View Full Version : Speedwriting

06-02-2008, 05:33 AM
Hey, guys. This question is for the longhand writers among us. I know a lot of you like to write first drafts longhand, but I was wondering if any of you use any kind of speedwriting or shorthand?

I read that the average person handwrites about 30 words per minute. Stenographers average between 100 and 250 (!) words per minute. Has anyone tried this? When I was in college, one of my classes was Speedwriting (sort of a journalist's version of shorthand), but I let that slide long ago.

One of the reasons I don't handwrite more is that I can't keep up with my thoughts. Even typing has a tough time with that. (I type around 60 wpm when I'm not pushing it.) I certainly don't see achieving over 200 wpm (nor would I want to read whatever that would produce!), but I think it would be useful to handwrite around 100 wpm.


Use Her Name
06-02-2008, 06:48 AM
I learned to take college notes in a kind of speed writing. mainly spell using no vowels. I do that a lot when writing long hand on paper.

sample would be:
lrnd 2 tk clg nts n knd f spd wtg. mnly spl usg n vls. do tht alt wn wtg lng hnd n ppr.
you can actually keep up with the lecturer with this sort of writing. "No" would be the euro no an O with a / through it.

06-02-2008, 05:00 PM
I'm trained in Gregg Shorthand, but I never use it for fiction writing. I find a slower, more deliberate pace more useful for composition. I will abbreviate certain words, though. Like "though" (tho).

06-02-2008, 05:29 PM
I'm trained in Gregg Shorthand, but I never use it for fiction writing. I find a slower, more deliberate pace more useful for composition. I will abbreviate certain words, though. Like "though" (tho).

I think you may have something there, Phaeal. I went through my old Speedwriting textbook last night (yes, I'm a packrat!) and while I could read the scratchings after a few minutes, it was a very stuccato experience. This interruption to the "flow" of prose I think would have more of an impact than just a lack of speed would.

There's also something to the argument that when handwriting and a sentence starts off as one thing in your head but ends up as something else once you've finished writing it is an important part of the writing process. Sort of on-the-fly rewriting.

I do use various abbreviations (ampersand for "and", etc.). Maybe that's enough.

06-02-2008, 06:12 PM
I write longhand and do plenty of interviews where I have to take notes, but alas, I've never learned shorthand. I have, however, over the years developed my own shorthand longhand. I use abbreviation, symbols, dialect words, skip the small words etc. I use this mostly when taking notes while interviewing. When I write fiction, just using capital letters rather than full name for the MC's seems to be enough most of the time. If I'm on a roll, where everything flows easily, I might use more abbrevations too to keep up with my thoughts.

06-02-2008, 11:25 PM
I guess I'm a slow thinker because I can easily keep up with my thoughts while handwriting.

I wrote the first draft of my novel on my laptop and felt that I wrote a lot of rubbish because I wrote anything that came into my head. So I dumped it (the draft, not the laptop) and wrote the second draft longhand, mostly on my bus commute to work and on my lunch break at my desk. Typing it up is annoying (still in the process of doing this) but I love writing longhand. Maybe that has something to do with having a bit of a stationery fetish... ;)

06-02-2008, 11:56 PM
I kind of do the same. I usually go to a coffee shop and write longhand then go home and type it up. For some reason I can't seem to write as well at home. I have to be outside somewhere. Is anyone else like that or am I just weird? :P

06-03-2008, 12:12 AM
I write my first draft in longhand and have developed my own form of 'speedwriting' that only I can decipher. I usually type it up after I've written four or five pages, though, because if I wait too long even I can't figure out what I wrote.:)