In the beginning do not think of speed. Banish it from your thoughts. If you master each lesson as you come to it, and write the forms repeatedly, taking care to write them with exactness you will have no difficulty in attaining speed when the proper time comes.
Always use good materials--good notebooks, good pencils, good pens. Our shorthand style may be ruined by the use of cheap pencils and cheap notebooks.
If you use a pencil, keep it sharp. An emanate shorthand reporter once said, "Sharp wits and sharp pencils go together." Keep both sharp.
If there is an eraser on the end of your pencil, cut if off. While you are erasing one word incorrectly written, you could strike out the form and write several other words. The erasing habit is responsible for countless failures.
The facility with which you attain expertness in shorthand depends very largely on how the fundamental word building principles are studied. These principles are set forth in the first lessons.
There are so few rules in Gregg Shorthand that you ought to find it easy to commit their application to memory. Your whole success as a writer rests upon your familiarity with the word-building principles--the principles presented in the text-book. It goes without staying that if you really understand these principles, really know then, you will not have much difficulty in applying them. But really knowing them is quite different in actual practice from being able to apply them instantly.
Shorthand of itself is different, perhaps, from any subject you have ever tried to master in that it requires a special and different effort to become skillful in its use. In order to make shorthand of value, the shorthand forms should first be theoretically correct; every outline must conform to well-established principles to make it available for real expert work.
Be enthusiastic about learning shorthand. It's actually pretty fun. Even if you want to learn it to take notes in class, for work, or anything else that it isn't just for a hobby.
Put forth great effort and work conscientiously.
Just do as the rules tell you. There is some discussion about how a certain outline doesn't seem correct, but usually there is a reason why it's written that way. And once you learn Gregg Shorthand you can always adapt it to fit you. If you want to read the shorthand books (such as Alice in Wonderland) then you want to stay as close to the rules as possible. It is also possible that the book is incorrect. You may find the correct outline later. remember these were written by humans, who make errors.
Shorthand is not easy. BUT it's NOT hard either. Even a 10 day alphabet shorthand is not easy. You may learn it in 10 days, but probably write it as fast as you write longhand or even slower because you are thinking out the outline. It can be learned. Millions have learned Gregg Shorthand, as well as more complicated shorthand theories. You can too.
[Direct quote from the magazine:] Success will come only in so far as you center whole-heartedly upon the task and follow thoughtfully the suggestions of those who have been over the same road themselves.
Remember that the training derived from a thorough study of shorthand is equivalent to the benefit received from the study of a dead language, and that your shorthand will probably be of much more use to you in a practical way.
Above all, believe in your system and have confidence in your teacher, then good results will be noticeable in a very shorthand time.
Characters must be written and they must be written quickly from the start. Exactness will come by repetition.
[This means that you write slow at the beginning, BUT you don't write too slow. Practice an outline until it becomes fairly easy for you to write. In the beginning, after several times writing it, you should be able to write it as fast as you do longhand.]
The plan of training should embrace such features as copying of shorthand plates [plates refer to anything written in shorthand in a textbook or magazine], to preserve a correct style of writing; drill on the frequent combinations, the wordsigns [brief forms], and the common phrases [simple words combined into one outline], until the execution becomes automatic;
writing thoroughly practiced matter from dictation, to train the hand to swift transitions; writing new matter from dictation, to cultivate the word-building faculty; reporting [writing] lectures, sermons, etc., whenever opportunity offers;
reading back all of one's own notes; reading the correctly-written shorthand in wide range of literature now available in the system;
drills in penmanship--both shorthand penmanship and long hand penmanship, cultivating the free-arm movement.
If a program of this kind is followed, there will be no such things as obstacles to speed.
I wanted to emphasis this. You need to practice writing your shorthand outlines so you can read them in the future.
I know you won't be perfect, and your shorthand "exactness" will slip after you finish and write. But work on getting better as you learn. Practice.
When you finish your shorthand "class" and are just writing, coming back to relearn is always a good idea. You may think you're being clever inventing new symbols, but you may just unlearn some theory and if you're like me, confuse yourself. Yes, you can create symbols for words you can't find, like new technology terms, but you don't have to reinvent the wheel or create an entire new shorthand system (unless you want).
"Gregg Shorthand had achieved the most extraordinary success ever attained by any system in the history of shorthand." John Robert Gregg, 1922
To get the best results it is important to devote a certain time to the study each day. it is far better to study or practice fifteen minutes a day than to employ three hours at one time and then lay aside the book for a week.
The necessity for more careful reading cannot be too strongly urged. Many would-be learners have failed to master the art because they did not understand the value of reading.
If the perfect forms become familiar before you attempt to write without a copy you will not only make fewer blunders but be able to see your blunders and correct them.
This is important if you have no teacher to examine your work.
Acquire a habit at the outset of making the constant outlines exact, in length and curve, and of placing the vowels properly. You should have no thought of speed in writing.
Form a picture of the complete word in your mind before you begin to write it, then write without halting. Let all thinking be done between words.