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.
Another good typing game is play.typeracer.com
Here you can actually go against other online players head to head!
It's becoming quite the fad.
A discussion of the Dvorak layout is sometimes used as an exercise by management consultants to illustrate the difficulties of change. The Dvorak layout is often used as a standard example of network effects, particularly in economics textbooks, the other standard example being the competition between Betamax and VHS. These examples are used to demonstrate that inferior technologies sometimes succeed simply because they become customary, even though the Dvorak layout's superiority is not clearly established.
for some fun typing practice, try out
of course it works with dvorak as well...
However, don't be fooled that typing faster/better will make you any happier or richer. You're already pretty productive at your computer (typing, but also all the other tasks required to set up nice websites with content).
Now you're starting "a new skill from scratch", but aren't you just doing more of the same?
"Maybe my brain commits the new information as I sleep or something."
That is exactly what it does. What you learn throughout the day is reorganized and strengthened as you sleep.
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.
This November I participated in NAtional NOvel WRiting MOnth or NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write a 50,000 word story in thirty days. I did not. I ended my month with 38,777 words done, a rate of 1292 per day. I also blogged almost 10,000 words this month. Here is a chart of my writing, oddly enough, the only day I didn't write was the 29th. I woke up later than usual that day and didn't write in the morning like I usually do, and the rest of the day was filled with great times with family.
Even though I didn't finish a novel, I'm most of the way there. My character has faced a few trials along the way and has a final one to overcome before the resolution. I've posted two other sets of thoughts on NaNoWriMo here and here. My final few thoughts are these;
The ultimate questions to ask is, will I do it again? Yes. I want to be able to finish the month and this first run illuminated what I need to do. My blogging needs to be scaled back or my focus on novel writing needs to be more important. Like a good story, I lost this round, but after a year of training, I'll be back for a rematch.