Christine DeSmet writes about pink fudge in her series of mysteries set in Wisconsin. You can find out more about her here.
On a very busy day recently I asked myself: How do I get all of this stuff done? And, why and how did I become who I am?
In my Fudge Shop Mystery Series, my character of Ava Oosterling credits knowing how to make fudge as her savior for organizing her life and bringing satisfaction if not success as well.
I credit typing in my life.
Writing my Fudge Shop Mystery Series is only one aspect of my writing life. Daily I’m coaching writers, which involves a lot of emails and emailed reports. I also critique material for my adult online writing students, and that involves a lot of typed notes. I also type marketing materials advertising classes. There are days when I type maybe 30 or more single-spaced pages of material.
I learned what’s called “touch typing”—no looking at the keys—in high school when there were “Typing 1” and “Typing 2” classes. These days, Common Core standards say Third Grade students should be able to produce and publish writing using “keyboarding” skills. By Grade 4, students have to produce one page of typed material in one sitting. By Grade 5, that increases to two pages. Children in kindergarten learn keyboarding now, and there are maybe 25 or more software games that help kids learn the QWERTY keyboard.
In Wisconsin, keyboarding must be taught by a licensed business education teacher with a license in keyboarding (previously called typing). I remember Mrs. Hodgson standing with her stopwatch at the head of my classroom at Barneveld High School in Barneveld, Wis. I recall speeds of 60-plus words-per-minute were considered very fine, and I’d heard of people doing 90-plus words-per-minute. Kids are measured at “five words per minute per grade level.” That means a student in Grade 3 should be able to type 15 words per minute.
I’m at the speedy end of adult speeds. I tend to touch type at the speed of real-time story conjuring or movie watching or more. At a retreat once, one of my fellow authors said she stopped and just watched my fingers fly because she’d never seen that before. Many people do what’s called “hunt-and-peck” typing, which is okay! Me? Speed!
Speedy typing and accuracy were drummed into me in college because I was a Journalism student in the era when we still had typewriters in the news classrooms. You got points taken off for mistakes, and you had deadlines so there was no time to stop to apply correction fluid and re-type something.
Typing is a valued skill again. There are now “type-ins” where people bring typewriters and in a social forum they type together. Besides the wonderful feel of fingers flying over keys, there’s the sound of the “clack” and “click” and even the occasional “ding” that people love.
Long ago, typing was considered “gender specific.” Only women took typing classes because they would become “secretaries” and type material for male bosses. Today, our machines and communication devices require us to become adept at typing, er, keyboarding. For me, touch typing was and is my lifeblood skill.
What skill shaped your life?