Calliope Writing

Say it Ain’t So: Fast Typists Are Shitty Writers?!
January 26, 2016, 5:02 pm
Filed under: News, Writing Tips | Tags: , , ,

I’ve always been proud of my typing speed. In seventh and eighth grades, I took a typing class (technically, it was a “keyboarding” class, so I was initially a little miffed to find typewriters instead of electric piano keyboards on the desks) and realized that my childhood piano classes made me quite the proficient typist.

“I can write FAST!” I inwardly bragged. “I can type as quickly as my brain talks to me!”


typing on keyboard

Look at me go!

But Is Speedy Typing a Good Thing?

After reading about a University of Waterloo study‘s findings, however, I don’t know if being a fast typist is something to boast about…

Study participants were asked to type essays, either using one or both hands. After analyzing the completed essays with text-analysis software, the researchers discovered that the tortoise really does win the race–in this case, anyway.

“This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people’s typing, their writing can get better,” said Professor Evan F. Risko, Canada Research Chair in Embodied and Embedded Cognition and senior author of the study. “. . . [O]ur results show that going fast can have its drawbacks. This is important to consider as writing tools continue to emerge that let us get our thoughts onto the proverbial page faster and faster.”

Thanks a lot, typing class.

How Fast Are You?

Not sure how you stand on the fast-to-slow typing scale? Here’s a typing test that will determine how many words you can type per minute.


keyboard and mouseI took the one-minute Aesop’s Fables test and scored 89 wpm. Not my best score, but the test still deems it to be “Pro” status. So now I have to work on training my hands to type slowly . . . or I’ll stick to handwriting those drips and dribbles of poems and stories.

Interesting Stories Floating Around the Interwebs

  • One writer’s not-so-idyllic foray into writing in solitude is outlined in an article on The Guardian.
  • Some great advice I tripped over from Lisa Congdon, which can easily be applied to writing:

“Choose one thing you love to draw or paint (and feel comfortable drawing or painting) already: an animal, object, a person, whatever. For thirty days, draw or paint that thing thirty different ways, a different way every day. You can use different mediums, expressions, positions, colors, whatever. Each day, push yourself to do something much different than the day before, but keep the subject the same. See how keeping one element constant (in this case, the “thing” you love to draw or paint) can allow you to break out creatively in other ways.”

  • Copyblogger talks kaizen and gives some killer, yet easy-to-implement, tips on how to be a better, more productive writer. The bathtub marker idea is genius (I use a waterproof pad of paper from AquaNotes).
  • Becoming a Writer: How have I not read this book? Putting it on my Goodreads to-read list now.
  • I came across this great tool to analyze headlines. Perfect for bloggers and marketing writers. I used it for the headline of this blog post, “Say it Ain’t So: Fast Typists Are Shitty Writers?!,” and it was graded with an acceptable B+. I got some great insights, too. Here’s a taste:

headline analysis

Back to our top story: When you write, are you one to type crazy-fast? Or do you take your time, selecting each word as the perfect one comes to you? Or do you say “Screw typing” altogether and opt to write with pen and paper?

6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sounds to me like they didn’t factor in editing and retyping. I can see why the software will have such results. Isn’t it best to write down/type what you want to write about so you can finish your piece? Then, you would reread and make the necessary edits. I believe the research only accounts for the first step in writing, not taking into consideration the second step that usually follows writing. So, to put a positive spin on it, I would say fast typists encourage prolific writing.

Liked by 1 person

Comment by Karina Pinella

Great points. I like the way you think.

Liked by 1 person

Comment by Katrina

I have no idea how fast I type but it’s pretty good for fat fingers.

Sent from my iPad


Liked by 1 person

Comment by Walker Phillips

Sounds like someone needs to take a typing test!


Comment by Katrina

Right now, I’m in a longhand phase, but I type more on a first draft of anything. The method effects my cadence, but also my enthusiasm, if that makes sense.

Liked by 1 person

Comment by Reprobate Typewriter

It totally makes sense!


Comment by Katrina

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