Daring to Dvorak

I’m writing this article with a Dvorak keyboard layout. It arranges the letters on your keyboard differently, so that “D” becomes“E”, “K” becomes “T”. You can see the layout here. It’s slow, laborious, and my words per minute has dropped from 100 to 2, or thereabouts. To most people, it’s a completely worthless skill to learn, as they can type just fine on a standard keyboard. I fall into that category too, and before this week I wouldn’t have thought of attempting it. So why am I starting now? (No, the answer is not that I needed a topic to write about, though it does help!)

It has not been a good time on the work front. I’m back in the same role I left, being pulled in ten different directions, and making mistakes as a result. It feels meaningless and unfulfilling, but it pays the bills… which is more than I can say for writing.

It has not been a good time on the writing front, either. There was another rejection from the agent I’d hoped to land, after a month off work for serious rewrites. The other novel I’ve been working on has also stalled, with none of the scenes coming out any good.

What does any of this whining have to do with Dvorak?, I hear you ask. Why add to my frustrations with this, of all things? Quite simply, I’ve fallen into a rut. A negative, self-questioning kind of rut. And to combat it I decided to take something I was familiar with–something I did without thinking–and step right out of my comfort zone. It could have been anything, but I decided to go with Dvorak because typing is a big part of my everyday life. It’s a huge challenge for someone like me who types and talks at the same time. This forces me to think differently and concentrate on a task that’s usually effortless. It’s also a useful skill to have, as it will (eventually) increase my WPM while decreasing my chances of getting RSI.

I want to stretch my brain in new ways, and change up the ordinary and mundane. I want the “now” to be more than just getting by; I want it to be about never resting on my laurels but always striving to improve in some way, no matter how small. There is so much I can experience in the “now” as I work toward that distant dream, and so much I can learn. And it will all come together to form the person and the author that I’ll be.

Meanwhile, I’m off to buy a few keyboards to replace the ones I’m expecting to smash in the coming weeks.

Leanne Yong is an aspiring author who is working on her second young adult novel. Check out her blog at Clouded Memories for more information and a journal chronicling her latest foray into novel writing.

3 thoughts on “Daring to Dvorak

  1. I’m right behind you on this one. I challenged myself to switch a month ago – and I’m struggling, but it’s a good struggle. Sometimes I give in, switch keyboard mode in settings and touch-type Qwerty for speed, but I’m trying not to give in to the compulsion… Best of luck!

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