Learn to touch-type
The online courses which are available to help you learn to touch-type
It may seem an absolutely obvious thing to say, but writers use keyboard skills all the time. As part of the revolution in communication introduced by email, we all use the keyboard to keep in touch with one another and business has largely transferred to email mode. But for most writers using the keyboard is the very essence of what they do and being able to use it well will save enormous amounts of time and error.
It doesnít seem like a fashionable idea to suggest that writers should put themselves on a typing course, but itís an immensely practical one. If youíre serious about your writing imagine how much easier everything will be if you can touch-type! Not only is it up to ten times faster than using two fingers, but it is also much more accurate. Pecking away at the keys may be a good way to proceed for the occasional short piece of work, but if youíre serious about writing a whole book itís worth putting in the time to make the whole exercise much easier Ė and giving yourself the advantage of being able to touch-type for the rest of your life.
On those secretarial courses that young women used to undertake in the old days, the time taken learning to type was largely devoted to doing exercises in order to achieve breath-taking speeds. But you donít need to be super-fast to benefit from touch-typing.
Itís also worth remembering that touch-typing is less stressful for your hands than using two fingers. In an age where intensive keyboard and mouse use threatens repetitive strain injury for many, this is a major consideration.
There are many free or very inexpensive typing course available online. The following is just a small selection. If youíre not convinced, have a manuscript which needs typing to make it into a computer file, or a handwritten manuscript, have a look at our Typing service.
Free online courses
A good resource addressed to younger people and part of the BBCís Schools programming.
A free training course but you must register to use it. ALISON* claims to be the world's leading free online learning resource for basic and essential workplace skills and all courses are accessible for free to individual learners. Its mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to educate themselves for free via interactive self-paced multimedia and they are working to remove the cost of access to high-quality education.
The learner needs to register to use these basic free online courses. Lots available, including online shopping, using digital camera etc. Key typing into the search box to access keyboard skills.
Claims that you can type 10 times faster touch typing than using two fingers. A free trial and then $7 (under £5) for the course, which you can instal on your computer or log into on an online account.
A good basic free tutorial once you understand how to start the exercises.
Analytical Eye Technologiesí provides free zip files with their typing course
to download. Beginners may need help downloading files. Has had over 100,000
downloads in just a year.
Another typing tutor which also offers an alternative approach, thinking about avoiding repetitive strain injury, which some may find better.
Extensive American.list of freeware and shareware some of which has to be
Uses a traditional approach to develop skills.