Making Things Stick - [225 and Beyond - #005]

Why is it so hard to incorporate new briefs or AccelerWriters into your writing? Why can’t you just add something into your dictionary and be sure you’ll write it unhesitatingly when you need to?

To answer these questions, just think about what speedbuilding is for. By writing words thousands and thousands of times over thousands and thousands of dictations, the finger placements for different strokes become so ingrained that you can write them with no conscious thought involved and at increasing speeds. It’s just a reaction; all hesitation is removed.

If you try to change something in your writing but neglect the crucial step of cementing that movement by many repetitions, you just won’t be able to remember that brief, phrase, or AccelerWriter when you need to.

Let’s say you just came up with a fancy new brief for “DNA”. You need to practise to lots of dictations or videos where you will hear “DNA” so that the muscular pattern is reinforced and becomes automatic.

While many people understand this concept when it comes to briefs, few people apply it to AccelerWriters. Remember, AcclerWriters are editing commands that you execute directly from your writer.

To adapt the previous example to do with briefs, imagine you want to start using an AccelerWriter to capitalise and J-define the previous 3 words written. Again, it’s not enough to just add it into your dictionary; you need to practise to dictations where you have a chance to use that AccelerWriter in context. You might even decide to make your own dictations specifically geared towards something you’re working on. As you repeat the movement again and again, it will become so second nature that you’ll be able to execute it flawlessly, even at high speeds.

This lesson is highly generalisable: If you practise something in context a bunch of times, you’re going to get better at that thing. The context aspect is important too. If you’re trying to learn a foreign language, trying to communicate with real people in that language will probably teach you a lot more than doing verb conjugation exercises in grammar books. In the same way, practising briefs in the context of a dictation is much better than just running through a list of briefs.

Elsewhere On The Web:

The Polymath Playbook—The paragraph on differentiation struck me as particularly relevant. What we need to do is get fairly good at lots of different things—briefs, using our software, fingerspelling—not just world-class at one thing (speed, for instance). This is a little bit different to how most people think about this, as lots of people stress one aspect of writing (speed, writing short) but neglect the diminishing returns of focusing too much on any one aspect.

Personal Message:

I hope everyone’s doing well! Please get in touch if you’re interested in hearing more about AccelerWriters. I’m thinking of recording some tutorials on some that I use every day. I also offer private one-on-one or group training on the subject.

Quote of the Week:

"The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere."—Xun Zi