Monday, 16 April 2012

Singing the praises of touch-typing

When I was eighteen, and dragging my heels about going to University, I ended up with glandular fever (courtesy of a boy who broke my heart).  I had a year at home with my Mum and Dad, being ill and recovering, and living on waitress wages and benefits.

During that strange, fallow time, Mum told me I was going to go to night school.  Paralysed, at the time, by socialising, I resisted as long as I could, but she was determined and persuasive. So off I went to touch-typing classes, and Mum dug out some leviathon of a type-writer from the dusty back of her wardrobe. It had perfectly circular and quite delicious keys, a decisive return action and reassuringly loud clacks when used. I practised and practised on Mum's dinosaur ('the quick brown fox...') as well as on the smug electric models at class.  I was brave enough to talk to a couple of the other students, and gained confidence that helped propel me towards University. But most importantly, I came away able to touch-type.

 This class isn't offered by our adult education department anymore.  But I feel grateful to my Mum every time I watch someone else tapping away with two fingers, or when I'm typing up teaching plans at top speed. But most of all I appreciate it when I'm writing, and my fingers fly nearly as fast as my thoughts.  The letters appear onscreen with accuracy that still amazes me, requiring no conscious thought now; and, even more astoundingly, my fingers correct typos and stumbles before my brain fully registers they have been made. I think this is a skill I appreicate having gained more than any other in my life (barring the obvious early skills such as reading and making friends); perhaps even more than driving. Why don't we teach every child to type in this digital age?

It's never too late.  I'd highly recommend learning to every aspiring writer out there, even if you write with pen and paper first.

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