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Learn to write ... but learn to type ... a bit!

Learn to write ... but learn to type ... a bit!

No law says you have to be an expert typist, typing 100 words per minute. You can be a two-finger typist if you like, and type as slowly as you please. You also might be daunted by the prospect of having to learn to 'touch type.' Don't be, because no one cares if you watch your fingers while you type.

In the last twenty years or so, when one had to learn to write, and to read, as a child, a lot of people learned at a computer. The vast majority of folks under 30 right now are already well acquainted with keyboards. But if you're a little older, never worked in an office, never had the need to type anything — you might easily have some of the best novels ever written locked up in yor head, but they're going to have to get out somehow!

Try a little bribery, as mentioned above. Or (and you might shudder as you read this, but give it some serious thought before you leave it behind), consider investing in a computer and either having the kids or grandkids come over and show you how to use ir properly, or get a book, or take a course ... or stay on this website, and we'll talk you through the rudiments! We're also going to take a close-up look at computers for writers: what you need to buy, and what you don't need or want, but the salesman will sell you anyway, if you let him, for an extra suitcase full of money.

Learning to type ... a bit ... is the best way to solve the problems involved when you've decided to learn to write fiction, stories, books, novels, absolutely from scratch. Computers to make typing easier, but there'sa downside: using them us not quite as simple as turning them on. You do have to learn to use a mouse (which is a pointing device, used to 'point at' and 'cliclk-to-activate things on the desktop. The desktop is the computer's basic screen, before any program is started up. The 'things' on the desktop are 'icons' — you click on them to choose which program you want, and start it.)

In short, there's a small learning curve before you actually get started learning to type. But when you can tell your mouse from your moitor, save files, open folders ... and all the stuff five year olds are doing without even thinking about it (!), you'll be ready to conquer the keyboard. There are some very good typing tutors, if you want to get into this seriously, but remember, the objective is to learn to WRITE, not to type. It's your words, your plots, ideas, characters and situations which are important, not the process by which they get inside the computer.

Using a computer also gives you the ability to have the machine do a quick proofread for you. It's called 'spell cehcking,' and it will certainly pick up spelling errors, should you make them. However, it's far more useful for picking up typographical errors, which is sees by matching tyor typing against its database, the vocabulary of words it knows.

A word to the wise. Never trust the computer to proofread for you. It'll miss almost as many errors as it finds, because it doesn't read the contextual meaning of sentences, so it can't tell when you meant 'through' and typed 'threw,' or you wanted 'through' and got 'though,' or wanted to say 'then' and typed 'them' instead. Unless there is a genuine error in a word (rotatoon = rotation, planer = planet, swign = swing, and so on), the spell checker sees nothing. The human eye is the only tool which will find many typos, becuse even now, as smart and powerful as computers are, they don't actually read. They match individual words against a monstrous database. When you decide to learn to write, challenged pop up everywhere: you just discovered you can beat the machines!

We're going to talk more abouot computers in another post: what to buy, what to skip, and how to save some money. We'll be looking at the hardware (the machines thesmselves) and software (the programs which run on the machines), and you can choose which is right for you before you put down a penny.

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