Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week 7: Concentration

This week's featured Goal is about Spencer West, who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (put that in your dictionary) without having legs.  Please don't tell me you can't use the number bar. Read more here.  

This week's lesson is recapping one I touched on a while back, what finally helped me get the CRR:  concentration.  The entry is here.

Due to a Flash upgrade (I think) the speedy-up-slowy-down function of the Magnum Steno practice videos wasn't working for several days this week and last, so I went ahead and practiced to the slower speeds and practiced CONCENTRATION. The downside of normally practicing at insane speeds is that piddly 280 wpm sounds SLOW, so my brain starts going, "Meh. I can get this," and I lose concentration. The last dang thing I want to do is get to the Attempt and choke.

Concentration is a skill!  And just like steno or drawing or riding a bicycle, it gets better with practice.  Really.

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week 6 -- and SHORTER

vin diesel rock Pictures, Images and Photos
Because Vin Diesel AND the Rock.
If phrases are nitrous oxide tanks, I am Vin Diesel.  (Except I can act.)

I actually didn't practice Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday because I was CARTing all day.  We have to train, yes, but also make sure we don't get injured.  Don't worry; I had my speed practice.  The teacher kept up a rat-a-tat-tat cadence all day -- BUT she spoke in phrases.

"Give me some of those kinds of things."  All those words are written in THREE strokes total now. Give me/some of those/kinds of things.  See your Magnum Steno book for details how.

I wrote all day and I wasn't near as tired had I written everything out. My feed was clean.  My consumer was served well.

PHRASES.  BRIEFS.  During the job, keep track of any words you're writing in more than one stroke, and check to see if you can't brief 'em.  By the end of the three-day seminar, I had just about EVERY word down to one stroke.  THAT MAKES YOUR JOB EASIER.

Back to my Fast & Furious metaphor: When the going gets fast, the phrases start to pop up, and when you're behind you hit a few phrases and you CATCH UP very QUICKLY.  VRRRRROOOOOOMMM.  Granted, if WE'RE writing super fast, our CART consumer has to READ really fast, which can be a problem, depending on the individual and if there's enough lines on the screen to catch up when there's a pause in the discucssion.  For you Magnum Steno members, Mark reads a literary take about fast captions in the 6/12/12 video.

But, man, it feels good to write short and fast.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 5 -- Writing Shorter and Shorter

May I reiterate that WRITING SHORTER MAKES YOUR JOB EASIER.  I took a few depos this week, and one last week -- the first depos I've taken since January.  I've been full-time CART during the semester, and doing depos only during school breaks.  And when I did these depos, I could tell a VAST difference between January and June, since I've hardcore worked at shortening my writing in between.  When you write shorter, you write cleaner.  When you write cleaner, your rough drafts are cleaner.  When your rough drafts are cleaner, your editing goes quicker.  When your editing goes quicker, you get the job done quicker.  When you turn in a job quicker, the invoice gets submitted to the attorneys quicker, and HOPEFULLY they pay quicker, but, well, sometimes they don't :o)  Regardless, you can then take on more work without feeling as overwhelmed, or you'll have more time in the day to relax or play video games or drink or whatever it is you fancy.

Write shorter, folks.

Oh yeah -- what I've done this week.  Starting to keep up more on the 300ish Q&A.  Literary's increased a bit.  So progress is slight, but slight progress is progress.

(posting this on Sunday since I'm at an all-day job tomorrow)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 4 Progress

Week 4 progress

At the time I write this, it's Thursday night at a resort at the Lake of the Ozarks.   I'm providing CART for a conference. I can't say I've noticed much progress this week in PRACTICE...  but... I sure do notice it at work!

This is a combination of things.  Yes, I've been practicing literary at speeds at or above 300 words per minute, so that definitely made things seem slower than it would have, had I not been practicing this.  But in addition to that, I've been writing more and more words in fewer and fewer strokes.  Words that I used to write in two or three strokes I write in only one.  And I'm still learning more phrases.  If I can write two, three, or even four words in one stroke, I want that!

Plus I've been using DigitalCAT's briefs suggest window.  For my nonsteno friends, if you're writing something in two or more strokes, but your steno database has an entry for the same word that is one stroke, it'll tell you in a little window.  I don't use this for one-on-one CART, because I don't want the window to cover up any screen space nor do I want it distracting my consumer.

But I use it when I'm projecting CART, because I send the feed to a netbook, and hook the netbook to the projector.  That way I can add dictionary entries at the last minute, use the briefs suggest window, and I can adjust the projection display independent of my own viewing preferences.  (I don't normally use this two-notebook system with students, because I've found there's usually not enough time or space to set that up.)

So I have the ability to shorten my writing as I go, which is the key for me, I believe.  I've long suspected that my fingers have hit the ceiling when it comes to finger speed -- something I've discovered is wrong, as my fingers have gotten faster -- and therefore, shorter writing is how I'll attain more speed.  Shorter writing definitely was the order of the day here.

My flashcard app has over 3000 briefs and phrases, and it's paying off.  I'm adding more almost every day.  Well, almost every day.  Depending on when the depo is done.