Writing tools

When setting yourself up as a writer there are many things you convince yourself that you need to be properly prepared to write. Some are actual needs, like a computer, some are more nice-to-have needs, like a room of one’s own. But there is one thing that I think many writers overlook; the ability to touch type.

I learned to touch type using a free tutorial that came with my computer back in 1995. It felt like a long, slow process, but after forcing myself to do it several times a week for about ten weeks I one day sat down at the computer and something just clicked. Suddenly my fingers knew where the keys were even when I didn’t. If I looked at the keyboard I got lost, but if I looked at the screen, or even out the window, the words came out just as I had thought them.

This has been invaluable for my creative process. When I hand-write my ideas my hand can never keep up, and I have been known to forget what the end of the sentence was going to be by the time my pen got there. But sit me at the computer and my fingers lag only marginally behind the sentence that forms in my head.

If you are serious about your writing I cannot highly enough encourage you to learn how to type without looking at the keys. I know a lot of you are probably pretty fast and think you are too old to learn new tricks, but the benefits far outweigh the effort in my experience, and even when you have long breaks away from the keyboard you never seem to forget how to type, you might just slow down.

Just as an aside, it has also been ridiculously useful at work, but that was entirely a by-product or my desire to write.

So use one of the many free online courses, sign up for adult education classes, or check out the software that came with your computer –whatever you think is going to work best for you. Touch typing is like any other skill you learn, it feels awkward when you start, but eventually you end up doing it without thinking.

Give it a try, your writing will thank you for it.

2 thoughts on “Writing tools”

  1. Makes you also wonder if people should start to use different keyboards. As you might know, the QWERTY keyboard was developed to slow people down, but in the old typewriter days since it caused them to jam. Not sure I have the patience to go for that extra bit of speed, but as you day, it feels awkward to start with!

  2. The other benefit is that since I learned to touch type it has helped me have the confidence to keep plugging away at other things that at first feel awkward, because I distinctly remember when I was learning to type thinking that I would never get the hang of it, but then suddenly it clicked and I could type, it was like magic.

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