I am such a keeno. No, seriously, listen, you’re going to hate me. In preparation for my MA in Newspaper Journalism next year, I’ve become that annoying person no one likes in class for being super prepared.
I’ve bought some books to reading for next year (and actually started reading them too). I’ve started applying for my work placements for the holidays (alright, I haven’t ACTUALLY got anything booked in yet, but that’s besides the point), and I’ve started shorthand!
Seriously, someone shoot me now. I can’t stand the sound of my own type right now. I apologise.
Regardless, I’m actually finding it really enjoyable (so far!) and here are my tips for those other beginners here just starting out, or who will be soon.
I actually bought my shorthand book last summer, and started a bit. I got really into it for a week or two, then got back to uni and it all went downhill…
Then when I got back to it, I remembered little bits, but forgot a lot of other things. Annoying. The most important thing I’ve found this time around, is that doing it little and often is a far better than doing big chunks.
Refreshing your memory is important, it really is like learning a language in that respect, that the more you practise it, the more natural it becomes to you.
I’m trying to do at least half an hour each day, making sure I include some new information, and one translation exercise, because it’s just enough to keep me concentrating, without wanting to go and make another cup of tea. This is enough to keep it fresh in your mind, and re-emphasising the stuff you’ve already learnt.
There are quite a lot of ways of writing similar word patterns and shapes, and they are all slightly different. I’m learning teeline, which most people do these days, but there’s also the older pitman style.
The important thing is, that you can read it, and understand it, and although you do need to pass the examinations to get your qualification, whatever you can do to make that process a bit easier, and to get your head around, go for.
From dictation, to reading shorthand and translating it, to drilling special outlines and difficult shapes, practise a variety of them.
Go back over the stuff you’ve done before, just to drill the outline into your head, and make it interesting by doing a bit of something different every day.
Hopefully when I get a bit faster, I can make things a bit more interesting by practising my dictation on episodes of Friends and How I Met Your Mother, to liven things up a bit…
Like everything worth learning in life, shorthand is obviously just going to take some time, effort, hard work, and the promise of some ice cream at the end. Soon, I’ll be able to write in a language of squiggles hardly anyone else can understand. That’s pretty cool.
(By the way, for anyone interested, I’m using this book to help get me going, it’s NCTJ book, and was recommended by my course tutor – I have the old green-covered edition, but I presume there won’t be too much difference. It’s available from Amazon, WH Smith, Waterstones, etc.)
Hacks who already know shorthand, what are your secret tips for achieving your 100wpm? Let us know @wannabehacks.