How Fast Are Your Fingers?

I remember my first typewriter. It was a huge, chunky Olivetti desk typewriter and I thought it was fantastic. It came through a friend of the family — her office were replacing their typewriters with brand new, state of the art, electric typewriters. So this old beast was all mine.

I started typing my little hands off. I wrote out the words of songs that I liked. I wrote a few poems here and there, and stories … I loved to write stories — even then. I would sit down at the table with a thick felt mat shielding the table from the base of the typewriter, and I would begin to hammer our letters and words. First it was one finger at a time, but then, as I grew more practised, I began to type with two or even three fingers. My speed was increasing, but I would never get very fast. I needed to really pound the keys to make the letters appear nicely on the page, and the extra effort meant that speed was never to be easily attained.

When I started using computers, I found these typing skills were handy. I knew where the letters were and I could get up quite a bit of pace. I didn’t even need to look at my fingers too much. But I did need to break through the speed barrier — in teaching myself to type I had picked up plenty of bad habits (some of which I still have today) — so I started doing some computer based typing training. And it started to pay off.

Because I didn’t need to learn where all the letters were, I was able to pick up touch typing pretty quickly. Soon I didn’t need to look down at all. Soon I was able to stare at another piece of paper and transcribe it effortlessly. With pretty good accuracy.

Nowadays, I find typing to be the only way for me to take notes. I certainly can no longer write very neatly — and often find myself scouring my own notepads trying to make sense of the scrawl written there. But even with the fastest handwriting in the world, I could never write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. This is where typing truly has been fanstastic. Now I can almost keep up with my ideas as they come streaming out of my mind. And while I get along at around 55 words per minute, I can push along a little faster when I am concentrating well.

But how fast are you? Is it important to be able to type quickly? I love it. Weirdly. (With thanks to Meg Tsiamis for pointing out the typing speed test.)

3 thoughts on “How Fast Are Your Fingers?

  1. That’s an interesting test!
    When I first tried the test I was looking at the letters of each word and trying to type them. I average 52 words per minute.
    I got frustrated, decided to take the test again, except I switched to my normal mode of typing. I said the words in my head and typed by hearing instead of looking at each individual letter.
    I averaged 78 words per minute.
    I suppose it just depends on how you take the words from your mind and put them into the computer, whether that be hearing the words, seeing the words in your head, or some other manner.
    Thanks for the link! This was cool! 🙂

  2. Meg … did I mention I did the test with one hand tied behind my back? Only joking 😉
    Deanna … That is rockin score. Can’t beat it. Even with two hands.

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