Taking a slight detour

It dawned on me that going through the Transcription Simplified book has become something of a chore that I do because it’s part of the chain of things I set up for myself in order to learn Gregg Simplified. I can read those letters pretty quickly now, and I barely glance at the words before I copy them. It doesn’t feel like improvement, it just feels like treading water.

So, I have temporarily put the book down and I’m taking a different track. I’m writing several journal type entries a day. Once I do a necessary rewrite (for clarity out of its original context), I will copy a series of stories I began writing a few years ago, into shorthand. I realize that it’s more important for me, at this time, to focus on the words and phrases that *I* use. Otherwise, I’m just keeping up a skill for recording the thoughts of others, which is not what I originally learned shorthand for. While I’ve done the occasional journal entry and jotted down the occasional meeting note and todo list before, I’ve never fully embraced that practice. I’ve always had this “I’m still really just a beginner” voice in my head all this time that I no longer believe is fully warranted.

It’s time for me to stop being the student, and to shake off my uncertainties so that I can put it to the full use I had originally intended.

At some point down the line, I’ll probably go back to doing the lessons, as I’m sure I will have forgotten some of the abbreviating principles here and there and will benefit from the fresh exposure. At that time, I can brush up. For now, it’s time to take off the training wheels.

One of my goals with this is to stop feeling uncertain over words or phrases I use that don’t come up very often in the texts. It may take some guesswork, and some dictionary lookups (after I try my best guess, of course), but ultimately, that will be the Gregg I set out to learn.

10 comments Add yours
  1. Remember that the purpose of the transcription books was to practice producing typed documents, typical of an office. If you are not going to be working in an office, and if your English is pretty good, the transcription books can be skipped. Better books for increased vocabulary are the Gregg Shorthand Speed Building for Colleges Simplified, Gregg Advanced Dictation Simplified, and Expert Shorthand Speed Course Simplified. With this last one, you will learn additional shortcuts that could be used in your writing.

    There are other ways to improve your shorthand skills, in addition to studying from books. Your journal writing idea is excellent. Taking an article and writing it in shorthand is another good opportunity to practice shorthand. Listening to the news on the TV and writing down what you hear is another possibility. Opportunities to practice what you have already learned are all over.

  2. So far this is working really well for me. I've been running into words that I hadn't picked up from the lessons, words that I naturally use, and it is helping me expand my vocabulary. Also, I have been able to pretty much go free flowing with my thoughts, as I rarely have to hesitate to think about an outline.

    1. I have a recommendation for you. If you're learning a new word that you use frequently, and if the word is written in full in Simplified (that is, not following any particular principle), check the Anniversary outline for it to see if it was written according to the Abbreviation Principle (or if it was a brief form). If so, write the abbreviated outline instead of the full "Simplified" way. It will improve your speed considerably and at the same time you'll be learning something new. Further, it will prepare you to using reporting shortcuts later on. The same principle can be applied to phrases. If you see that you are using a phrase over and over, use the abbreviated outline for it.

      Nothing forbids you from abbreviating other words that you use frequently. It is a personal choice.

  3. I really enjoyed hearing about your progress and decisions to keep yourself moving forward, MysticMoon. I can't really add anything, so: good job! 🙂

    I'm still plugging away at Simplified myself. I find it easier now to use shorthand in real life situations, even if I mix in longhand words. For example I took a class for work yesterday, and had a mix of both in my writing. Of course, my handwriting already uses a fair amount of abbreviations, so my notes must look very eclectic and odd to anyone else!

  4. I'm betting this will not be a detour, but a new and more powerful stage in your learning.

    I advise going back and rereading what you write, after the passage of a day or two. That will give you the reading practice with your style. Keep a red pen handy and circle any mistakes or things you think could be written in a more efficient manner. Then add those words – the ones you are actually using and can improve on, to an ongoing list of words to practice.

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