Sorry if this is a bit long. If you don’t want to read the background about my Gregg journey and why Simplified gives me burnout, skip down to the “***” marker.
As some of you may recall, I started my studies last year with Notehand and soon switched to Simplified. I felt if I was going to invest the effort, I may as well go for the gold… or at least the silver, as many of you probably feel Anni (or earlier) is the “gold” model of Gregg. 🙂
So I worked with a Simplified manual from the library, until I got the Simplified FM which I used as my main book. I also appreciated having a Simplified dictionary, and knowing there would be ample reading material available. I got a copy of Dictation Simplified for future use; and of course Carlos kindly posts new content here every month.
Unfortunately, what started as an enjoyable task became drudgery by lesson 37 (where types of comma usage are introduced). I really disliked the outdated business letters — those seemingly never-ending attempts to sell goods or get overdue payments. So I stopped for a while. I continued to read this blog, and write a little bit for personal use, but it was minimal.
I recently decided to pick up the studies again. I went back to an early lesson, where I felt would be a good point of review, and resumed working the Simplified FM. I felt like I was speeding along in terms of my reading comprehension, which felt good. I’m up to lesson 26 for writing (gent/dif blends) and 29 with reading.
And… the material is reminding me of why I stopped before. I still find these letters a struggle. I don’t care about a lot of the brief forms and business phrases (as in assignment 28) that I’d rarely use, which seems like useless memory load. Perhaps my role in modern corporate life also makes it harder for me to read advice to a 1950s secretary-in-training. In any case… tedious for me!
Not so coincidentally, I’ve been considering a downgrade back to Notehand, taking what I know from Simplified with me. I looked in my Notehand book, and I know there are many small differences in brief forms that would require a mental adjustment. Yet the Notehand in some sense looks/feels better to me. I’m reminded of someone here who once said that DJS looked to them like how Gregg should be written. I feel that way sometimes when I look at Notehand. (I suspect the writing of o and oo without sideways hooks is part of that!)
I read the Notehand teachers manual that Teri recently posted, and something in there struck me. It pointed out that Notehand doesn’t have to be written mathematically correct, and stressed the difference of non-vocational shorthand training. That’s when it hit me: Shorthand was meant to be a means to an end for me, not an end in itself. I’m not going to do court reporting or verbatim meeting minutes.
So what are my goals, and what will meet them? I want to take notes in meetings or work-related lectures, and be able to reference them later. I’m interested in having the material for reference and review; not verbatim transcripts.
I’d like to write lists, journal entries, even some prose. I’ll never write any shorthand as fast as I type (I’ve been on a computer every day for years) but something faster than longhand would be nice when I want to be away from a computer.
If I switch to Notehand at this point, am I giving up too much? Is the loss of reading material going to hurt me overall?
Is there the equivalent of a runner’s wall that I should try to break through with Simplified? Have others hit a point where they felt stuck and then suddenly got past it — in other words, is this a common learning plateau in shorthand?
I welcome your thoughts, opinions and related experiences.