Learning Simplified

Hello all,

I'm a college student who recently found out about shorthand (I guess I never really considered what was done before modern stenography machines), and have decided to learn Gregg Simplified. This will be something just done for fun in my spare time, as it seems like a good skill to have. It might be useful for lecture notes if I manage to learn it before I graduate, but more likely it would just be handy for anything I jot down on paper.

After reading around this site and the few other resources available online, I purchased the Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified (2nd edition, 1955) from Amazon, and got a few Gregg-ruled steno pads. I plan to just work my way through that book, but was wondering if anyone had other suggestions of (cheap) resources that would help me learn. I know there are dictionaries out there, books of varying difficulty written in Gregg, practice worksheets and things, etc., but I don't know what's really useful and what isn't.

Also any general advice for beginners would be appreciated. I'm sure I'll be back with specific questions later, but at this point I've just been writing letters and basic outlines given in the book over and over. I guess one question would be... how important is it that my letters/outlines look very similar to those in the book. I remember learning cursive in school, and tracing exactly the paths for the letters, with no real tolerance for anything else. For Gregg, though, I find myself writing letters less slanted than the book (it's hard for me to do otherwise), and my outlines come out looking readable, but a bit different than those used by the author. Is that just a matter of style, or are there cases that are going to get me tripped up once I start learning more.

Oh, and one more question. What is the purpose of the vertical line down the middle of steno pads?

Thanks in advance.

(by jrdioko for everyone)