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- Registered: 12-Oct-2017
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I am finally getting around to share my experience with Colemak. Since after switching to this goodness I really love to type, my post might be long one. But TL;DR – Colemak makes typing silky smooth I love it. It creates a rhythm and flow. I can try to describe the feeling further, but then this guy already did it with dog memes, so nothing further to add. Switching is actually not that hard, once you are prepared that switching a keyboard layout is really hard :lol:.
I type around 50 WPM in QWERTY. My reasons for switching were partly that I wanted to improve my typing and speed, but also because somehow it always bugged me that something I use constantly is not optimized for the job.
I have never had any real pain in my hands, but the whole experience typing on QWERTY gives you that “There has to be something better than that” feeling. What pissed me the most is the placement of the “P”, it is just so nonsensical having “;” in the home row and stretching up for a relatively common letter.
I read a lot about alternate layouts, actually probably way more than anybody should ever read about keyboard layouts. If I invested the time spent reading in typing practice I would be at 230 WPM by now. But in a sense, it was interesting. I am probably going to write up a short summary of it so that future potential switchers can benefit from that knowledge. At one point, of course, I also tried to invent my own layout – and I did. Not just one but several, and they are all absolutely the best layouts ever created xD. I never really intended to use a custom layout, it was a more of a game, but by playing it I really came to appreciate how robust Colemak is.
I switched mostly using The Typing Cat tutor – no particular reason for choosing it, probably it was at the top of a Google search. It allows you to start practice right away. It took me two weeks around Easter break to get to about 30 WPM, with 2 hours of practice daily. What really helped me out was hearing about the concept of deliberate practice on a podcast. It was really timely and I tried to apply it to Colemak.
In the two weeks, I did about 2h a day or 30 hours total of deliberate practice to get off the ground with Colemak. I was in full Eye of the Tiger mindset, and even when not on a keyboard, I was often thinking “Right Index – N, Right Middle – E” to train my mind. I also switched my phone, so that Colemak was always in front of me. At about 30 WPM I was broadly functional and could start to feel the real benefits and pleasure of Colemak.
I see on forums people wonder how quick they can switch and then measure the time in weeks or months. I think the important question to ask yourself is “How Slow can you Switch?”, can you afford to slow down for a bit and devote some proper time for practice and learning a new layout. Trying to complete a regular daily task with a new layout in the beginning is bound to piss off your brain royally. I switched cold turkey at a time when I didn’t have to do a lot of productive work on a computer, but if you have to maintain productivity, Tarmak might be a good idea.
30 hours might not sound so much, but the first few ones are difficult. Your body is fighting you. I’d say it is too different from doing physical exercise – your biceps don’t want to do another set of lifting at a heavier weight, your legs don’t want to do that extra 1K of running. But your mind makes them and then you get a sense of accomplishment. Your finger muscles work the same way, and Colemak does give me a sense of accomplishment. It makes me happy to type on it.