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Pen Stroke, Key Stroke

This year, after being separated from my computer for a ridiculous amount of time; I decided to go back to writing, in the pursuit of happiness. This year I decided to master keyboard composition. This has given me mixed results so far.

For many years, I wrote long hand on paper first, then edited, and then copied it by hand. When I was older, I processed it on a typewriter.

I remember watching movies with news reporters as characters in them. I watched amazed that they composed as they typed. The perceived speed, in which their fingers flew across the keyboard, amazed me further.

When I was first learning to type, my speed jumped from 10 words per minute to 35. I assumed that with more use and practise that this speed would naturally climb. I was wrong.

Years later, when I entered college, as a mature student, I had an electric typewriter. For most of our assignments, I continued to produce them in my usual way, unless I was fortunate enough to beat the line up in the computer room.

As the editor for most of my team writing assignments, it was sometimes necessary to rewrite portions of a report. Occasionally, I had the opportunity to compose a portion when the deadline was approaching and I had to fill in something that was missing.

In the years since college, I have returned to secretarial work. Even with all the business correspondence I have written over the years, my keystroke speed has not increased, nor has it offered much opportunity to compose. Word processing is a function that was relegated to perfecting work, after it was created, not part of the creation processes itself.

I did notice that email has been helpful in learning keyboard composition. Maybe thatís because of the source of the relationships; family and friends are usually easier to talk to. Sometimes, in order to maintain these relationships, the writing requires a great deal of editing. Instant messaging is still a challenge for me. I try not to use all the short cuts available.

One method Iím experimenting with is auto writing, this is interesting but it is difficult to do when others are present. I have resorted to closing my eyes, in order to focus. Iíve noticed that typos have increased.

I havenít given up writing longhand of course. I still use journals, or napkins; whatever usable writing surface is handy when Iím away from my computer. I guess in the pursuit of happiness, I shouldnít be debating whether itís pen stroke or keystroke I should just be pleased that I am writing again; and I am.


Submitted by:

Robyn Lee

Robyn Lee has been an office administrator for twenty years.


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