Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 3 Progress

Week 3 progress

Getting more and more used to 350.  Fingers are getting faster, and I expect accuracy will improve as I sit at 350 for a bit.  I'll bump it up to 375 maybe the end of June.

I didn't practice Thursday, though, as I had an all-day depo -- first depo since January, in fact -- and it was in a quiet room.  Which is normally good, but the witness and her counsel were soft talkers, and I felt like I had to lipread the entire time.  Yes, I asked them to speak up.  Many times.  And that day the knot in my neck that my chiropractor JUST got out returned with a vengeance.

And I'm registered for the speed and realtime contests at the NCRA annual convention this year, and if you haven't registered for the contest or convention yet, you can do so at this link.   I think the early bird discount may still apply, so use the discount code EBCV12 at the checkout.

Illinoisans and nearby people and people who would love to attend:  September 7-9 is the Illinois Court Reporters Association annual convention, this time in Springfield, Illinois, and we have none other than the lovely and talented Mark Kislingbury teaching at it!  There's also speed and realtime contests, so save the date!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 2 Progress

350 testimony is understandable, and I'm starting to get it in short bursts.  I'm considering upping the speed again, but I'm going to stay here for a few more weeks.

I'm maintaining my practice schedule of at least ten minutes during the day, ten minutes before supper, and ten minutes before bedtime.  If I don't have a class or depo, I get another ten minutes' lap done during the day.  That's only 30-40 minutes of daily practice (not counting the 15 minutes or so of daily briefs practice and review), but it feels right, and it's challenging while not overwhelming.

Here's a link on Lifehacker to check out.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Week 1 Progress

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark." Michelangelo

Brief/phrase progress so far: I've been working my way through the Magnum Steno book, shoveling briefs and phrases into my AnkiDroid flashcard app, and reviewing them daily.  On the job, the phrase enders "these," "those," and "them" are finally starting to come out of my fingers.  (e.g. "for these" = TPORPG, "could those" = KAOFBL)  Saved me a TON of strokes on my last job, an all-day class with a very speedy instructor.  I used a LOT of two-word phrases, which helped me keep up nicely.  And about halfway through the day I realized her voice sounded just like Betty White, and then that's all I could hear.

Speed progress -- actually has been pleasantly surprising.  I've been speeding up the takes to approximately 300 on literary and 350 on testimony, and I'm getting more used to the SOUND of such speedy language.  In fact, there's been a few times where I wondered if I'd forgotten to speed up the dictation, and I did in fact do so.

I'm not GETTING the 300/350 by any means.   HOWEVER, the last part of the daily Magnum Steno video usually includes a 200-word slowdown, where Mark K dictates 200 words a bit slower, times it, and gives you the EXACT speed of the slowdown.  One such testimony slowdown I took did not suck.  Were it an actual test, I didn't "pass" it, but I would have at least turned it in for grading.

I had already sped up the slowdown.  Did the math.  Therefore, the slowdown was 340 wpm.

Holy crap.

It's surprising how much has happened in a single week of ramping up the speed.  Remember, I'm NOT a serial speed contest winner.  I'm NOT amazingly gifted.  I'm a regular Jo Steno foot soldier, and if I can make progress this quickly by just practicing high speeds in bursts of at least three 10-minute sessions a day,* YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE :o)

Will I probably plateau soon?  Maybe. Probably. We'll see.  If I do, I do.  If I don't, COOL!

*I did not practice Saturday because we had a graduation to go to in the early morning and a wedding reception in the evening with a 3.5 hour drive in between.  I also didn't practice this last Friday because I wrote all day, plus we discovered a pipe broken in our plumbing and $2K+ to fix it and AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Impossible Goal

The current world record for stenographic court reporting is 360 words per minute of question-and-answer material.

Mark Kislingbury's going to attempt to break his own record within the next year or so.

I've stepped forward to try to break it as well.

Right now I've passed a 270 Q&A at the State contest level, and I've passed the Literary and Legal Opinion portions of the National contest.  I am nowhere NEAR the speed I'd need to be at.  It is utterly absurd to think that I could gain the speed needed in less than a year and a half.  Ridiculous.  The next morning after I put my name in for it, I woke up thinking "OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE????"

But I want to see if it's possible.  I want to see how far I can get.   And if I can gain an insane amount of speed in that short time, others can as well.  Trust me.

Plus I plain need a shot in the arm or a kick in the pants or both.

My regimen so far is at LEAST three times through a Magnum Steno video per day, once in the morning, once before dinner, and once before bed, with hopefully a few more goes throughout normal working hours -- at 300 wpm literary and 350 Q&A.  After the speed contest this year, I'll speed them up past 400.

I'm also shortening the dickens out of my already-short writing.  I'm going through my Magnum Steno book and shoveling entries into my Anki Droid flash card app -- a neat app, mind you -- so I can easily review briefs/phrases every day.  It's amazing how that's worked to get the briefs/phrases into my head so they eventually come out my fingers.  My experience is, the less strokes I take to write something, the less tired I am and the more accurate I write.  Plus it's more fun to do my job when my fingers aren't on fire.

I'm going to blog through my progress as we journey, so stay tuned!

And think on this -- if I can make it happen, so can you.