29 Dec 2020
A while ago, before I took my hiatus from steno for a bit, I made a set of Anki flash cards for studying steno translations. The cards cover the top 10,000 most commonly used words. The cards are available here.
Some things that I learned from studying these cards:
It is really easy to bite off more than you can chew. I think this is probably true of Anki in general, but I was pretty excited about getting as many translations under my belt as I could, as quickly as I could, so perhaps it was especially true in this case. So, a word to the wise – pace yourself, go slow, and pick a modest number of words to study each day, even if it feels like a really low number.
There are so, so many words to study, holy cow. In fact, maybe too many words. So, my next piece of add advice would be, when it comes to learning objectives, mix it up; yes, it’s great to boost your vocab, but there are also other things. I guess that when I started studying the cards I thought “man, if I can just learn all of the words, then surely I can use steno full-time, for everything.” Welllllll.. that turned out not to be true. There is just so much to learning steno, that I think it’s unhelpful to tell yourself that once X happens, then you’ll be able to Y. I’ve found that with steno, it’s more helpful for me to let things happen on there own schedule. I try to make studying as fun as I can, enjoy milestones when they come up, but hold my expectations about progress loosely.
Okay, so, the first two points are about pitfalls. My next point is that while Anki study can be tricky, it is also so, so powerful. Oh, man. I think Anki really can help you to memorize just about anything. It’s really addictive, and the whole idea of Spaced Repetition Study is so effective that.. just wow.. Anyways, you just have to try it.
Hmmm, what else? I think that may be it for now, so, now that we’re here, I recommend you give the cards a shot! See if you like them. At the end of the day, I think they are just one more tool to add to your toolbox, one of many that can help you build proficiency for steno.
27 Dec 2020
I would really love to be able to write a blog post every week. But, at this point I just have too many other goals to commit to that. So, instead, I am offering this: hello world, it’s me… I just wanted to say hello 😄.
Truly, though. I have been plugging along with steno practice – and really enjoying it, too – but haven’t wanted to step away from that to write up a new blog entry, even though I’ve had several ideas.
There is one thing that I’ve been meaning to mention for a while now that may or may not be obvious about the site; everything you see here – and I really do mean everything – was written in steno. The only exception to that is the Jekyll boiler-plate that was used to start off the site. Other than that, I crank up Vim (actually, I’ve switched to emacs since I started the site, so that is what I fire up instead these days) and then steno the night away until I have an entry put together.
I think one other thing that I keep thinking but haven’t written yet is that I’ve really loved this whole process of doing steno practice and then coming over here to jot down a few thoughts even though there really isn’t a ton of material here yet. It’s already been just a really fun journey and I’m still totally in love with steno after putting in a ton of practice and still being a bit pokey with it.
Anyways… like I said, I just wanted to say hello… and that everything here is written in full steno glory… and that it’s been more fun than you’d believe… and that it’s a lot of fun to send this off into the void.
17 Dec 2020
Indeed, it’s been a whole ten months since I last wrote.. what happened!?
Well, life, I guess. Covid certainly has thrown everything, everywhere a pretty big curve ball and steno practice has been no exception.
I also think that the way that I was trying to learn steno was making things harder than they really needed to be; in hindsight, I think I was bringing an unrealistic expectation to each practice session: that somehow that session would unlock the secret to making a huge jump forward with steno. I think that was a pretty good recipe for burnout.
Recently, though, I’ve been trying a different approach – it’s called Beeminder.
With Beeminder, you set a goal – sometimes referred to as a commitment contract – that you are bound to, otherwise.. they charge your credit card. Serious business, right?
For me, this has felt amazing. First of all, it definitely means that I get pretty serious about my goals. But it also – and perhaps this is the more relevant part for steno – helps me to focus on taking things one day at a time.
Here’s a look at my Beeminder goal for steno:
Without going into too much detail about how everything works here, basically, I’ve pledged to practice steno for five minutes a day. If I fall too far behind I’ll cross over the red line and then have to pay Beeminder. That’s called derailing.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Beeminder site. They have tons of information on how the whole system works, and lots of thoughtful articles on their philosophy, too.