On October 12, I officially began a free intro to steno class through the one court reporting school here in Minnesota, in conjunction with the National Court Reporters Association A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand class. I picked up my writer at the school on the morning of class and began trying it out the moment I got home. Even though I’m using an old machine (it still has a paper tray to record the steno with ink!), it seems absolutely magical, and I’m quite in love with it.
The first class session had some local guest speakers to explain different types of careers in stenography: a 37-year-veteran from the court system, a freelancer who is also a firm owner, a captioner, and two current students.
The second half of class involved making sure everyone’s writer was working, and then we got started with some beginning strokes on the machine.
We were given a handout for the introductory lesson as well as lesson one, which I knew I would be practicing as much as possible.
One thing that surprised me is how easily the keys press on my machine, even though it’s older. They are a little springy and pleasant to use.
Over the past week, I’ve completed at least two practice sessions per day and often hit three sessions. I use a Pomodoro timer app, which gives me 25-minute sessions before taking a break. I feel a bit of fatigue in my fingers, but the good kind, like after you have a good workout and your muscles feel a little rubbery but also energized.
In addition to the NCRA A to Z handout, I’ve been using some YouTube videos that go with Project Steno’s Basic Training class, which is a similar introductory class. The lessons are a bit different, but I’m really hungry right now to hit the ground running!
I’ve looked for additional practice materials but came up a bit short, so I’ve been making up some exercises myself to get my fingers going and to memorize the steno keyboard. I’m looking forward to class tomorrow to receive more handouts for more practice!
My takeaway for this week: I love writing on the steno machine much more than I thought and find it exciting and engaging in a way that will keep me hooked for a while. It’s like a puzzle with almost unlimited pieces. This should be an exciting journey.
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