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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Skills, Skills, Skills...

Skills at the computer serve a writer well.
Photo credit | Elizabeth King Humphrey
The other day, my 10-year-old daughter decided to practice creating bar graphs--computer skills that she was learning in her fifth-grade class. She started asking me about my skills: computer, reading, writing, editing, and others...concentrating on how I managed and learned them by high school.

I surprised her when I admitted that computers weren't as common during my high school days as they are today. (Yes, I'm one of those ancient people who learned to type on a typewriter.)

As she continued to graph my various skills, I realized that as a writer and editor, I am fortunate that I learned to type...and have managed to keep up my skills, learning new computer programs, adding more skills on the computer. Although I've had many other jobs before I focused on writing, at every step of my life, I've used this one skill that seemed so bland to me as a young teenager.

My ability to type certainly helped me transition into working with words. But now I'm so geeky that one day I think I will even learn how to type using a Dvorak keyboard (would it be simpler for someone so accustomed to the QWERTY keyboard?)

There are few skills I can recall (see above comment about my ancient age) that I learned that long ago that I still use today. Counting on my fingers is probably the other skill I use in a pinch. 

Researching, I think, is an important skill, which has grown on me and is incredibly useful as a writer. And, as you may recall, I've recently spent a good chunk of time strengthening my editing abilities, which I've found extremely useful. 

Although my daughter hunts and pecks at the keyboard, I think about the skills her generation will be using when they are my age. Is there one that will stand out to her? Or will voice-recognition software make typing obsolete for everyone? Typing on a computer might seem archaic to them just as using a typewriter might seem antiquated to folks today.

What skills are important to you as a writer? What skills did you learn as a child that have stood the test of time and helped you become a better writer or editor? Are there skills you wish you had now--and what can you do to learn them?

Elizabeth's daughter gave her mom fairly high marks for her computer skills--adjusting for the fact that she started learning how to use computers after high school. Fortunately, she didn't judge Elizabeth's "tweeting" skills, but you can follow her on Twitter @Eliz_Humphrey.

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Blogger Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

As our children show us, the times times really are always

7:04 AM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

I must be ancient, too, Elizabeth. I learned to type on a typewriter. I enjoy typing - even liked it in high school - and won a few typing awards.

I also wonder about voice recognition software and what its place will be. Will a keyboard eventually become obsolete?

1:34 PM  

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