Anyone who’s ever tried to use any computer I’ve had over the past decade has learned the hard way that I’m a Dvorak typist. In fact, I’ve been typing on the Dvorak keyboard layout for almost a decade now. I learned the Dvorak keyboard layout during the 2013 floods in Boulder County, Colorado. At the time, I was living in Longmont. I was stuck at home due to the rain. Transit wasn’t running at all, so I needed something to do to pass the time. So, I decided to whip out a keyboard map I printed from the Dvorak Zine and switch my new MacBook’s keyboard to Dvorak. No time like the present!
Confession Time: Why I Needed To Learn the Dvorak Layout
I used to hunt and peck when typing. Yes, I was someone who programmed for a living and was hunting and pecking. I learned a ton of bad habits when I was learning how to type, which is odd since I took a keyboarding class in high school. However, my typing speed was never that great. It was high time to fix that shit. Dvorak was my ticket to touch typing.
And it worked. I’ve been touch typing ever since I spent a week learning the Dvorak keyboard layout. Now, the thing is… can I tell you where the “o” is on a Dvorak keyboard? Sure. Could I tell you if I weren’t allowed to move at all and/or I weren’t in front of a Qwerty keyboard? Not a chance. I’d be telling you from muscle memory. I know that my left ring finger would be the one to hit the “o” on the Dvorak keyboard, meaning that it would be the letter “s” on the Qwerty keyboard. It’s pure muscle memory.
So, if I’ve found a tool that works for me, why bring it up? Point is, I’ve been aware of another alternative keyboard layout called Colemak. And I’ve given a little thought to switching to Colemak. But the thing is, my speed is pretty appreciable and based on the advice of others, I don’t think Colemak could help improve it any further. I know I could hit 70-ish WPM if I took a typing test without preparing right now.
Point is, Dvorak is doing what I need it to do for me. I type pretty well and I do so without having to look at the keyboard except if someone hypothetically asked me why I’m hitting the wrong keys and yet, typing the right words. But usually, I’m too fast for people to notice that sort of thing. The fact that randos typically can’t just walk up and use my laptop is an added bonus.
I’m not looking to be a speed demon. I’m just looking to start writing novels.