Lack of Progress

By valerian1967 - updated: 1 week, 4 days ago - 8 messages

I took an online typing course a while ago and learnt the standard techniques but never got much beyond 18wpm.
Recently I decided to take things more seriously and have been practising 90 min+/day for the last month, mainly on this site. Within a week I could type at 22wpm with some fluency, good technique and good accuracy, but nearly four weeks further on I'm broadly in the same place. That feels like a lot of work for not much reward? I can't justify significant amounts of time in the absence of reasonable progress. Perhaps little and often is the way forward? Feeling a bit deflated. Any ideas?
By not_that_great - posted: 3 months ago

Keep it going, try to push yourself a bit more. It's only a matter of time in my opinion.
By cypressshade - posted: 3 months ago

My only suggestion is a simple one: relax and take your time with each keystroke. The harder I try to reach a higher WPM, the less accurate and slower I end up typing. As soon as I relax, allow my eyes to look at the line of text without following the progress of my writing, and focus on feeling each keystroke instead of pushing forward faster the better the results become.

This way I have gotten better overtime, although there is still lots of progress to make towards that 100 WPM / 100% accuracy.
By suikacider - posted: 3 months ago

My average typing speed is ~120wpm, my best is 165 and I'm slowly working towards 175. A lot of typing feels intangible to me, but I do think a lot about what I'm doing, so maybe I can offer a bit of advice:

First, I think that typing generally comes down to two things:

1. Simply knowing where the keys are in relation to each other (which just takes time... I can press any key on the keyboard faster than I can think about where it is).

2. Given the sequence of words you're going to be typing, positioning your hand/fingers in a way so that all of the keys fall under your fingers with as little movement necessary as possible. Eventually your fingers start getting so fast that, more often than not, the problem isn't your inability to go "faster", it's that your fingers get in the way of each other. This takes forethought in addition to planning... I don't sit down and think about it, but as I'm typing, I'm constantly thinking about how it felt to type a word. If it felt bad, I change it up next time. It's all about optimizing your hand shapes so that this stuff happens as fluidly and with as little stuttering as possible, and this gets more important as you begin typing faster.

But anyhow, some other things:

1. Accuracy is important. I typically cruise along at ~155... and then make a single mistake, have to stop typing to whack the back key, and this costs me 10-15 wpm. In that one half-second it took me to delete one character, I missed the opportunity to type 8 or 10 more.

2. So, don't always type at the same speed. Some parts of the passage are trickier than others, and other parts of the passage just are naturally more conducive to being typed than others. I slow down a bit on the trickier bits and speed up a bit on the easier bits. I find that if I don't slow down I'm more likely to make a mistake, having to stop to hit the delete button, which, again, will immediately tank your score.

3. Get comfortable using all of your fingers. I often use my right pinky for periods, for example. Or for the word "phrase": my right pinky is on P, right index finger on H, left index finger on R, left pinky on A, left ring finger on S, left middle finger on E. Now, that's the ideal position for me, but in the context of a sentence, it's not often that my hands will be perfectly positioned to let the word fall under my fingers like that. But generally speaking, the more of your fingers you're comfortable using, the more you can plan ahead and create optimal positions for yourself.

4. Think not only about where you are now, but where you're going, and what fingers/hand shape you should be using to type this word so that you can most efficiently transition into the next one.

5. I also play piano, and I implement a lot of piano technique into my typing. For an example of what I mean by "hand position", see this video about "blocking" out passages of Chopin's Etude Op. 10 No. 1: https://www.youtu... , or this one: https://www.youtu... . Whichever one you watch, pay attention to how intentionally they're placing their hands... because of how they've placed their hands, there isn't any awkward turning or reaching. Their fingers just happen to be right where they need to be to hit the note, and that's what I shoot for when typing, too.

6. When you're going quickly in such a small space, efficiency of movement is important. I do my best to minimize finger movement and avoid my fingers "flying up" when moving to press a key -- like he talks about in this video on piano technique: https://www.youtu...

7. Posture is important. I sit up and root myself with my feet on the floor, lean forward a bit into the keyboard, and position the keyboard about 8 inches? or so from the edge of the desk (just what feels comfortable to me).

8. Lift your forearms a bit, so that they're equal to or slightly higher than your fingers. This bit of height lets your fingers sort of "dance around" the keyboard, rather than you having to pick them up with your hand muscles and drag them here and there.

9. It's not really that big of a deal, bit when you're breathing, your chest rises and falls. This causes your forearms to rise and fall a bit, too, and sometimes that's enough to throw my rhythm off. If I'm really focusing, I take a big breath, then breathe out, begin typing at the end of the out breath, and hold my breath for the passage.

10. You don't have to begin typing right away. When I come to a passage, I take a few seconds to skim through it, in particular the first four or five words. I very intentionally place my hands so that they're in as optimal a position as possible to type that unique phrase.
Updated 3 months ago
By prof.ai - posted: 3 months ago

Personally I have found that improvement is usually happens in bursts, I find myself practicing for weeks with no improvement and then in a single day my wpm increases by 6-8 without any specific change in my technique. Not sure if others have a similar experience.
I also recommend small bursts of practice rather than 90 minute sessions. It not only keeps you engaged and excited whenever you sit down to practice but also allows you to minimize that feeling of struggle that happens when you practice for too long and see no improvement or even get worse.
By machinist80 - posted: 3 months ago

I want to second what prof.ai just said - that's exactly it. Suddently you'll see a jump a few weeks down the line. Mastery happens in small bursts of improvement followed by long periods of plateaus. That's not just typing, that's anything you learn which requires deliberate practice. Learn to be ok with the plateau and it will feel a lot better. The increase will come, just give it time and don' t rush it.

George Leonard in his book 'Mastery' (which I'm literally reading currently, and it's brilliant and eye-opening) actually advises to learn to love the plateau (where you'll be spending most of any journey to improvement) - and just enjoy the sensory process of practice.
Updated 3 months ago
By valerian1967 - posted: 3 months ago

Thank you all for taking the time to respond and for your advice and encouragement. A friend also reminded me of the current thinking favouring process over goals. I am going to see if I can re-frame how I view the idea of learning to type; think more about process; relax; and feel those words.
Thanks again. I'll let you know how I get on.
By 10vingers - posted: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

1 and a half hour is way to much. Just practice 15 minutes a day. Here and 10FF. Your brain will progress your learning during the day/night. That will help you more than the long hours you make.
Also consider a typing program that teaches you how to type and builds it up, I used Gtypist and Klavaro in the beginning for a couple of months. They are great tools, and free, to learn. Better than to type only text and not knowing what you'r doing.

Hope it helps you.

Gtypist: https://www.gnu.o...
Klavaro: https://klavaro.s...
Updated 1 month, 3 weeks ago
By valerian1967 - posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

Thanks for your input 10vingers: I've cut down to 20-30mins practice per day for the last few months. I couldn't get gtypist to work very well but I've been using keybr to improve muscle memory as well as typings.gg and this site for plain typing practice. I'm using standard touch typing for all keys/fingers (learnt at typing.com).
My finger "confidence" is improving and my accuracy is good (96%+). For my typing practice, I'm doing 20% finger drills, 60% typing accuracy and 20% fast typing with lower but acceptable accuracy.
I feel like a big improvement may be coming, but I'm perplexed that it hasn't arrived yet. I've got over 130 hours of serious practice logged and I'm still struggling to reach 25wpm - how is that possible? There's virtually no-one with 1,000 quotes typed running at under 30wpm. I wonder what my stumbling block is?
Despite all that, I'm enjoying the practice and I'm focusing on the process so I guess I'm fairly sanguine about the results. Some things take longer than others.