advice, guidance and help

I seek…….

Recently I was able to acquire Gregg Simplified first edition manual and started to go through lessons. So far I am still at first few lessons going over and practising. Now here is the thing. I would like to start using shorthand. I am committed to master the skill and use it. And I would like to practice as much as possible from the start. Besides obvious usage of brief forms in making notes ı dare not, for I am still at the beginning of the manual, to try to write any other words in fear of going against some principles that are explained in latter chapters. I would like to ask people that are familiar with the content of the manual to tell me at what point (after which lesson) I could start writing.

Another thing is, as I have mentioned previously, that I would like to have a lot of practice and would like to copy some texts besides material found in manual. But since I am not at the moment able to perceive the text difficulty and complexity (in terms of shorthand writing) I would like to ask experienced people of this forum who have written and read a lot, are there any texts that you could recommend to be used as practice material that will not be utterly demanding at the early stage. For example, is the language level of Aesop’s fables quite demanding to be written in shorthand……

My penmanship is rather jerky at the moment. Of course I have problems with maintaining proportions but I am practising every exercise that I have found on this forum. Only thing that I am disappointed with myself is inability to get my R’s and L’s elliptical. In 50% of the cases they come out rather circular in shape than elliptical. For all other signs I managed to get the motion so these R’s and L’s are annoying. But I guess in time they will come out right.


7 comments Add yours
  1. "Today's Secretary" occasionally has graded practice texts containing only words found in the first six, the first eight, etc. lessons; some of those are posted to this blog.

    … searches …

    Ah, what I was thinking of wasn't for practising writing but rather for practising reading (also a useful skill, since if you can only read your own shorthand at a snail's pace, it won't be as useful to you later).

    Have a look at the table of contents , under "Simplified", for entries whose titles start with "Flash Reading".

    There's even one based only on the first two chapters: . (Note: chapters, not assignments/lessons.)

  2. You should get the Most Used Shorthand Words and Phrases in Gregg Simplified book by Gregg, Leslie, and Zoubek to study along the manual. It provides additional words that use the principles of each lesson.

    In the learning phase, it is recommended to stick with the material of the book because it is graded, unless you use selections from Today's Secretary like Phil pointed out, which sometimes are also graded.

    About the rs and ls, your problem is rather common. To correctly write these characters, take a look at these pictures (thanks to Andrew Owen). They are enlargements of the k, g, r, and l. Focus on the two lower strokes. Notice that to write the r and the l, one starts the movement slightly above the line, and move the pen in a bottom left direction. The first part of the curve should be short and deep. Once the pen hits the line of writing, the curve is finished to the right, at the same level that the movement was started above the line. The k and g are exact mirror images of the r and l: the movement starts on the line, the pen follows a top right direction to a point slightly above the line, and at the end the pen is moved bottom left, making the last portion of the curve short and deep.

    1. "You should get the Most Used Shorthand Words and Phrases in Gregg Simplified book by Gregg, Leslie, and Zoubek to study along the manual. It provides additional words that use the principles of each lesson."

      This. I tried getting through the Simplified manual a couple of times without success but having that additional book made all the difference for me. Having those extra examples made it possible for me to really get it. It also gave me more chances to practice.

  3. Philip, thank you for pointing out those texts. I have been intensively roaming around this blog for past few days but it has not occurred to me to look at those files. That is something that I have been looking for. I intend to slowly transcribe those files (of course after finishing corresponding lessons) and then rewrite them in shorthand back again and again. As a matter of the fact I am doing that with words and reading and writing practice material from the manual. Still I would like little bit more than just say-face-vase words so that I can incorporate more of the shorthand outside my allotted time for practice.
    I've spend few months going through Dewey's Script Shorthand book, diligently practising with the material from the book but hardly anything outside that. After I finished the book and the time came for me to start using shorthand I somehow lost spirit. Now I want to do it properly. I want to use it not to lose it.

    Carlos, thank you for the book suggestion. I tracked few copies on ebay.
    Since I am getting it I would like your advice on getting additional books to make small reference library. Few essential books you would recommend to anyone that uses shorthand on vocational basis (not that I have need for it now but just in case…….). Also I would like the same advice for Anniversary edition as well, if I may ask?
    I don't intend to run away from material in the book but I am really eager to practice more and as much as I can. And if I can connect it with my daily affairs that would make it more sweeter. I hope I don't sound to impatient or inconsistent. I am sticking to the rules…..
    My r's and l's look like that most of the time, sometimes with too much of a hook at the beginning so that it looks like tick or check mark one uses when correcting exams but with not so sharp corner. Then when I want to round it little more the curve runs away and than it looks quite circular. Well, it will improve with practice I guess. By the way, I dropped an eye on McCann Intensive Gregg manual and I have to say their rs and ls look circular also (I have no intention on copying that).
    And one more thing, is the Gregg condense summary document Simplified or Anniversary material cause I thought of printing it out to use as a reference.

    1. I think at this stage it's better to focus on the lessons in the manual and reinforce it with the most used words and phrases book. Probably the only two other books that would be good for references are the Simplified dictionary and the Simplified phrase book. I wouldn't worry about anything else for the moment — you can always get additional books later once you're somewhat proficient. Remember that here we're looking for mastery before speed — know each lesson backwards and forwards before advancing to the next.

      Lastly, I don't think we have a Simplified summary document in the blog.

  4. I made my way through the Gregg Shorthand Simplified Manual a couple years ago and I can tell you what worked for me. I practiced each lesson numerous times. While I wanted to start using it right away I found that I simply did not know enough to do so. So, whenever I got the itch to use it, I would dive back in and do another lesson or repeat one I'd already done. It was slow going and took about 10 months, but it was worth it.

    However, I did not wait to finish the book before I started to use it. Once I learned the very last stroke I began writing everything I could in shorthand. I had not learned every brief form or abbreviating principle and so much of what I did was technically incorrect (though still legible). Which I was completely ok with. I learned to be more correct as my studies progressed. The thrill of using it outweighed my fear of being wrong.

    As far as making the strokes correctly, I too struggled with r's and l's. I thought for a bit that it was being left handed that made it awkward, but I kept plugging away. I wrote very slowly and as correctly as possible. Much of what I wrote looked horrible to me. Rather than correct it, I let it be but would go back and try again later. My longhand is atrocious, so I didn't expect any miracles. As time went on, though, I found that I did improve. It just took a lot of practice and study. Not only can I make the strokes correctly, but I no longer have to write them at a snail's pace.

    Hope this helps.

  5. You've got the right approach, sticking to outlines you know until you know the theory firmly, and working on your penmanship.

    Take heart. The sounds, words and brief forms are introduced most-used first. One of the manuals explains that after only a few units you'll be able to write half of normal speech. Unit 19 includes some Aesop's fables.

    A few more tricks:

    Write faster. The shapes are designed to flow, not to be drawn with compass and ruler. Spend some in each session working faster. That will also force you to think of the word as a whole, not individual shapes. That's not to say you should write so fast you don't write neatly, just force it up every now and then to see what happens.

    Do rows and rows of shapes and words. The Anni Speed Studies book and the DJS manual have good penmanship sections, with enlarged samples. I don't remember if the Simplified manuals have it.

    Make a photocopy of the page and trace the shapes.

    Write the a line of the shape large on a whiteboard on the wall, using your whole arm, then about 6" high on a table, then at the final size. It helps the brain learn the shape, and recruits the larger muscles. Using just your fingers doesn't work as well. (My son was in occupational therapy for handwriting, and that was one of the exercises.)

    Every so often, write without lines. The official size works well for most people, but another size might work best for you. (One of the high-speed champions had specially-made books of oversize paper.) This, though, can be dangerous until you know all the theory.

    Experiment with different pens and paper. A fine pencil lead that breaks and a maker that bleeds into the paper will show any problems with pressure or hesitation.

    Hope this helps, and welcome!

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