The Steno Life
Issue #17

Winding down to the end of 2008! I think many of us feel like a new year is the time to start fresh - start over - start better! But wait! This year ain't over yet : ) There's still time to be a better you and do all those things you promised yourself you'd do THIS year! I know I still have a few things on my 2008 list. Climb Everest...maybe not. Find Bigfoot...not gonna happen. Discover the best chocolate chip cheesecake ever created...I can do it! So remember, you have about a month left - don't throw it away. You still have plenty of time to achieve more awesomeness in 2008!

As this will probably be the last issue of The Steno Life this year, let me just wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. I know that I've been blessed, and I hope you have been as well. If you need 60 seconds of silliness, feel free to watch this video I made with my wife and son for Halloween - It may take a couple minutes to download - just depends on your connection. Yes, we have WAY too much time on our hands : )

This edition focuses mainly on CAT software. Many of you gave me questions to ask the CAT software companies, and they were kind enough to answer! And there are other goodies as well!  As always, please don't email me about spelling or punctuation errors.  I appreciate it, but I'm writing this for content, not an English class.

Past issues of The Steno Life - Issue 1 Issue 2 Issue 3 Issue 4 Issue 5 Issue 6 Issue 7 Issue 8 Issue 9 Issue 10 Issue 11 Issue 12 Issue 13 Issue 14 Issue 15 Issue 16

Articles in this issue -

1 - Comparing CAT!
2 - Economy Busters - All My Websites!
3 - Make the Steno Shift!
4 - Progress - Not Passes!
5 - Contest Winner - New Contest!

Comparing CAT ! (back to top)

It's not often that you get to compare apples to apples...or CAT software to CAT software. But I've made an effort to do that here today! Three of the most recognized CAT software companies - Stenograph, Procat and Stenovations - were kind enough to take part in a questionnaire I sent them. They all received the same questions - many of them coming straight from students and reporters. Just click on each company below to read their interview responses. Other CAT companies were invited to participate as well, but either did not reply or did not get their answers in in time.

Stenograph - Case CATalyst (Judy Wolf - Marketing Product Manager)
Procat - Winner - (Deby Owens Sebastian - National Sales Manager)
Stenovations - digitalCAT (Carmen Santone - Director of Sales)

Economy Busters - All My Websites! (back to top)

Seems everyone is feeling the financial pinch these days, myself included. It's just horrible to hear that there are students dropping out of school because they just can't pay for it. For many, it comes down to steno or food. Gotta go with the food on that one. But I am proud to say that I have not raised prices on ANY of my websites in over 6 years. And I have no plans to. Below are the specials I'm running till the end of the year. I hope they help. - Join our online program before December 31st and you'll get $110 OFF your starting fee. Once you join you have 6 months to actually start, so if you're sure you'll be starting in the next 6 months, now's the time to sign up! SimplySteno has shown that you DON'T need to be at a campus to succeed. Studying at home is no longer just a second option - it's the first choice for many. This special may not be used in conjunction with any other offer. I invite you to read my testimonials and ask me about our successful students. or - If you're planning on taking the RPR exam or a CSR exam in the next 6 months, now's a good time to get these prep programs - either the 3 or the 5 weeks. All programs are 15% off! And you're welcome to do them more than once. - Place any 12-week audio or 8-week Animation Dictation order and get 2 extra weeks for FREE! Also, as long as you keep renewing your order, we'll throw Medical Minutes into the mix for FREE as well.

Make The Steno Shift! (back to top)

Just wanted to pass along part of a project I've been working on - gathering CONCRETE feedback as to how this whole steno thing works...and doesn't work : ) Though no two writers are exactly the same, I'd say that 95% of you are 95% the same. So that's pretty close! One of the biggest issues I see with struggling students is they've thinned their focus. They are all over the map - looking for steno answers - hoping to find that one thing that will push them forward. And while I have no problem with looking for answers, often it's the very energy it takes to look elsewhere that is that is the problem - sucking energy and focus from where you really need it.

So I went to one of my students, Sarah. I felt she was a prime example. When I first saw Sarah's work, I knew she was a skilled writer - she had good accuracy and showed potential. But...she was also asking me a lot of questions about things she read on message boards - how to improve this - how to improve that - a different way to do this - a "better" way to do that. Beyond the boards she was also looking for reasons she was allowed to case she did fail. Maybe she learned the wrong way - maybe her past was sentencing her to steno doom, no matter what she did. By looking back, she really didn't have to look forward.

I pointed this out several times to Sarah - "You're all over the map." And she agreed, but kept up with her searches for some time. Then...I noticed it...a shift. She seemed happier. Her writing was improving. I wasn't seeing her looking back. Now I'm NOT saying she's now zipping through school and will be a reporter by next week! But she's making progress and DEFINITELY taking forward steps. And you can read her own words below - get some insight into the balance she has now, and how that's, in fact, the magic bullet.

"I would be happy to share about my "shift" to the positive. I really think that is what it was.

Ironically, it took leaving all the 'motivational' stuff of internet boards/groups behind and just focusing on me and my writing. Letting go of frustrations -- learning the 'wrong' theory, inadequate teachers/school, disappointments about not sticking to a predetermined timeline of finishing school, etc. It wasn't just in relation to court reporting, either. I have learned to relax and do more things for myself outside of CR -- like exercise, read, get together with friends for coffee and other things I am interested in. I also established a schedule with some flexibility, but one that sets me up for success. I have two things I make time for everyday (Monday - Friday): they are exercise and court reporting. I have also tried not to be so hard on myself when I don't get as much machine time in as I wanted (which is almost always an hour or more beyond the daily SimplySteno lesson) -- although, now my 'goals' are more loosely defined and I focus on overall progress instead of a test. Similar to the email you sent out a while back about tests simply being a 'snapshot in time' and progress is steady and sustainable speed.

This all stemmed from 'shifting' or reframing my outlook. It's all a matter of perspective. In making a positive 'shift' you have to be really honest with yourself. Is what you're doing working for you? If you read or hear about something that others are having success with and you think it will work for you, try it, but don't hesitate to chuck it if you find it's not working for you. Practice with a purpose and make the most of the time you have. It's not about practicing more, it's about practicing smart. It takes self honesty to practice smart.

I am looking forward to my morning workout and writing on my machine. BTW, I actually enjoy writing on my machine now. Also, I am entering the 'zone' more frequently and just enjoying listening to the dictations. The congressionals can be brutal, but when I just listen and write without get frantic and overthinking, I'm actually learning some things I didn't know about our country and how government really works/thinks. ;) Makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

Sarah :)"

Progress - Not Passes! (back to top)

I'm no fool. I understand the value of passing a test. What an awesome feeling that is! A pass is something you get to share with others. It's tangible - you can hold it in your hand and dance around the room with it! So I would never belittle the power of passing a test - the value of that instant gratification. On the other hand, I don't give it much credit when it comes to the overall value of your writing. A test is a snapshot in time - a Polaroid that captures a single moment. Your steno life as a student is not measured by a snapshot. It's measured by video - a sprawling storyline with ups and downs and - I hope - a happy ending. Progress is what you should be striving for - progress sticks with you - progress is forever. Passes come and go - progress is permanent.

Contest Winner - New Contest ! (back to top)

And we have a winner! Madeline Lopez has won the Daffy Duck/Daisy Duck Court Reporting print : ) Congrats to Madeline! And now we're announcing our new contest. We're giving away the cool Gripmaster - the finger/hand exerciser that really keeps those digits in shape. I've put a picture below. To enter, you must leave a new review on, then email me at Visit our Contest Page for more details.

Marc Greenberg