Friday, 12 February 2010

Touch me,'re just my type!

CC director Lorelei King touches on typing...

I’ve really been enjoying the latest series of Mad Men – the handsome leading man, the retro design (and the retro attitudes)... and don’t the women look fabulous: the clothes, the hair, the make-up. So glamorous - and boy, can those girls type! And they can all type.

It took me back to my time in high school, when I had to choose between woodwork and typing. It was compulsory back then; you had to do one or the other. Woodwork was tempting – so many boys – but my Mom said I was bound to have a knack for typing because of all those years of piano lessons. I took her advice and opted for the typing class. I’ve never regretted it.

Typing is one of the most useful skills I can think of for writers - or anyone in publishing – to have. It certainly came in handy for me last year when one of our Creative Content ‘The Lowdown’ authors - I won't name and shame - refused to type at all, and dictated his... or her... book. I was the official transcriber, and was grateful for my 90 wpm! But I was astonished that a writer didn’t have the basic ability to type his - or her - work him or herself. (Oh who am I kidding? Of COURSE it was a ‘him’! :oD)

As far as I know, typing is no longer a compulsory subject in school – but it should be! It’s far more useful than a lot of stuff that’s taught – and touch typing is even more relevant now than it was then, as technology means we're all spending more and more time with the QWERTY keyboard.

Kids – learn to touch type, especially if you want to be a writer. Not only will it help you to get your thoughts down as quickly as they occur to you and make you a super-speedy conversationalist on social media - it might also help you get a temporary job ... just in case you don’t get that Dan Brown-sized advance straightaway.

Grownups – learn to touch type. It will keep your brain active and your fingers limber and will irritate your kids no end when you can tweet and instant message faster than they can.

You know what? I finally took woodwork, too - at adult education class. I made a tall, skinny plant stand that wobbled like crazy. My husband did his best to hide his annoyance when it rocked wildly any time he walked past it – but he cracked open a bottle of champagne the day I put the Women’s Beginning Woodwork Final Project Plant Stand out of its misery. It’s wobbling in heaven now. St. Peter’s probably going mad trying to find matchbook covers to shove under its wonky little legs...

We'd love to know: Do you touch type? Or are you still hunting and pecking?

photo by foxtongue

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