I’ve been a but sporadic here on the blog lately. I’ve got all this stuff in my head that I want to write about but to be honest, I guess I just haven’t felt much like the physical act of typing lately. I’m actually a pretty lousy typist, despite the fact that I’ve tried, seriously tried, to develop a good typing technique over the years. I’ve had typing lessons, I’ve used computer typing tutor software, and I’ve tried to force myself to use the right touch typing technique. But all of that, and I still can’t really type all that well.
When I was at school as a student, I actually did a proper typing course. In fact, I’ll digress for a moment and mention that my school offered something that I’ve not really seen in too many other schools since… every Thursday afternoon we did “activities”. We all got to choose from a wide range of activities to do for a few hours every Thursday. Some students went off to play sport, running around the basketball field or ripping each others’ heads off playing football. That was never really my scene. I was one of those other more nerdy and anti-social children, who pretty much avoided sport wherever I could.
There aren’t all that many things I actually remember about school, but a couple of things stand out. I remember going off to the AGL gas company in Hurstville where we did cooking lessons on Thursday afternoon. I thought it was neat, being a 14 year old kid, jumping on a train to go the two stations up the line, finding the big AGL building, and having some other adult besides my regular teacher showing me how to cook a different meal each week. At the time, learning to cook didn’t quite have the same prestige as being on the football team, but over the long haul I know which one has been most useful!
Back to the typing story… the other memorable Thursday activity (call me weird) was doing a typing class. I remember being taught by our library assistant, Mrs Sobb. She was a older lady and boy could she type! I remember going through all the usual finger training activities – asd, asdf, asd;lk, dad, sad, fad, gad – and so on. I particularly remember that she had a set of large white mens hankerchiefs with long thin ribbons attached to each corner. She’d tie two ribbons together behind our neck and the other two ribbons were tied to the typewriter (yes, you heard it, typewriter!) The hankie would then be suspended like a square hammock between the typewriter and our bodies so we couldn’t see the keyboard. We just had to place our hands on the home row, by feel, and bang out our lines of sad dads.
Anyway, enough wandering down memory lane. Suffice to say, sometimes as much as you try to learn the “right” way to do something it doesn’t always stick. But even as a “bad” typist, I’ve still written a book of 60,000 words, and a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that since I started this blog I’ve probably typed well over 300,000 words here as well. Add in the other blogs, wikis, emails, discussion forums and various things I’ve written (typed) over the last few years and it’s interesting to consider that someone can be fairly average at something but still produce something relatively worthwhile.
I guess the lesson is that sometimes it’s more important to actually just DO something, rather than worry about doing it perfectly.