Discussion: Shorthand

101 journaling promtps (2)This morning I didn’t know what to write about on the blog, and so I consulted a little book I bought exactly 2 years ago (apparently): 101+ Creative Journaling Prompts by Kristal Norton.

The book is targeted at very arty people who like to create any kind of visual works of art. But there are also some gems in there to crank up the writerly juices and thought processes.

The very first section is Hopes, Dreams, [sic – see *Note*] & Goals. And the very first prompt is “What is something you want to learn how to do?” (Grammar note: There would usually be a full stop after these quotes, but as there’s already one included in the question mark, it’s not completely necessary any more.)

If you’d like to buy this book, you can find it here.

(*Note*: This is not really the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is properly used these days to avoid confusion, when the items in a list of words are not single words, as in “I like to eat my grandma and dogs” v “I like to eat, my grandma, and dogs”, rather than being optional at the end of any list of single words and before the word “and”. You can find clarification here.)

teeline for journalistsI’d like to learn shorthand. I wanted to learn shorthand at school, but it was classed as a dying skill in the late-1970s when I did my “options”, and my teachers wouldn’t let me do it. (They wouldn’t let me do drama either, but that’s another story.)

However, since then I’ve discovered that shorthand forms the bulk of the widely recognised NCTJ courses for journalists. I did a C&G (City & Guilds) in broadcast journalism, with BBC Radio, which was all of the NCTJ course but without the shorthand.

I’d love to learn shorthand so much I’ve started this book several times: Teeline for Journalists by Dawn Johnston. There’s a CD that I’ve already loaded onto my mp3 player, but I’ve always fallen down because I’ve not had anyone to read the “read out loud” exercises to me, and I’ve always stopped at that point.

So, this week’s discussion is shorthand. Do you have it? Would you like it? Should I have it? How best can I learn it?

Bonus discussion: What books help you when you need a prompt or two?

Thank you for participating. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Discussion: Shorthand

  1. carolwarham 16 December 2014 / 7:08 am

    Punctuation seems to keep changing. I was taught that you NEVER use a comma before and. I learnt teeline with NCTJ in the last millenia, in another life. I couldn’t use it now although I remember the basics. We were told to listen to tv or radio news take it down and then transcribe it. Have a go at recording the news and try that. Just aiming for the words you know initially.


    • Diane 16 December 2014 / 2:39 pm

      It’s not a real comma, just an Oxford comma, grammatically incorrect and only optional in an otherwise confusing list. Sadly, too many people think it’s now mandatory when it really is very optional.


  2. Nicola 17 December 2014 / 7:57 am

    I was always envious of my best friend who had shorthand writing skills but to be honest, as I can touch type I don’t really need it now. I do have a dictophone though, which helps in those instances when one needs to quickly make notes and a pencil isn’t available. Wishing you a lovely Christmas Diane and continued success throughout the new year.


    • Diane 17 December 2014 / 1:07 pm

      You see, they let me learn touch typing, but I’m not that fast to take dictation by touch typing, and when I’m interviewing … well, it takes me all my time to check my questions on the pad.

      The same to you, Nicola, and thanks for dropping by this year. 🙂


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