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Improve your typing skills

Being a professional blogger means in most of the cases: publish content, targeted at your audience, structured, and well written.

But the other part is: It has to be typed. And the more you want to publish, the more you have to type, and edit, and retype … If you where writing a book, you could give your handwritten manuscript to somebody else, but as a blogger, you are on your own.

If you don’t have good typing skills, blogging will be much more of an effort for you – and then you publish less. But other than being a good writer is at least part talent, being a speedy typer is purely training.

So let’s take a quick look at your typing skills:

  • How many fingers do you use when typing?
  • Do you need to look at the keyboard while typing, or do you ‘type blind’?
  • Compare the speed of your typing when using mail / chat language (everything lowercase, kind of sloppy, simpler words, type as you speak) or pro blog language (correct spelling, not natural flow of words but keyword oriented)
  • If you type blind, does this include special characters and keys like Delete, Backspace etc?
  • Do you know your frequent mistakes while typing and know how to get around them?
  • How many times a day do you change between mouse and keyboard? Do you need to take look each time you want to reposition your hands on the keyboard?

See any possible improvements there?

Thinking about these basics can have a valuable impact on your blogging business. If you have not done so, consider taking a course about using the 10 finger system. It will take you some time to learn, but it will be worth the time.

The money side of it:
No matter how fast you think you are with 2 fingers, you will always be faster with 8-10. It is not so much about hitting keys faster with one finger at a time, it is about muscle memory and your body knowing “this word, these keys, in this order = these fingers to be move now! “. With a 2-5 finger system it is about “move one finger from this key to another”

Less time used in typing down your blog entries means more blog entries in the same amount of time. And you will start to do more editing, because it is not so much of a hassle. Improving your typing skills also does speed up mails and IM conversations. Being able to position your hands on the keyboard without having to look at it, just start typing, etc, all adds up over the day.

If you can type blind, you also can look at your notes and type them down, instead of reading the notes, looking at the keyboard, refocus again on the notes, and so on.

The health side of it:
Typing with all fingers of your hand means less abrasion. Being able to focus on your screen instead of the need to look down on your keyboard has its benefits too.

Any tricks for faster, more secure typing you would like to share?

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Comments

  1. Ken says:

    hehe, interesting stuff. Took me a few years to get good at typing, thanks to my junior high typing class, however, another benefit of not looking down is the neck pain. I used to be a hunt and peck typer way back in the day and my neck would ache like there was no tommorow.

    Also, there is something about having constantly to look down that breaks your train of thought. I wholeheartedly agree that learning to type is going to be WELL WORTH time and possibly money spent learning.

  2. ante_up says:

    I took typing way back in high school, and I’m still terrible at it. I’ve found that the correct keyboard (I use MS ergonomic but there are plenty comparable ones out there) took some getting used to, but forces me to keep my fingers more correctly positioned. I still make tons of typo’s though.

    You don’t have to be a great typist. I think the most important thing for a blogger is to use a text editor and preview before posting to your blog. I often get lazy about this but it makes your writing look a lot more professional.

  3. Heat says:

    Interesting points…i do type with about 6 finger, sometimes even 3 or 2…but i time very fast, and usually i type “blindly”….it took me about 4 years to type “blindly”….i didn’t learn, it just came….you know ;)

    Heat

  4. Ken says:

    Agreed on that, but being able to type at a decent speed definitely helps get the posts out. In the least, knowing how to type has helped me write a ton of drafts for my site and I can go back and format it correctly.

    For some reason, I can’t stand the ergonomic keyboards, my typing speed plummeted by half when I used one, granted I probably would need to stick to it, but yes, I just take breaks and try not to go for too long typing.

  5. I type so poorly but so quickly with two finger blindly that I am afraid to change anything.

  6. Nicole Simon says:

    So one thing is for sure: Basic training should be required for young childreen as part of their education. ;)

    Ken: Thanks for the reminder with the neck, but I have to admit, only starring at the screen can give you neck pain also. :(

    ante_up: As for the previewing: Yes, these are additional habbits which make your blogging look more professional.

    Heat: then why shouldn’t those other fingers not also come in? :)

    Ken and ante_up: I hate those. Probably because I frequently use all of the keyboard and not only the ones for typing chars. I think, they work really great, if you only use the normal charset a-z. 0-9 including some special characters. Additionally, I do have a good way of holding my hands, this reduces problems also. You might want to go back to a normal keyboard. :)

    Chris, I will later post my story on my blog about how I learned typing for 4 times (initial, the good way, the upper way and now the english way), the hardest being to get used to upper / lower case and I can promise you: Start now. Train now. Don’t expect it to be perfect from one day to another – train those skills. It will be worth every effort. :)

  7. Heat says:

    Quote: “Heat: then why shouldn’t those other fingers not also come in? :)”

    Because then my typing will be faster then my thinking :P lol

    Heat

  8. Ken says:

    hahaha, you guys are too funny. Great insights.

    Yeah, I notice for myself, that if I use the ergonomic keyboard, then go to a regular keyboard, my typing goes wacky. Not good when I use so many different comps.

    And yes, neck pain is a pain, literally. Taking breaks is hard cos’ you get lost in the zone and before you know it, a few hours are gone.

    Typing is the one essential skill that no one ever really talks about or deems absolutely necessary to survive. I was so glad to see this post because it’s one of those skills that could help a blogger out.

    Nothing is more frustrating than having great ideas and not being able to get them down on the computer fast enough. Sure, paper and pen is great, but how many times have you lost those notes or find it hard to keep it organized.

  9. Rob Lewis says:

    Some interesting info – apart from typing, anyone got any pointers as to how to keep spelling mistakes out of posts? Do people tend to type up their posts in MS Word and get that to check before copying to their CMS, or do you have other methods (eg. spell checker plugins for WordPress) ?

  10. Nicole Simon says:

    Taking notes on paper is great – but why do you think I use a computer? First, paper has no backspace key, second I can’t grep paper and third: You never saw my handwriting. My aunt, very very conservative and insisting on handwriten letter so her has begged me to write mine on the computer ;) ;)

    Rob: Don’t take away my next post in here! ;) No seriously, I have the draft for it here to post it later, can it wait till then? :)

  11. Ken says:

    Rob: I do a quick read through to not only check for spelling errors but to make sure sentences, grammer and etc make sense. I think faster than I can type so I tend to skip words here and there thinking I already typed it out. Spell checkers are great, but that’s all they check, spelling. =P

    Ahhh, the backspace key, a great invention for typers round the world. I still remember using type writer correction tape. Oy vey, those were the days.

  12. Rob Lewis says:

    Nicole: Look forward to reading your next post! It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and haven’t seen it talked about anywhere, so I just thought I’d raise it.

  13. Nicole Simon says:

    *phew* ;) As I am more of a “toolish” girl, those things spark my interest very much and from what I can see, many of my posts this month here will be around those topics.

  14. Andy says:

    This is an ironic post, right? Sorry if that sounds rude, but if you are going to write a post about typing and accuracy, then you have to practice what you preach.

    I’m actually not so concerned with having everything completely correct. I also don’t agree that certain media dictate different writing styles. It is possible to use many different styles in email, blogging, print – the medium itself is not the issue, it’s the audience.

    There is nothing that says a ‘pro-blogger’ (i.e. one that does it for money) has to write in a particular way. Maybe for the niche of pro-blogging you have expertise in – but not all niches or styles.

  15. Nicole Simon says:

    Andy: no, the post is not ironic, why should it. And it is not about writing style, how to structure a post, but about to be aware of your tools. Saving time increases productivity, and often we forget about the little things.

  16. ante_up says:

    15 comments about typing- just shows how important the basics are.

  17. Tris Hussey says:

    After reading all the comments…I have one tip that has helped me a lot. Learn the “home row”. The home row, on a English keyboard is the middle row that starts with “a” and ends with ” ‘ “. Place your fingers on the row and feel for the little raised nubbins on the “f” and “j” keys. Your index fingers go there. Practice starting and ending on the home row. Once I got into this habit I was much closer to touch typing. I can now, after a lot of practice, touch type. Almost in the dark, but sometimes I need a little glance down to make sure I know where my fingers are–not the keys, my fingers.

  18. I recall my typing *before* I took a class in High School.. not fast, but not slow.. probably around 20-25wpm (sort of a fast hunt-n-peck.) Now, 6-7 years after that class, I can see that learning to type “right” was a great choice. I generally float around 85-90wpm nowadays, which works good for me, as I’m rather impatient at times!

  19. colbert says:

    dun forget a good chair does help

  20. I use 8 fingers (thumbs – space, smallest fingers – shift & enter) to type without looking at my keyboard. I started learning typing without looking at my keyboard when I watched those computer guys in movies, they looked so cool to me, that I said to myself, I have to do it that way too :)

    I use Microsoft’s first model of Natural Keyboard – it is broken and tilted in half, so that my hands have their natural position. Since it is great, I find my hands sick and uncomfortable when typing on a regular straight keyboard.

    And one tip for those who have typo problems, I guess that you know that gmail.com has a great (ajax-based) error checking system with highlighting mistakes and suggesting corrections, it’s just great. If you don’t have a MS Word or other tool to check you typos, or when you’re on the move, or just can’t use your favourite spell-checker, you can always use gmail to compose your blog entry and check for spelling errors :)

    Greetings from Poland,
    Have a nice day.

  21. Cary Miller says:

    Funny topic, but an interesting one! I use 6 fingers plus both thumbs. I never learned to type correctly but I have been doing it so long that I’ve actually gotten quite fast. I think if I tried to learn correctly it would drive me crazy ; )

  22. Nicole Simon says:

    While nearly every other spell checker I know of just plain sucks when it comes to German (my mother language), they do well on English most of the time, so I use Gmail from time to time too when I don’t have MS Word around – the only working spellchecker in German I am aware of.

    Oh yes, and if you think you can’t train jourself to work without looking: Try this keyboard, I think you will be amazed to find how fast you can learn how to type without looking: http://www.daskeyboard.com/

    ;o)

  23. Ken says:

    I never understood the point of the daskey keyboard, unless it’s a joke. =P

    hehe…but another option is the Dvorak keyboard, curious to see if anyone has had luck with that.

  24. Foster says:

    Wow, this is just a lame stretch for content

  25. Nicole Simon says:

    Ken, just see it as a training keyboard ;)

    Foster, I would not have taken this subject, if I had not know from experience, that this topic does rise an aha moment. But of course, not for everyone, and I won’t argue with you, that you find this boring. :)

  26. nortypig says:

    I did typing in high school way back in the late 70′s as the only boy in the class for 3 years. It’s amazing now how many really good typists there are who can spit out way faster wpm than me.

    It’s not just the speed though it’s the matter of being able to carry on light conversation while typing that is the big bonus. I’m not concentrating on where is that key.

  27. Nicole Simon says:

    Maybe that is where some of the strenght lies, when you can type fast (and probably one of the things why I am a bit behind when typing english – because it is surely not as fluent as I am in my mother tongue.

    And sometimes I am very fluent – but then I type more like as it sounds – with sometimes funny results. ;)

  28. I type a lot, very rarely need to use the backspace key, ‘type blind’, and very rarely use special characters that I need to look at the keyboard to use. However, I’m still limited by my typing speed, typing only at approximately 80 words per minute.

    If you already type pretty much perfectly, how can you increase your typing speed? Just by ‘going at it’ faster?

  29. Nicole Simon says:

    James, 80 words is a vey unfamiliar term of answering that question, perhaps you can translate that in chars per minute? But still, this sounds quite fast.

    Very very fast typers type 400+ chars per minute as far as I know, and of course there is a limit to how fast you can type based on your body possibilities.

    But one thing I have found which might help you: Check the way you are sitting and especially how you hold your hands. I have found, that if I have a better angle on having my elbows above my fingers (sitting higher than my desk), I can more easily type = type faster.

    I had a change of desks and was suddenly sitting ‘deeper’ = elbows below my hands, only a little bit, and noticed that it was harder to type and that I did type slower. :)

    Also you might want to check different keyboards – they differ a lot in how fast you can type in there or for example how exhausting it is for you to type. hope this helps. :)

  30. arun rahim says:

    i m still poor at typing. it seems as if i ll never master it . off course i havent had any courses or tutors but i still would have liked to type fast. i just recently got a net connection in my house and i hope i can improve my typing speed. thanks for the tips : )

  31. RDBA says:

    I have read many very good suggestions here about ways to improve typing output and accuracy. Ergonomically oriented solutions and proper training are fine and may be very helpful but don’t get to the root of the problem. The root problem being that the volume of information being typed is increasing exponentially yet no effective solution to addressing this issue has yet come forth.

    I think, however, that an entirely new and different approach is needed to deal with the issues of grammar, the physical effects of so many repetitive motions (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), typing errors, and overall output (productivity).

    I would offer that the only way to strike at the heart of the problem is to greatly reduce the number of keystokes required to produce any level of output. More bang for each keypress.

    We all are familiar with abbreviations such as ‘tv’ for ‘television’, ‘ea’ for ‘each’, or ‘USA’ for ‘United States of America’. Suppose it were possible to utilize technology to take these (and far more) keyed in abbreviations and convert them to their corresponding expanded text in your blogs or documents. In the process you will have greatly reduced the number of keystrokes required to produce a far greater level of output. Then, regardless of your current typing speed your productivity would be increased commensurately. (200 keypresses might output 450 letters of text for sake of argument) Not to mention the fact that the number of typing (spelling) errors made and requiring correction would be reduced in kind.

    Thoughts?

  32. Jacob Surkis says:

    Hi all,

    This is certainly an interesting thread on doing touch typing practice (or as some call it – keyboarding practice).

    I agree much with the mentioned points about practicing speed typing with 10 fingers. Hunt & Pack can become quick, but I doubt as quick as typing with all ten fingers. It might take some time at the beginning to learn to type with 10 fingers, but as with all things, it becomes natural and a second nature.

    Today I can type 70-80 words per minute. It is a learned skill.

    As for making mistakes, it is my understanding that one should try to avoid making mistakes, because if you’ll make lots of errors and you’ll need to correct them later, then this will take you much time, and what is the whole point of typing quickly?

    On the other hand, some people are too much of perfectionists, and they get obsessed with paying attention to mistakes, which slows down their typing so that they can’t practice typing quickly. A balance is suggested.

    Some people think it’s a big deal to learn touch typing. Actually, all you need is to learn keyboarding and typing skills once, and then to practice typing a lot. The more you practice typing, the better your words-per-minute typing speed will become.

    My 2 cents…

    By the way, I’m in the process of building now a site on typing practice, typing tutor software and typing speed games, and it is always exciting to find people like you expressing interesting thoughts and fueling motivation to generate more good ideas on typing practice matters.

  33. Hi, Darren
    Bro! Do you know typing if yes whats your typing speed…Mine is around 50 WPM…