100 thoughts about Shorthand.

Shorthand. Shorthand. When I started my journalism qualification, I didn’t know what to think; it’s a hard skill to master, and is kind of controversial. (Because, with recorders, why do we need it? Well, accuracy, and it’s more reliable.) Over the course of a year I have thought about it, a lot-from the buying of a textbook, to practicing at speed. Here are just a few of those thoughts, with links to resources I use throughout.

Never Been Gone by Carly Simon.

*On seeing the new textbook* “Oh, it’s sooo shiny.” / *On seeing the inside* “OH MY GOD this looks so complex!!” / “But it’s a secret language..” / “And I’d like to be fluent in it.”/ “That unit wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.” / “I can do this.”/ “THERE’S 20 UNITS I HAVE TO LEARN?!”/ “Best knuckle down.”/ “Oh, so that’s why it’s called Teeline.”/ “How does everyone who works in the industry make their outlines so neat?”/ *Sees another person’s Shorthand* “Fancy!” / “Why can’t mine be as neat as that?” / “Practice, practice, practice” / *Flings down pen in frustration.”/ “Everyone has their favourite pen for Shorthand? Are you mad?”/ “Ohhh, I see! That makes sense now..”/ “Sorry about being judgemental.”/ “Although you can’t read my thoughts…”/ “Or can you?”/ “Bics are too fine for me.” / “Ohh, Paperchase fineliners! I have found my shorthand pen!” /“Not another passage..” / “Damn, I lost the speed.” / “I can’t keep up”/ “Must practice more…”/ “Drilling is so dull.”

“Unless you use interesting words.”/ *Tests the skill of my Shorthand tutor with a stupidly long word.*/ “What other words can I ask her to draw?”/ “If I can’t get into journalism, I could always be a personal assistant.”/ “Even a secretary.”/ “What’s the outline for secretary?” / *Writes shopping list in Shorthand.* / *Forgets relatives can’t read it.* / “The R principle is the bane of my life!” / “Oh, I get it now…” / “Songs make it easier.”/ “And they are good practice.”/ *Selects Caledonia, covered by Amy MacDonald, to take down* / “But Headlong by Queen is way too fast!”/*Drifts off from practicing* “And you’re rushing’ Headlong, out of control…”/ “YES, I HAVE PASSED SIXTY WORDS A MINUTE!”/ “100 words a minute seems so far away.”/ “Will I ever get it?”/ “With practice you will.”/ “Keep going. Time yourself. 20 minutes at a time, remember.”/ “Word groupings will be the death of me.”/ “As will Common words.”/ *Goes back to drilling.* / “Maybe we should make up a rhyme, to test all the theory?”

The Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan.

*Must post a photo of Shorthand on Instagram* / *Blanches at the likes it receives*/ “Would anyone be interested in a blog post about it?”/ *Posts Instagram poll*/ “Even if it is only journalists who read it…”/ *Starts writing this post*/ “I can use SHORTHAND FOR INTERVIEWS!!” / “Am I a ‘proper’ journalist now?”/ “No, a trainee.”/ “Eighty words a minute sounds slow to me.” / “Maybe I should try a 100 word per minute passage?”/ “How do some of my classmates have a natural aptitude for this?”/ “How are my Outlines so messy?”/ *Tweets the teeline Twitter page. /*Divides pad into two sections*/ “Much better!”/ *Googles Shorthand blogs* / “Oh, this is interesting..” / “I can do this!” / “Can I?”/ “Really?”/ “Maybe having faith would work.”

“What does this outline say?”/ ” ‘She is dead’ or ‘She is deaf’?”/ “It’s okay, it’s a mock, I can learn.”/ “Am I falling behind?”/ “Keep going.”/ “You have come so far, you can only go further.” / “YEESS!!” / *Nods in satisfaction at completely a passage.* / “Maybe it could also be useful as a Blogger?” / *Tries to teach a pen pal and fails.*/ “Such a useful skill..” / *Lady says I’m like Lois Lane for taking a note* “Who is that?”/ *Quick Google* “Ohhh..” / *Smiles like the Cheshire Cat.*/ “Maybe I could use it when taking a phone call?” / “Well, that didn’t go too well.”/ “Better try again.”/ *Stops for a break.* / “I feel so bad when I don’t practice daily.” / “I have found an excellent song to practice with!”/ *Shares on Twitter*/ “Oh no, I HAVE A 100 EXAM SOON AND I AM SO NERVOUS!!” / *Stops to take a breath* / “What of it actually works?” / “Will it work?”/ “It has to.”/ “Doesn’t it?”

“I can do this. And I can pass this.”


  1. July 20, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    I remember looking for ages for my shorthand pen. I came to the conclusion in the end that any old pen will do! Brings back SO many memories!

  2. September 3, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    Haha this did make me laugh! I remember finding my shorthand pen and being over the moon! Somehow I reached 150 wpm but I definitely couldn’t do that now!

    Love Katy x


    • mademoisellewomen
      September 4, 2018 / 9:00 am

      How did you get to 150wpm? That’s so cool! I only got to 80..

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