I have heard that more hours of practice doesn't necessarily equate to faster speeds. Is this because it's quality of practice, not quantity? I would have thought the more you practice (as in playing a musical instrument) the better your muscle memory.


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It's my opinion that multiple short (20-30 minute) periods where you can focus your attention 100% are far better than one three-hour session where you're braindead halfway through, and you're not improving your muscle memory any more anyway because your brain's too tired to send your fingers to the right places.

The only time I can see practicing for more than an hour straight is when you're working on endurance, like for realtime :)

A big difference to keep in mind between, say, practicing piano and practicing steno is that the songs you learn on an instrument are fixed; what we write in steno is always dynamic and changing and requires a different approach.
Thanks, Erik, that is helpful! I'll keep trying to focus.
I think it's easy to get in the habit of avoiding practicing what you need to work on most, whether it's briefs, names and numbers, literary, q/a, read back...

Keeping track of the types of material you're writing can be a good way to make sure you aren't neglecting certain areas of writing. The point is to get the most improvement for the time you put in. Nobody likes to struggle, so it can be hard to identify a weakness and then follow through with daily practice specific to it.

In my case, this would be names and numbers and reading-back without CAT software, which I will manage to "forget" to practice for a week at a time...but for the weeks I'm good about it, 10 minutes a day of either of those quickly adds up to noticeable improvement. The same goes for hard to remember briefs/new phrases.

Another consideration is analyzing writing after a difficult take. Using hindsight and figuring out where you hesitated writing something phonetically, where a brief/phrase didn't come to you quickly enough, etc., can make all the difference between valuable practice and wasted time, even if it means less key-strokes for that hour of practice. Writing the same dictation multiple times and repeating the hardest parts can be more useful than writing a solid half hour of fresh, new material take after take. This can also let you know if need to review specific chapters of theory.


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