In the past few months, I’ve made two very serious attempts to learn how to type. Anyone that’s taken the time to read my alternately revealing and unsettling ‘About Me’ page will know that I type with exactly four fingers: the thumb, index and middle fingers on my right hand and the middle finger on my left. That’s it.
This system has worked out very well for me, as anyone who has read one of my 2,000-word posts can fervently confirm. So, I never really considered changing anything until I spent extended time with a few of my fellow writers and saw the true scale of my writing shortcomings. Some of these people type like Commander Data: eyes closed, hands a blur of motion, key clicks like a torrential downpour…
Freelancer Catherine Bodry types about 1,254 words per minute before coffee. Lonely Planet veteran Alex Leviton, who it should be noted has hands and fingers the size of cat paws, can simultaneously type, drink water, sing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and still average 70 words per minute.
So I decided for the sake of speed, accuracy and impressing girls at very select parties, I’d teach myself how to type properly. It went surprisingly well – for nearly 20 minutes. I was making short work of the typing tutorials that I found online before I realized two things: when I tried to type actual words, not tutorial exercises, my WPM speed dropped from 35 to about eight (after fixing all the typos) and the muscles in my forearms and the backs of my hands went numb faster than when I carry five bags of groceries. I soldiered on for a week, giving myself short lessons, but the hand/arm pain in addition to the new, unnatural brain strain spawning facial tics and leg spasms finally convinced me to give it a rest. So there would be no chance of anyone accusing me of quitting, I created the air-tight alibi of traveling to Thailand and Burma for five weeks. No one was the wiser.
Two weeks ago I started again, using positioning tips that didn’t make my hands go numb right away. Sadly, my desk is way too tall for typing ergonomic perfection, so if I ever wanna type for longer than two minutes, I have to move my laptop to the coffee table. Again, though the tutorials were pretty easy, when it came to typing real words, my WPM became insufferably slow. I began to worry that learning to type like Catherine and Alex would take longer than the delivery of an Italian traffic violation.
Then I found salvation. Well, not true salvation, because Obama is still dragging his feet while science eagerly awaits the thumbs up to start developing a bottomless keg of Strongbow, but close enough. My pal Alexis pointed me to a video interview (below) of Diablo Cody, she of “Juno” screenwriting insta-fame. At the 1:15 mark in the interview, it’s revealed that Diablo has always, and still, types with only two fingers!
What’d I tell you? Two finger typing caught on tape! So two things seem to be readily apparent: 1) literary geniuses can’t type and 2) I am twice as good at typing as Diablo Cody, which may mean that I’m only half the genius, but that’s still better than 90% of the writers in the 21st century, so there. In any case, that’s all I needed to hear to dump this ridiculous typing neurosis for the rest of eternity.
So, now that I’ve dispatched with that predicament, I was wondering it there are there any other writers out there that never bothered to learn proper typing, but have nevertheless written an Oscar-winning screenplay? Or at least carved out a modest career in writing?
Come on. I know you’re out there.