Learning To Type. Again.

Next week I will attend the 2013 Association for Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference and Book Fair in Boston (#AWP13), along with an estimated 11,000 other writers, writing instructors, and word lovers. This is my second AWP conference, my first being last year’s conference in Chicago.

I have been to many different kinds of conferences over the years, but at none did I feel as much at home as at AWP. My experience last year helped me to decide to take my writing career and writing life more seriously. Listening to speakers and attendees talk about the lasting value of words and writing and books grounded me and brought me home—to who I am, to who I want to be, and back to my childhood when I wrote my first stories in Big Chief notebooks with crayons and fat, chunky pencils.

Because I plan to blog at and about the conference as I did last year, and because I don’t want to take my laptop to Boston, I need to learn how to type on my iPhone faster than I do. Currently, I definitely show my age, as Pamela Redmond Satran, author of How Not to Act Old, explains:

“Old people behavior of which I am guilty: Holding your phone at arm’s length (so you can read the numbers and letters, natch!) and then typing with your index finger.

No no no no. You’ve got to pretend your index finger doesn’t even exist. Forget the middle, ring, and pinky fingers too.

The young way to dial your phone or to text or type on your BlackBerry or iPhone is with your thumbs. Yes, all with your thumbs.” ~ Learn To Text With Your Thumbs

You mean after all of those months in high school perfecting my touch-typing skills so that I could type 90 WPM on a Selectric without so much as a peek at my fingers, I need to learn to type all over again?

Evidently, yes.

Once I figured out the right search terms (“thumb typing” rather than “how to type with your thumbs”), I discovered several online articles and tutorials for being a proficient thumb typist. The New York Times’ piece “Touch-Type with Your Thumbs” is a good start, as is the video, below.

Did I type this post on my phone with my thumbs? Not a chance, but a girl needs a worthy goal, right?

Also of interest is an article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education on the latest texting rules and conventions. Did you know that there “are important and subtle distinctions between ‘ok.’ (acknowledgement), ‘ok!’ (agreement), and ‘ok…’ (potential disagreement)”?

Header image credit for texting girl: Robin Hutton (http://www.flickr.com/photos/robinhutton/)


5 thoughts on “Learning To Type. Again.

  1. Lisa, I wish I were going to AWP with you. I’d fold myself up in your back pocket. Have an amazing trip!

    As for old person typing, guilty. Here I am at a coffee shop commenting with my thumbs and I worry my hands are going to cramp and turn into funny little claw hands. You’ve begun a great discussion here among the old and the crimped. 🙂

    • I wish you were going to AWP, too! I’m hoping to blog quite a bit there, so know that you will be my imaginary readership. 🙂 We are making it a bit of a family trip, as well. My husband will be giving a talk at Harvard on editing, and our son will join us at the beginning before he has an admitted students weekend.

      After I read about the old/young difference between phone typing with fingers/thumbs, I see it everywhere (especially in my students).

  2. Lisa,
    Have a wonderful time at AWP! I’ll watch for your posts.

    And, I’m an index typer. I had no idea how that would show my age, but I suppose it makes sense. I will say, I’m darn fast, even so 🙂

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