Hi everybody! I was just wondering if anybody else writes everything out vs. using briefs. I am the only one in my class of 17 that writes everything out. I just find it much easier to doing it like this than having to blend and remember briefs. My teacher is always assuring me that it's perfectly fine to do it this way, and that some of the fastest writers in the world do it this way as well. I am still in theory (StenEd) at 60wpm, and I am doing great. I have actually held a grade of 100 since I started. But I am just worried that as things get harder and faster, writing everything out won't be the way to go. So if anybody has anything to say, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!!

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It will get old very quickly constantly writing out commonly used words and phrases. The key is "commonly used." When you hear "is it fair to say" fifty times, do you want to write EUS/EUT/FAIR/TO/SAI each and every time, 5 strokes, or would you rather write this wonderful 1-stroke brief: ST-FRTS each time? Who's going to be more stressed out at the end of a day, the short writer or the long writer? The time is NOW to notice commonly used words and phrases and learn better ways to write them.

A good analogy is skin care. It's better to avoid unnecessary frowning, excessive sunning, and smoking while you're young in order to have any hope of having young-looking skin when you're older. While starting these strategies at age 50 might have some inpact, nothing close to the impact of starting at age 20.

The same with writing short. Start now. Be smart about it. Briefs have to make sense and be consistent, whether a word or a phrase. Start paying careful attention to commonly used words and phrases. They have to be derivative and not arbitrary. Arbitrary means that you just can't pick something out of the air. It has to make sense. Othewise you'll never remember them. Derivative means that you should be able to "run with it," meaning that you can use the same thing for all tenses of the word or phrase:

in order = NOIR
in order to = NOIRT

access/accessible/accessibility = KEF/KEFL/KEFLT

at one point/at one point in time = TWUP/TWUPT
at one time/at one point in time = TWUNT/TWUPT

at any point/at any point in time = TOINT/TO*INT


Virginia, are you in an on-line school or a physical school?
Just wondering what schools are teaching Stenomaster now.

I won't say it's impossible to reach the speed you need while writing everything out. However, I really, really don't think it's the way to go.
Thanks! Good to know I'm not the only one :) And it's encouraging to hear that you were able to pass those tests. I should've mentioned that I DO use some briefs. But ONLY the ones that make sense. And I am noticing that I am like, subconsiously, picking up certain briefs.....ones that I didn't even know I knew haha.

Yep, I fainted. Girl, why write it out? Oh my!!!

at the time = TET
at the time of the accident = TETS
at the time of the incident = T*ETS
at the time of this accident = TITS
at the time of this incident = T*ITS

To my mind, these make sense and are derivative and are commonly used. Another analogy is using macros. Perfect real-life example: I record an editing macro and assign a key to insert "you know," and another macro for insert ", you know." For the first few weeks or even months, I can't remember what key I assigned to these commands. Do I just say, "Oh, it's quicker to just type the damn thing?" or do I open the Word file I keep to look up what key I assigned? (I could have also opened the "keyboard" itself to find it but it's easier to do a search of "you know" in the Word doc than search thru the Catalyst keyboard.)

It takes longer to look up what key I've assigned the command than to actually do the command. But once I remember that I assigned these keys to these commands, it's rote and my editing will be just a tad quicker as a result:

Y + SHIFT = insert “you know,”
Y + CTRL + SHIFT = insert “, you know,”

The same goes for, say, the "at the time" series of briefs. When I was practicing to pass tests, I would stop the tape and do my research to figure out how I want to write this stuff and then roll back the tape and keep writing that spot over and over and then the next time you hear the phrase, it's familiar.
[[ now I write "at the" before I even realize it ]]

I anticipate and hope to hear phrases and wait a tiny bit. I should have included "at the" in there. It shows better how derivative the series is.
at the = T-T
at the time = TET
at the time of the accident = TETS
at the time of the incident = T*ETS
at the time of this accident = TITS
at the time of this incident = T*ITS

It's really worth it to wait because of the following "usage count" statistic that I get from my Catalyst PD:
TET = at the time: used 1,777 times since 3-8-03
TELT = at the time: used 955 times since 3-8-03

2,732 times since 2003 that I've used TET and its mistroke TELT.

My most used stroke is -T for "the": 147,854 times since 2003.
that was = THAFS: 6,561 times
as to = STO: 6,329 times
I believe = Y-BL: 6,076 times
to the = TOT: 5,898 times
this is = TH-S: 5,843 times
would be = WOB: 5,536 times
and then = SKP-N: 5,414 times
you have = UF: 5,386 times
I have = EUF: 5,315 times
to you = TOU: 5,198
in the = N-T: 4617
you can = UK: 4582
of that = P-P: 4446
are you = RU: 4316
I'm not = AOIMT: 3945
that you = THAU: 3841
talking about = TB-G: 3142

I'd better stop and get some work done!!!

I vaguely recall that I had another brief for "of that" but I always misstroked it and then saw on a forum P-P. As a freelancer I rarely hear "penalty of perjury." When I do, I write maybe PENLT/PENLT and then J define it or maybe P*OP and then J define it (that one comes from Briefs Encountered, a GREAT resource for writing short) or if I heard it a lot during any particular day, maybe I'd use P*P or POIJ or POIRJ.
Thanks for the reply! My teacher says to only use the ones that come naturally to you, and that's what I do, even tho it may not be many haha. Seriously tho, I've found that they hinder me instead of help me. Maybe sometime down the road, when I'm done theory like you said, I can make a list and just practice them everyday along with my homework.
I know it was way easier for me to learn the briefs in theory. Now that I'm out working, I'm really trying to shorten my writing. It's much harder for me to change now. I wish I would have learned more briefing and phrases in theory.
Maybe it's just harder now because I'm older.

I agree if it doesn't come naturally to you after you'd tried it for a while, you need to let it go. I'd give it a little time, though.
There are many reasons not to write everything out. Don't wait until after you get out of school to warm up to briefs and -- my favorite -- phrases.

I had a student who did her court hours with me, and she wrote everything out. Even "is that right?" "is that correct?"

Her hands were flying. She was so worn out after a short time, AND she was dropping all over the place. Yes, she ended up passing the CA CSR on the first try, but she never worked a day. She was scared to death. Her hands were topped out speed-wise, and she knew she still needed to increase speed in order to stay up with the real world. It's been almost ten years now, and she still never has worked a day as a CR.

I always used briefs and phrases. Still after ten years of working I ended up with a couple of claws for hands. Had to take about five years off. I have slowly worked my way back, and the only reason I am able to work is because I write extremely short. I, too, have incorporated the Stenomaster theory, which, by the way, is now Magnumsteno.com.

I taught my son Stenomaster theory, and he's flown through school with it. His girlfriend started incorporating the theory into her longhand theory a year ago, and she also took off with it.

The best thing is even though they both just qualified -- in their first week in qualifiers, by the way -- they still have plenty of "growing room" because their hand speed is far from topped out.

Good luck!

Happy writing short!!
Briefs are hard to remember at first. You must learn as many as you can to save your arms and hands, especially if you end up working in a courtroom everyday. Also, with briefs there's less of a chance to make a mistake. You'll be so happy when you get into a hearing with a fast speaker and you've got those wonderful briefs to use.
I used to write a lot out until I wanted to really increase my speed. The theory I learned combined writing out and brief forms. I started to shorten my writing when I began working and going for certification tests. Now, I brief as much as I possibly can both to reduce fatigue and for speed. I agree with Marge, writing out common words will get old quickly when you're out on a job and you write out, "eus it faeur to saeu" all day long. And I can reiterate enough that shortening your writing will also increase your speed. Check out Mark Kislingbury for more about shortening your writing.

Good luck!
Thanks for the reply. It's good to know that you do the same and are a CSR. It's encouraging. I know not many of us will graduate, I just wanted to see if I was setting myself up for failure for writing everything out. Most people say it's something I should stop doing, but it's the most comfortable for me. I've tried briefing and blending, but I guess I just can't process it or something.......not yet anyway :)


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