I’ve switched shorthand methods again. For those not following, last summer I had committed to the most difficult edition of Gregg Shorthand, namely Anniversary. It’s also the one with the highest speed potential, if you use the advanced tricks and really work at it.
(And I bet you didn’t know there were different types of shorthand, let alone editions within each type! Trust me, there are, and I’ve tried most of them. Each has pros and cons, so it depends on what you want to use it for. Gregg has the best online group, it’s the first I tried as a teenager, and I like the way it looks.)
I was about half done Anni, depending on how you counted, enough to know it’s too frustrating for me. It assumes from day one that you want to reach court reporter speeds, where the person talks at his normal speed and you have to keep up, so it has all sorts of time-saving tricks. A lot of information is left out, so you need to rely on context. Some things are subtle, at least unless you’ve learned earlier chapters very, very well. Also, many of the brief forms are words that haven’t been used in over a century, but they don’t have them for words that are common. (Eventually, when more confident, I would have exchanged the meanings, but all the practice material uses the standard forms.)
I’m not comfortable leaving information out, or relying on subtle things. Yes, I’ve read material that does this. You get used to reading sentences twice and filling things in, like listening to a toddler or someone with a strong accent. But I want comfort.
I finally switched to Simplified (which isn’t all that simple compared to even later versions). It starts with a slightly more modest goal, so there are fewer “tricks” in the core theory. Yes, pure Simplified maxes out about 50 wpm slower than pure Anni, but I’m not interested in those speeds. I’ll be very happy with a reliable 100wpm. (That’s enough to be a journalist in the UK. Court reporters need 225 wpm. Championship speed is 250 to 280, depending on the system and contest. There was a lot of competition between systems, and some sponsored their own contests. One claimed their writer could maintain 500wpm for several hours, which is faster than an auctioneer talks.)
The alphabet is the same for all editions of Gregg. The main differences are the order of presentation and the tricks, although the first few lessons are similar. If you can read the hardest, you can read all of them. It’s fairly easy to upgrade as well. Most high speed writers use a combination of systems, and their own tricks as well.
I’m 1/6 done writing out the new theory chapters already. I was planning on doing dictation for every chapter, but that adds half an hour or more, times 70 chapters is 35 more hours. On the other hand, if I were taking it in high school, they’d expect 100 hours in class and another 100 at home, and at the end of those 200 hours you take new material at 85wpm. We’ll see how it goes.
Don’t tell the Gregg group, though, at least not until I’m at least as far in the new one as I was in the old one.