (quickly; not to painstakingly reconstruct) one's own writing — days, weeks, months after writing it. Keeping a daily journal in shorthand has greatly improved my hand; greatly improved my application of GS principles; and allowed me to put things I have picked up in my reading into direct and systematic use. I am a much better GS writer for keeping a journal. (At work, I also take notes in GS, and some dictation, which is much more challenging than simply writing in GS. But daily writing in GS has also enhanced my dictation skills.) By stages, GS is coming to feel like second nature, but I'm still a long way off from acquiring serious writing proficiency, let alone the kind of hand I'd love to perfect one day.

    PS I'd be happy to give you feedback on your writing.

  3. There are two types of writing drills: penmanship and dictation. What Phil described is the penmanship aspect. To start with dictation, record parts of the selections (1-2 min) and take dictation at a slow speed (start say at 30 wpm) but with the book open, so that you become accustomed to the idea of listening and writing, without panicking if you get lost.

    I'm available to help with your writing.

  4. When I took shorthand classes the last part of the period was an introduction to the new outlines in the next lesson. The instructor would write the new words and phrases on the board, have us spell out the shorthand outline and have us repeat the word or phrase it stood for. Our homework was usually to write each of the outlines 5 times being advised to say aloud what they stood for and then to read the letters or articles in the new lesson for homework. The next day we'd read them aloud and periodically she'd dictate them at a slow speed and at least once more a bit faster. If I remember correctly, she did not dictate new material until the second semester. It was during the second year we worked on speed building and transcription.

  5. Thank you everyone.

    Here is what I'm doing right now:
    – Going back to the Manual an Speed Studies and writing all of the exercises as I go.
    – Asking my wife or a child to read key slowly to get me to do some dictation.
    – Do some of the penmanship drills from the Speed Studies.

    Things I'll try to do going forward:
    – Slow down my reading through the Functional Method so I don't leave an assignment until I've written it. (This will be the hardest. I want to get all of the theory, now, of course.)
    – Figure out how to get my writing to some of you for tips and criticism. (Thanks a lot for the offers.)


  6. You should not race through the 2-volume Functional Manual which used to be taught over the first two semesters for beginning students. When Gregg was taught in high schools the entire course was of 2-year (4 semesters) duration. The initial two semesters employed the two volumes plus The Gregg Writer exercises as well as additional reading from the published books. Classes were normally of 50-minute duration so it probably took at least two days if not three to complete most of the lessons in the book with lots of review. Also you'll find if you have someone dictating to you that if after taking a letter once, if you read the same letter in the shorthand plates in your manual several times, the next time it's dictated you can take it more accurately and a little faster. Good luck!

  7. Ah, you have nailed it on the head with that word – "race".

    I'm always in a hurry to learn. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the ride.


    P.S. For those interested I will start to periodically post samples of my writing practice to my Multiply blog. (Click my photo and you will find it.) I posted a few pages this morning. I am always open to help from people who are ahead of me.

    I put it there so I wouldn't crowd out the other things going on here for my personal journey. In the spirit of that please make comments there.

  8. I understand your uncertainty about writing when you've never seen it done before. I actually hired a retired lady who knew simplified to show me how to write when I first started. In retrospect though, it really is mostly a matter of picking up the pen and going with the flow. Just doing it is more important that understanding or doing it perfectly.

    In the back of the Fables book (I downloaded mine from gregg.angelfishy.net) there's some penmanship practice sets. Try a few of them. I think once you see how much of Gregg is spun out of the cursive ovals the procedural mechanics of writing will be intuitive and you can settle into the long climb up the skill curve with the rest of us.

  9. There are several videos online of people writing Gregg. Some might even be in this group, and I know some are on YouTube. Pay more attention to those than samples of other methods. I read somewhere that Gregg is to be flowing, but Pittman is to be written in jerks.

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