The best way to write in steno

Stanley's impromptu rant on the right way to write steno

February 15, 2017 - 2 minute read -

Today Stanley Sakai had a rant on the Plover Discord server that I thought was worth sharing (edited slightly for clarity)

Community member Niten asked:

Random question: If I come across a word which I don’t know how to stroke, should I learn the brief or the phonetic version?

Which seemed to ignite a fire in the Stanographer, as this is what came back:

Practice writing it out but try to learn briefs whenever possible.

And for the record the article “the” 95% of the time should not appear before “brief” in ref to steno briefs. Briefs are by definition, arbitrary. Something is a brief for you when you make it yours. Saying “the” before brief implies that there is a correct and accepted way to abbreviate a word.

And it causes needless strife in people who either are beginners or rule-followers.

Like if you were to search through Facebook CR forums, omg the number of people asking what is THE brief for this or that.

And it drives me crazy when people get into wars about what is better: Briefing more or writing out.

Your one enemy when writing shorthand, barring someone hitting you over the head with a chair while you’re writing is hesitation.

Whatever it takes to eliminate that is what you should do. I suck at writing multisyllabic words with many strokes. So I brief more.

Like today, I had to write “deescalation” like 20 times. I would f___ it up like half of the time; DE/EFK/RAIGS or BE/EFK/LAIGS etc. I transpose keys sometimes randomly, like writing BE instead of DE or B instead of HR. Then at a break I quickly added SKLAIGS and SDLAIGS for “deescalation” and bam, no more issues. But I’m very good at remembering that SKLAIGS is escalation, some are not.

Jade writes Phoenix and according to Ted is happily chugging away writing a million strokes at a constant rate with no issues in realtime, so it need not necessarily be a painful experience if that is your neurology.

So there you have it. To no one’s surprise, different people think differently. I think this will be a great post to show to beginners in stenography who often get caught up in the “right” or “best” way to do things. The truth is that the “right” thing for each person is personal, and the only way to figure it out is through trial and error.

If you are a very new beginner, don’t be afraid to try new things, but be aware that you will likely backpedal. It’s totally natural and part of the learning process.