Taking a cue from modern athletics coaching, the following speed-building guide breaks down the various aspects of writing shorthand successfully and focuses on each aspect for a given week.
It goes like this:
week one: Posture and preparation (although this is written to aid children, the guidance on posture is as true for shorthand writers as anybody else)
week two: Penmanship (how to hold a pen)
week three: What to do with the left hand while you take notes (if you’re right handed, of course)
week four: Concentrate this week on proper form, rather than speed.
week five: Reducing white space between outlines.
week six: Shrinking outlines or making them tidier.
week seven: Review the theory learned so far.
week eight: Attempt dictations 20wpm faster than your perceived maximum.
week nine: Learn and use more abbreviated outlines where they are available and put them to use wherever possible.
week ten: Write (wherever possible) nothing but shorthand – telephone calls, diary notes etc. Make it become part of your life.
week eleven: Go back to proper form over speed once again, ensuring all outlines are perfectly formed, gap space minimised without compromising separation between outlines.
week twelve: Attempt dictations 20wpm faster than your perceived maximum.
And it could run as a rolling programme. So there you have it, my athletics-inspired speed improvement programme.
Feel free to use, ignore, praise or condemn. All comments welcome!