Dvorak

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If you don’t know what keyboard maps are, then you’re using QWERTY. The name comes from the top row of letters above your left hand.

QWERTY was originally designed in the late 1800s, and became the popular choice for typewriters. Its popularity was carried over into the computer era, and it’s now the default for literally everything.

The thing is, QWERTY was designed for typewriters. Typing too fast on a mechanical typewriter can jam the machine, so one of the design features of QWERTY is that it intentionally slows down how fast most people can get their fingers flying. Computers, on the other hand (snerk), don’t care.

Writing involves a lot of typing as an unavoidable part of the process, so in addition to typing speed, problems like carpal tunnel deserve some concern for writers. QWERTY is not the best option for heavy typing.

There are several options out there that were designed specifically for computers with the goal of increasing speed while decreasing fatigue. Personally, I use Dvorak.

It takes some getting used to, but once you learn a new keyboard map like Dvorak, it’s much easier to type faster with fewer typos. The first thing that I noticed is that my hands don’t have to move all around the keyboard just to have a mundane conversation. Occasionally, if a typo does slip through, it confuses others how I managed to hit ‘p’ instead of the ‘y’. I can also recognize other Dvorak users through their typos.

Yes, I know this is boring, dry, computer nerd territory, but I happen to think this is an important topic for writers. Go ahead and give it a shot. At the very least, no one else will be able to use your laptop.

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