Keep in touch


22 mai 2010, 17h11m

I've been typing since I was about 5 (well over 30 years) and in all that time I never bothered to learn to type properly. Like many people I was a "hunt and peck" typist and the technique has served be well. My reason for not bothering to learn the correct, touch type way -- or rather my excuse, because the truth is it was really just down to laziness -- is that as software engineer it really doesn't matter if I can't touch type.

Well, a few weeks ago I decided enough was enough... everyone around me can touch type and I was starting to feel a little bit like a leaper. Where I work all communication is via IRC and my inability to touch type was starting to be a bit of a disability. You see, as a hunt and peck typist you can generally only type too ways, slow but accurate or fast but in accurate. The problem being that you don't see what's been typed until you look up from the keyboard. Then you see the errors you've made and either correct them or choose to live with them. This causes lots of frustrating conversations with my co-workers on IRC. Like I said, most of them can already type properly so I am the problem!

So Anyway, I did it... I made up my mind and from that moment on decided I would no longer look at the keyboard. Hell, I've been typing for 30+ years so how hard can it be? Well, as it turned out it was bloody hard. Firstly, it turned out that looking at the keyboard when I type had almost become an involuntary action. I just couldn't stop myself. Gah! Ok, so after about a day of forcing myself not to look at the keyboard I was finally able to type and keep my focus on the screen. When I say type what I really mean is make a mess of random letters on the screen. How can it be I have been typing for so long and I still have no idea where any of the keys are?

So, I did plenty of Google searching and found plenty of online touch typing courses (free of course, I'm far too tight to spend money) and started learning to type all over again. Oh boy this was so frustrating. On a good day my hunt and peck style could see me bang out about 40 Words Per Minute (WPM) and yet with my new touch typing skills I could barely manage 8 WPM! There is one word that sums up what I was feeling... FRUSTRATED!!!

Anyway, I've stuck with it and I am now up to about 24 WPM. I'm still pretty slow and I still make plenty of mistake; however, I see them now as soon as they happen so I can correct them immediately. This means I can keep a train of thought going without having to pause to correct my error. It's still frustrating, especially as I spend most of my time using a laptop and I've gotten pretty good on that but when I revert to a full size keyboard I regress a little. I am still unable to type numbers properly without looking but I am slowly improving there too. My worse letters are z and p as they are tricky little beggers and some of the lesser used punctuation still throws me.

All in all I am happy that I decided to take the plunge into the world of touch typing... I would never go back to my hunt and peck method. Although it's still frustrating that I make plenty of mistakes I am confident (and have been reassured) that over time these will become less and less and in about 12 months I'll be able to bang out these pointless blog posts by the dozen with no effort what-so-ever.

If you don't touch type -- you really should think about giving it a go. Yes it's hard but it's quite fun and definitely worth while.


  • rwitte

    I too am a 'hunt and peck typist and have been for 30 years. However, I recently discovered that my typing is almost as fast in the dark. So I must know where the keys are even if I can't tell you.

    2 nov. 2010, 8h02m
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