Plunking away and doing lots of research

I’ve been plunking away at Chapter 10 all morning, mostly just reviewing and drilling the briefs I’m having trouble with, so I should be on to Chapter 11 by this evening.  It’s not too much trouble so far.  I really like having the Sidewinder to be able to get my feet wet and the opportunity it’s given me to get started here, but I do think that it would be good for me to get a stenograph writer and have been checking out my options.

I’m not looking at student writers…I just don’t see the point in spending money on that, then going back and again spending money on a writer I can actually work with. There are some good options on ebay and I’ve seen some on Craigslist as well… It won’t be the newest and snazziest, but from what I’ve read by Jade on her blog, that’s not necessary.

Speaking of blogs…  I’ve been looking around so much, and it is so hard to find blogs of students and even harder to find any of self learners.  It just would be nice to be able to read back on some experiences of other students. I have found some of students once they are well into speed building so at least once I reach that point there is something.

Otherwise, I’ve just been reading a lot of forums.  I really would like to actually participate and not just lurk all the time, but I just don’t have anything to contribute at this point…  Any questions I have have been asked a million times before and easy to find with a search.  All the same, its great that there is so much information out there, which makes it a lot easier to know what I’m up for. Sort of sad that Depoman has been down since yesterday. I wonder what is going on and if it will be back!

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Week 2, Day 4: Lesson 9

I just finished Chapter 9!!  Chapter 8 kicked my butt up and down the block, but Ch 9 was a real load off.  I missed one day of practice on yesterday but I really needed the break.  Otherwise, I’ve been practicing for 3-4 hours a day and really focusing to get through theory.

I’m also constantly doing my research on what I need to do to reach my goals here.  Ultimately I would like to do CART or maybe even broadcast captioning, but I know it will take a lot of practice and some years to get my speeds to that level.  So I’m considering once I get my speeds up enough to where testing for my RPR is on the horizon, I will try to get a mentor in court reporting and start there.  At least that way I’ll be able to get into the industry, especially since the job I have now may not even exists in a few years.

In a way, I am really torn anyway… because I do love the legal system and fascinated by the process, it is entirely possible that I will end up enjoying that line of work and deciding to continue doing that.  At the same time, I love the aspect of providing a service to the deaf and hard of hearing with CART  and broadcast captioning, plus I feel theres a lot of flexibility and growth in that aspect of the business.  I’m so early in this that I have time to decide so I’m not stressing.  It anyway will not hurt me to start with court reporting and gain knowledge in legal / medical terminology..which will be good to know no matter which way I go. So I may as well!

Struggling to stay motivated

Oh I’m still doing my lessons… working on Chapter 8 for what feels like a week now, though it’s only been two days.  It’s getting tougher, with more briefs to memorize at once.  So I just keep going over and over and over and over them.

A part of me is really beginning to doubt the effectiveness of having all these briefs to memorize rather than learning how to write phonetically.  I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning.  Wait… did I even have breakfast this morning?!!!!

Wk 1, Day 6: Lesson 8

Okay, I know… Technically, had I not stopped a year ago, I would be at day 6 now, so that is what I’m going off of to continue tracking my progress on this… actual time spent…not that big block of nothingness in-between. Okay, okay… let’s not get hung up on the details shall we?! 😉

I finished Lesson 7 yesterday, and it was not so bad at all. I also went through and practiced all the exercises from lessons 3-6 and did really well.  Lesson 8 is on vowel sounds, and I have the feeling that is going to be quite something to memorize them all.

Kiddo offered to make a nice printout of the steno keys / alphabet today so that I can put it up on my wall for reference while I’m learning. She’s such a sweetheart! 🙂

Finished Chapter 5!

Only one day back in, and through Chapter 5. Honestly though, it really is only because I actually remembered it from from last time, and this is just about a refresher.  Really am thrilled though about that… I really thought that I was going to have to start completely from scratch here.  Truly is amazing how much I’ve retained.

Anyway, next up is Lesson 6, which was where I left off, and also the first long chapter Id come across last time… so from here on out, I won’t be sliding through 5 chapters in a day.  I’m just thankful that I am more or less picking up where I left off.

I’m not going to concern myself with speed at all just yet…  I was trying to the first time around, with practicing each lesson several times over until I was able to do it fast (okay, 30wpm not exactly fast..but still!) Instead, this time I’m concentrating on learning my theory and being as accurate as possible.  Once I’m done learning my theory *then* I will go full throttle on gaining speed.

Fell Off… And Back Again

Last week, while looking for some books I came across my Stenomaster book, and realized it had been quite awhile since I last looked at it, more less studied my theory.  I think it came at the right time though, because I was hitting a bit of crossroads, and now have renewed interest and drive to continue on with this.

In this past year, I started back with a job that I had before, which I was excited about and delved into, but since then, have some doubts about my future with it. With my daughter starting college next year, having the stress over my financials have me taking things a bit more seriously.  Another thing is that I want to be able to do something of value.  Being able to provide CART services and know that what I do is making a difference in someones life is my ultimate goal.

Anyway, for the past week, I’ve been busy doing more research and in that happened to find this blog… It dawned on me that this was *my* blog!!!  It had really been that long.  I do not want to be among the many blogs I found that started off strong and then fizzled to nothing. Instead, I would like to join the ranks of those who made it and succeeded in their goals.

I started back today with Lesson 1, and it is amazing to me how much I retained.  If only I had never stopped, I would be done with learning theory and working on my speed by now.  Who knows where I would be right now…much further along than I am now, that is for sure! I do not want to make this mistake again, so I am back on the saddle and plan to stay on track.

Wk 1, Day 4: Lesson 6

I actually just started Lesson 6 today, and have been on Lesson 5 since my last update.  Lesson 6 is the longest one so far, and so I felt all intimidated to even get started…but I did it!   Im still practicing every day, aiming for 4hrs at least still, but I had a project over the past few days and so I didn’t get the chance to focus as much as I would have liked to.  But I still did some practice every day, even if it was just to do finger drills.

Finger Drills are awesome btw!  To go from struggling with the first two sets for like an hour, to now being able to do all the sets for both my right and left hand in about 15m is sort of a huge morale boost! Also, its helping me learn where all the letters are, so its a bit easier to remember where a letter is in relation to the other letters as I go about my lessons.

I feel like Im doing good, but at the same time, I worry.  Like, I have so far to go here.. I had this thought yesterday as I was doing my practice sentences “Sal is sad.”, “Walt is with Spot” and I had a moment of panic attack like, what if when I’m all done with this book, all I can write are these practice sentences?! And then another thought hit me… I’ve never met a Walt in my life!!  When will I ever need that? Pushing those thoughts aside and moving forward!!

Day 3: More Practice…

I didn’t really get to practice all that much today… I did about an hour and then had to get ready to head to my meeting which lasted a couple of hours…then got home and did another hour before I was on the phone / dinner, got in about another half hour and now heading back out again.  So yeah, only 2.5hrs of practice today.

Still though, I think I did well for the time I had.  I downloaded Drill Machine, and then redid the practice sentences from Lessons 3 and 4, and then saved them as files to use for drills.  That actually helps *a lot* because now I dont have to keep looking down at the book.  Also, since the book isnt right in front of me, it forces me to remember what keys Im supposed to use. I still had to check the book sometimes, but by the time I finished this last half hour of practice, I feel way more confident than I did last night and ready to move onto Lesson 5.

Another nice thing about Drill Machine, you set the speed you want, and it highlights the words at that speed.  Right now Im writing at a tad over 20wpm. Whooooo! LMFAO oh dear.

Day 2: Lesson 4

So today I went back over the practice exercises for lessons 2 and 3, and then delved into Lesson 4.  It keeps getting trickier, but Im hanging on.. Today I practiced writing for 5 hours, but I still need to go over the exercises in L4 some more before Im comfortable enough to move on.

Today I got an email both from Plover about the keys, and the seller on ebay about my Sidewinder that they were shipped today *YaY!* Can’t wait…the further I go, the more briefs Im finding that I cant write on my standard keyboard. I really hope they arrive soon!!!

I posted on FB and also on Depoman about how things are going, and really encouraged by the support Im getting.  I almost feel like Im preparing to scale a mountain here! But Im very excited and motivated. Anyway, enough practice for today…I need to prepare for a meeting tomorrow and pull together some design ideas before I go to bed.

Day 1: Lessons 1-3

My StenoMaster book arrived today *YaY* and even though I’m still waiting on my Keyboard and steno keys, I dived right in using the keyboard I already have.  There are only two combinations (at this point) I can not do, but hoping I get everything else I need in good time.

I first flipped through the book a bit to familiarize myself with it, then installed Plover to get started. Lesson 1 was some basics about the StenoMaster theory, hand placement and the alphabet. Lesson 2 was about homophones and how those are handled, and Lesson 3 was where I got to dig in to actually doing some typing.

I was thinking it would start out with letter drills kind of like how it was when I learned how to type, but no, it starts out with word drills which I kind of actually like. Im building my own dictionary from scratch here, so I put all the briefs in my dictionary. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of my keyboard, I cannot do one word and one phrase, but thats okay, for now anyway.

I warmed up with the practice words and breifs, and once I felt comfortable with that, lured kiddo into reading out the exercises for me to type to.  She was mumbling and watching TV the whole time and I had to keep asking her to repeat stuff, so once we were done, I thanked her for her help and recorded myself saying the phrases to practice to. I then also added StenoMaster as a project to my Toggl account to keep track of how long Im studying so that I can make sure Im spending enough time practicing each day.

I ended up logging about an hour and a half doing the practice exercises over and over until I was able to go through all of them without messing up and then called it a day. I took a quick glace at the exercises in Lesson 20 and my brain started melting lol but I am looking forward to the day I get to that lesson and Im all, “I’ve got this!”