Learning to Type 100 Words per Minute

Preface

This post looks at the methodologies used, difficulties encountered and victories celebrated in retrospect as I spent an unhealthy amount of time in my apartment learning to touch type.


Motivation

Being able to jot down thoughts almost at talking speeds is far more valuable than the obvious advantages of typing fast like writing essays or answering E-Mails. For once I embraced perpetuating the stereotype and bit the bullet on imitating that seasoned League of Legends gamer, whose hands move with unfathomable speeds and accuracy on the keyboard.


Goal

Aside from Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs, the only other tool in the box of a business student is S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting:

100 words per minute (WPM) in a month, which would put me in the upper percentile of all typists. Fast is fun…


Baseline

Before this intense “typing training camp” I determined my baseline. The status-quo for a Gen-z like me is definitely better than Millennials or Baby Boomers who use at most two fingers.

I started off with 67 WPM, while using five fingers. This technique has accompanied me throughout my entire exploration of the Internet. Undoubtedly I could have made significant improvements in this technique with practice.

Using 50% more fingers has as bit more potential. So if I deliberately spend time typing, I might as well learn it properly.


Relearning

This old technique has served me for approximately 2 Million words over a decade, so this was arduous.

On the 6th of November I swore an oath to not indulge in the impure typing technique. The 10 finger touch typing QWERTY system was my new holy scripture.

Seeing my WPM dip to seven was a massive setback. Incorrectly typed letters were rectified by painfully reaching backspace. Whilst every two seconds one stiff finger moved across the keyboard to shyly press the next letter. I was drowning in regret as a large written assignment loomed over next week’s calendar.

I felt as elegant as Edward Scissorhands wiping his bloody arse.


My learning progress can be compartmentalized into three stage.

1. Kindergarten

Buying the iOS app TapTyping for a few Euros acted as a psychological deterrent from giving up and becoming a statistic. 99% of online course never get finished, 97% of online course never get started (No Source, but hopefully this still gets the point across .. and this is not a research paper… also screw in-text citations)

I started with the good ol’ “fff jjjj kkkfsssffddsf” , “asassfddfdffll” and “hhhhgggg fff”. Oh and did I mention the: “qqq pppp eee rrr ffdf”

Accuracy was paramount, speed came naturally with confidence.

2. Middle School

As I graduated the kindergarten of typing, I was beyond ecstatic to write some mentally demanding combinations of letters as shown above.

Opposed to most aspects in life, progress here was pretty linear. 20, 30, 40 WPM were each reached with about 2h of additional practice. With an acceptable typing speed I ended my 2 day hiatus of typing for Uni, but I eventually plateaued at 50WPM.

The metaphor of training your Pokémon’s up before going into the gym to one-shot K.O. every opponent has been my single greatest motivator. I drew sustenance from mental games like these to push me through literally typing the whole of Alice in the Wonderland, Act I of Romeo and Juliet and The United States Declaration of Independence. What a way to spend some Friday nights..

I vividly relieved High School through this exercise.

3. Big Boy League

I started feeling pretty burned out from writing such mentally undemanding texts, so my curiosity lead me to keybr.com

But what is m’re challenging than Shakespeare thee asketh?

Computer generated überwords employed by statistics and algorithms which obey the phonetic rules of the English language.

This feature also exacerbated my complete inability to cope with qualitative data, by tracking the progress in sexy graphs.

The overall progress was almost linear. At closer inspection the typing speed and error rate follow a sinusoidal trend, most likely explained by my fingers and mind having to warm up. The sharp spike in error rate at around the 300th sample may be attributed to switching keyboards.

Results

I hit 100WPM in 17 days

After 1 month I can hold 95 WPM consistently.

Net Practice Time: 21h 27min

Words Typed in deliberate practice: 50,000


Verdict

I think it was challenging to transcend beyond the current interests but also a refreshing project to just geek the fuck out. Pure interest was the main motivator, contradictory to the constant need to “step outside my comfort zone” or “seek discomfort”, as preached people who read unhealthy amounts of self help books.

Surprisingly, I could draw so many parallels from strength and endurance training in persevering through discomfort in my hands, which was at times close to pain.

I practiced diligence and patience. Even the data here shows, that the greatest mantra for when you think “this is not me” is: Practice, practice, practice!

If you are interested in learning or relearning your typing technique, the holidays are the best time to do it. In hindsight graduating to keybr.com at an earlier stage, could have expedited my progress.

Happy typing!

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