I'm on day four of this magical adventure and I'm slowly becoming more capable.
I'm averaging around thirty words per minute now in the little typing program, but probably a bit less in real life. At least I don't want to kill myself when I type anymore. It's the little things in life, you know?
It has been really fascinating to learn a new skill, start from scratch, and watch my progress daily. One really interesting thing I've noticed is that my words per minute don't really go up during the day, even though it feels easier as I practice more throughout the day. However, when I wake up the next morning I am much faster.
Maybe my brain commits the new information as I sleep or something.
There are a few misconceptions from the comments to clear up too...
Is Dvorak faster? Almost certainly, but not necessarily much faster. Twenty words per minute is about the fastest boost that people seem to get, although there are a few extreme cases of big gains as well as people who get no gains.
Put it this way - no studies say that qwerty is faster. And how could it be? It wasn't designed to be fast.
More importantly, Dvorak DEFINITELY requires less finger movement. Ninety percent less. That is huge, especially for avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome. I also wonder if it makes using small subnotebook keyboards easier.
Using other computers isn't a big deal either. Any computer can be switched temporarily in a matter of seconds or you can just go back to qwerty temporarily. Most people don't forget it.
For me it comes down to this: I can invest time now that will pay some sort of dividend for the rest of my life. Easy choice - I feel like there's no choice really. Maybe I would have gotten carpal tunnel before and now I won't. I type thousands of words every week, so it seems likely. Or maybe it will take me a few less minutes to write posts every day. That will add up.
I love stuff like this. I get excited about anything that makes me better or more efficient.
I'm a fast typist. Ninety words per minute. Take it.
That last line, however, took three minutes to type. It's excruciating. Why?
I'm switching to the Dvorak keyboard layout. For those who don't know, typewriters started out with their keys arranged in an "ABCD" configuration this caused the hammers to bind, so the standard "QWERTY" keyboard was invented.
I've gotten a lot of emails lately, which has been fantastic. My email volume keeps going up.
There's one question I've gotten a few times, in a few different forms. "How do you do so much [thing]?" Reading is a common one, since I read a lot of books. Or balancing projects with working, traveling, tourism, connecting with people.
First off, I don't think I'm so good at getting stuff done. I see there's a lot more I could do. There's probably a lot better role models than me - if you can find someone who works a stimulating high powered job, competes athletically, parents, and does some philanthropy or art, that person is way ahead of me and you ought to look them up and ask them for their thoughts next time you see them.
I used to be insanely busy like that, with 3-5 things that should be a full time effort on the go at the same time. That's probably part of the secret to it right there - if you overload yourself without getting to breaking point, you'll be amazed at what you can do.
There's ripple effects when you're extremely busy. You stop screwing off and wasting time, because you can't. And other people start respecting your time more, too. If your entire calendar is open, people are flaky and whimsical and ambiguous with plans. But when you say, "My only time free for the next three weeks is this Saturday, at 8AM" - guess what? People come meet you at 8AM Saturday. Now, it'd be absurd to ask someone to commute into the city to meet you at 8AM on Saturday if you weren't busy, but if you are busy, you do it because you have to. And people respect your time.