Achievement Unlocked

I just wrote out the last new theory lesson for the fourth and final time. Go me!

I’m a long way from reliable meeting notes, even not verbatim, but I’m pretty good at journalling with it. I’m probably 30-50 wpm depending on the vocabulary and how confident I need to be that I can read it back. 60 is doable if I practice a passage. It doesn’t help that I stared using it for my own notes before finishing the theory. I learned some words wrong. Even so, regular use has helped.

I can read the text no problem.

My next steps are finish the review chapters, about 80 pages. Hopefully they’ll have lots of practice for the last few chapters, but not too many place names. I rarely wrote them, so don’t intend to use the faster forms.

I have a Teeline CD that goes from beginner to 100, so might use that for Gregg speed-building.

Also, there are several stories I want to add to the library here. They’re more interesting than business etiquette and take letters.

Many thanks to the group! Reading other writers has reassured me that I don’t have to match the text.




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  1. Cricket, you inspired me to go review my DJS books. I took advantage of holiday free time to read through DJS for Colleges, V1. I got through all the theory paragraphs, copying out many of them. I also re-read the Reading and Writing Exercises in reverse order, with a stopwatch, from part 75 through part 60 at over 50 wpm sustained. Once I am through reviewing by reading, I will do some timed writing. My 1001 Nights contributions are on-hold till I get through this review and practice plan. I took a quick look at Simplified and put it on my very-long-term list, but I am planning to stick with DJS until I can write quickly with fewer mistakes. The DJS V1 book suggests 120 wpm as a dictation target, but I not expecting more than 30 to start. I took to heart Carlos's early advice to prioritize penmanship, so I will do that and not force the speed, but rather strive to have it come naturally (that advice is in concert with other experiences of mine with physical activities like martial arts and music). I have two more DJS books to plow through, Colleges V2 and Transcription, so I will not run out of material in my lifetime 🙂

    1. Some recommendations:

      1. Do not start dictation at a speed slower than 40 wpm — it is not worth it.

      2. At the end of the V1 book, if you're writing at 60 wpm, you're fine, so I wouldn't recommend working on V2 if your dictation speed is less than this speed because it would mean that you are still hesitating about theory.

      3. Lastly, remember that when practicing dictation, penmanship is secondary, so concentrate on taking down whatever you can of what is being dictated and not worry about whether it looks pretty or not.

  2. Congratulations yourself! I started with DJS several decades ago. I moved to Simplified because I wrongly believed it was faster, and rightly believed there is more reading material, especially since if you read Simplified you can read all later versions. (I was wrong about the speed because my problem is lack of practice, not ultimate speed of the system.)

    Don't be afraid to try reading Simplified. At worst, you'll have a few words you don't understand, and many of them will be clear from context. the main danger with learning more than one version is hesitation if you have more than one way to write a word. Use whichever comes first in the moment, then look it up in your preferred system. I plan to mark my submissions has mostly simplified, since a few things from other versions will creep in, and I know myself well enough not to commit to posting corrected versions.

    When I started taking dictation, passages I struggled to bring up to 40 or 50 words a minute copying were suddenly 10 words a minute faster.

    I found pushing the speed toss me a lot. Bits I thought were good needed a lot of work, and vice versa. It also forced me to stop thinking of individual letters and start thinking of entire outlines. I alternate my copies between penmanship and fairly fast, and finish the day with as fast as I can do and stay as readable as I want all my notes to be. I don't know if this is the best way, but I'm now fairly happy with how my hand and brain work.

    If I ever get my dictation program going, I plan to use Swem’s method of going up to 10 wpm beyond reasonable accuracy, then dropping down for the final take. (Do you know anyone who writes Python? My husband redid the text to speech and calibration part, but it will be a long time before I have time to redo the rest of it.)

    I started using it for low importance notes, especially in my meditation and inquiry group. I write words I don't know in the margin and look them up, if I remember. I think that really helped.

    1. RE Python, if you look around a bit, you will find scads (many thousands) of Python programmers from foreign lands who will take gigs for single-digit dollars per hour over the internet. Look for broker sites with quality standards and good reputations and so on. Serbia is a prime area for high talent at low cost. India, too. 

      RE corrected versions of postings: I'm doing 1001 Nights on an IPad with Goodnotes, and it's easy to fix little problems. I've revised my postings a couple of times. I've been posting JPEGs, but as it grows, I'll have to attach PDFs the way Carlos does. When I get confident with DJS, I plan to rewrite my contribs with real pen and paper, because I like pen and paper, but I don't expect to get there in before end of 2020.

      I make a point to read Carlos's postings, and he writes in Centi and Anni quite a lot. I actually studied Anni a tiny bit on angelfishy before I found paper books, lots of them, in DJS (before I knew there were different Gregg editions!) I can read Carlos's postings without too much difficulty, but I take my time. With DJS, I run a stopwatch and keep data on my rates. I do realize that Simplified is quite like DJS and I don't have any special difficulty with Simplified.

      My real-world use of Gregg is for taking notes in interviews (I interview STEM candidates at least twice a week). My colleagues keyboard during interviews, but that's weird and rude. I can't record audio because that's weirder and ruder (and illegal without consent, which puts off the candidate in any event, spoiling the interview). That leaves pen and paper, and longhand is 10x too slow.

      But my fun use of Gregg is far more important!

      1. I hadn't thought of hiring. I used to program as a hobby, and hiring someone isn't fun for me. Define project clearly, check their ability, hire, test, feedback, pay. I keep promising myself I'll start programming again, but I've forgotten so much that I can't read the bit I already wrote, which makes me think I'm losing the ability to do it, even though it would probably come back pretty fast if I did the work. Looking for someone else is mostly giving someone else permission to do it.

        I don't have a pen tablet, so do all my shorthand on paper. Maybe my next tablet. The prices aren't coming down. The manufacturers probably think they're a luxury.

        Keep going with 1001 nights. It's in my reading list, very long reading list, surrounded with things that don't take as much work to read. Maybe practice reading shorthand would help me read it faster?


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