I have given this lecture quite a few times already. Many times before I had written Keys, my application which aims to teach you typing. But it’s so important, so bear with me. I mean I even wrote this whole typing application to help people achieve better typing. Some background on your author: I learned typing when I was 36, and I can manage!
Most people I deal with fall into one of two categories: they (a) know to type already. Fine. But then there is (b), those who don’t type with ten fingers, but are “really fast and it is almost without looking”. No really! Quite fast. I hear you. You still need to learn to type.
There is something that makes people ignore the fact that they can’t type and that also at the same time makes them believe that it was OK. It probably has to do to with an innate instict to forgive oneself, and that is probably great and a blessing. It probably servers mankind very well in many undertakings, and in survival in general. But here you need to realize that you should do something about your skills needed for everyday work.
There is a difference between typing quite fast and touch typing, and it’s hard to overestimate it. How do I know? I was in that group in denial myself, until only four years ago.
This is the thing: it is not a small gradual difference between proper typing and “really fast typing with many, but not all fingers” and then constantly backspacing to where you made that mistake, so that in the end you write everything twice. Here is the structure of what happens while writing:
Ideas are very shy creatures. Once you have an idea or an inspiration you need to act really quickly and grab some of it, or it will be lost forever. Maybe it is not lost forever, because you might remember it the next day. But it comes only to a weaker, fainter live the next day when you remember it. It will only be a memory of an idea. So you need to grab it right away. And “grabbing” here means “writing” in the majority of cases, maybe sometimes sketching or speaking to someone, but in most cases it is writing.
Then you start writing and the idea already starts to fade. When you are young and stupid and totally consumed by your own ideas, you sometimes think it is the best to first dwell on the idea a while. Have a coffee! Or maybe, smoke a cigarette! Such a divine idea! The result is, in most cases, that you let the idea dwindle and die down. It loses its energy and life. It is not that you immediately forget about it. It is rather that you don’t think it is a good idea any longer. But that assessment of your ideas is not accurate either, it is rather that the feeling of novelty has worn off. Conclusion: speed is important. Act fast on your idea, but conserve energy. Famous writers and scientistics are known to have stopped somewhere in the supermarket or on a busy crossroads, and started to take notes. And that for this same reason.
So the problem with ideas and any kind of inspiration is that it is so fleeting. Even writing a sentence wrong the first time makes you wonder wether the other sentences you had in your head, and which you wanted to put down afterwards, are actually any good. And what were they exactly, anyway…? It is vital to write them down before you stop believing in or feeling them. A few moments later already, doubts will arise. You don’t see the immediate greatness of your idea any longer, but rather all the negatives. Is it even worth it? Ah, probably not…
Of course when that happens, you don’t know wether the ideas was any good, or if the doubts were justified. Or which mixture of both was true, because maybe, just maybe it wasn’t a black and white case either. You can’t know when the idea arrives, because the moment of inspiration clouds the judgement. And then you have doubts, in a kind of “technical reaction” or backlash which is as deceptive. But the only way to find out is to put it down in some shape or form, and look at it later. It can take the form of a small sketch, or a note in a notebook, but in many cases it is probably a small text (e.g. in a note-taking application like Notational Velocity).
And then you need to type. Fast.
One day, or two days after you have written down your thoughts you can come back to them. It can be really easy then to throw them away, because you can clearly see what the realy problems are. But sometimes you look again and can see that something there is about right. You start to revise and edit. And possibly add more. And maybe make a plan. But the start is there.
If you had not put down the ideas the first time, you would not get out the share of good ones. You would not have any material to start from, and to destill. Maybe you put down some frivolous idea and it turns out to be the start of a novel, or some overdue personal letter to someone significant.
The better you know to type, the less resistance you will feel towards writing. There is less pain associated with writing down more often and having more false positives, because there will also be more gems. You can start to be more picky.
A similar boost is at work for comments in online forums, or blog posts, refactorings of code, starting short stories, starting your movie script, or the novel you have in your had since years. (And maybe even tweeting becomes less of a hurdle, even though I would argue that the 140 character limitation is another ways to deal with the resistance towards starting to write: you just know it is over quite soon, too.)
So the conclusion is this: of that what you write, probably a majority is bad. You need a lot to select and filter from, and the faster you write, the more of your ideas you can review and the more possibly make the cut. The more you can write before your ideas get tired, the more you can collect your thoughts and put them to good use later. And I think the world needs your ideas, so learn to type. So grab some typing trainer software and get this project started.