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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I prefer writing everything out as well. I actually started reporting school back in 1992 and I learned StenEd Theory as well. I just returned into my Court Reporting & Captioning Classes in August and I've always felt that briefs would cause me to hesitate. I am working on passing my 200wpm tests. I passed two of them before I left school. I like using Merit Tapes when I practice -- it makes graduation level tests sound slow. I even like to "warm-up" by typing out the alphabet as quickly as I can. Now, I do use briefs sometimes, but only when they come naturally. No matter what, if I drop a word here and there, I keep writing. A lot of times I can figure out the sentence by context. I also Trust My Notes. Good Luck everybody and practice but read back your notes. It helps a lot. Maria
Hi Kristen,

I also write everything out! I have been a reporter for a couple years now! Granted, there are a few select phrases that I brief, but for the most part, it's every word. It can be done! =)
Thanks for the reply! It's good to know I'm not the only one :)
just want to throw my two cents in here. I tend to write a lot of things out. My writing now is different than from when I was in school. I cater my writing to what I hear the most. Seeing as you are in theory still, I recommend you not worry about this issue and concentrate on learing the basics of writing. Years ago there were theories that relied heavily on briefs and phrases. Well, the problem with that is the student is not learning really how to write sounds. What happens when you hear a word and you don't know how to put down the sound of it? I taught steno myself for just about six years. I found the students who performed the best learned the basics, memorized their briefs, and incorporated phrases as they heard them.
Good luck to you in school.
Hi, I write that way too. Don't worry about the briefs they will come with time. If I am fumbleing with a certain word I look up the brief, put it on a flash card and tape it to my dashboard and fridge. Then after hearing it enough times it finally clicks and comes out smooth. I never concerned myself with the briefs untill I realised I could pass every jury charge with enough of them. I just passed my 140s and am gearing up for three voice. I love it! Good luck! BB. ( I still write out 90% of the material)
I was taught to write everything out. I know some people who write using briefs; I say, whatever works best for you is what you should stick with. My advice (and experience) is that when you do hear unfamiliar words, you will probably implement your theory, anyway... don't stress too much over it! I'm sure in time you'll find yourself briefing certain things. I now brief Your Honor, thank you, district attorney, and alcohol!! Oh, and reimbursement.
Thanks for the reply. I'm actually one of the best in my class, and most everybody used A LOT of briefs, so i will stick with writing everything out for now!
I had picked up a few briefs in court reporting school way back when, but I found that when I went to read my notes (paper) back to the jury, sometimes I couldn't figure out what the brief was. When I got a computer, I began to brief on the fly for complicated names and things. It was okay as long as I kept track of my new briefs and wrote them down on a piece of paper for that day, but once I was called in to read back on an asbestos case, and I was supposed to go right in and read to the jury; however, since I had briefed so much, as I translated the job on my computer, I didn't know what it was and had to sit down for an hour or so and make sure the briefs translated.

So now when I make an "instant" brief as I'm going along, as soon as there's a couple seconds, I put a note to myself in the steno as to what that brief means. That way I can global it in quickly without searching for the piece of paper (the key) for that day.

I think that if a brief doesn't come easily, it's best to forget it. In writing for speed, hesitation is enemy number 1. If you're going to write phonetically, it's going to be automatic. If you're going to search your mind for some old brief you learned, it's going to be manual.

Hope that helps.
It helped very much. Thanks for the reply!

I too learned StenEd theory in school. I was told by a working reporter when I was interning that she also learned StenEd, that it is a stroke-intensive theory, and that she felt like it held her back some, even with briefs. I've been working since '02 now, and more and more I understand what she meant. StenEd is a good "realtime" theory, but for instance, coming back for endings gets to be time-consuming (although I still do it because it's what I learned). I use a lot of briefs, but I certainly didn't learn them all. And although I struggle to this day with speed (people talk faster and faster in this fast-paced society), the briefs really do help, and I wish I had taken the time to learn even more of them. I agree with another reply that you should focus on learning the theory itself while you're in theory class, but once you get into speedbuilding, I would highly recommend spending time each day learning at least one or two briefs. Every brief you learn is a stroke-saver, will help you get through school, will help you take testimony out in the real world, and will help save your wrists! Keeping up with everybody is tough enough, especially when you've been doing it for hours and you're tired, but I can't imagine trying to do that all day long writing everything out. Just think about how many more strokes you've made by the end of the day taking a long job with very little briefs. Easily in the thousands.

One thing I do remember they gave us in theory class, and I thought it was part of StenEd but maybe not, was a list of the most commonly used words (I think it was 50 or 100 words). Definitely learn those! I think we were told that about 50% of everything we took down would be from that list, so it was very helpful to learn them as one-strokers.

I would definitely recommend trying to learn as many briefs as you can while you're still in school. Once you're working and get busy with transcribing all the time, plus as you get used to how you write at high speeds, it's very difficult to incorporate new things. So now, after theory class, is definitely the time to do it.

StenEd also has a brief dictionary you can buy, plus there are some other good resources out there for briefs. It can be overwhelming in school trying to learn them while you also work on speed, but believe me, you will thank yourself in the long run for every single brief you learn. Good luck!
Thanks for the lengthy reply! I do plan on learning briefs later in my training. I already have a notebook with a few pages full of briefs that I think will be useful to know, but I'm going to wait to start practicing them until theory is done. There's so much to learn as it is; I don't want to have those in my mind white learning the theory. And we do have that list....the high frequency words. And thankfully, I have those one strokers down perfectly!
There's a saying: "The longer you write, the longer you write." That's really true. I've been a reporter for 27 years and when I let my license lapse and had to retest for my license, I had to relearn theory and briefs to be able to pass the state test, so in my opinion, for higher speeds and to pass, briefs are important and necessary, but in real life you'll probably be a phonetic writer like me. What you have to remember is in real life you don't write 5 minutes at 225 wpm and you're comfortably carrying. The other thing to remember is with software briefs are a great translator help. The important thing is to know your theory inside out so it makes sense when you're making up briefs. Many times I've kicked myself for not making up briefs, practicing them, and making my life easier. Good luck!


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