I was chatting with Chris Jordan, my husband, last night about my writing. He was monitoring a text stream I was doing for a client via Remote Counsel. Chris commented on how my writing reminds him of golfing. I said, “What?” He said he can tell I write differently than I did when he first met me 17 years ago.
I am getting older, almost 50, and my writing style has changed. I don’t pound as hard as I did when I first got out of school, and I look for shortcuts whenever possible. If I am building a job dictionary, my tendency is to write Mr. and the first syllable of a person’s name, and that becomes my brief. I used to wait until a break to create briefs so attorneys watching my writing through interactive realtime would never see any of my briefs written on the fly or shortcuts. As a seasoned court reporter, I know the attorneys will not freak out if I create briefs before their very eyes, and they know how to read through them. My stress level is nothing compared to when I was a new court reporter.
So what does that have to do with golfing?
When Chris first began playing golf in college, he says his tendency was to whack the ball with all of his might. It was not a game of finesse or laying up shots. It was a game of hit the ball super hard, get to the next shot, and end up being frustrated by the 18th hole. These days, as a 51-year-old, Chris has slowed down his stroke, is more conscious of form, and the ball goes a lot farther and where it is supposed to go.
As a new court reporter, one might have the tendency to pound the keys, worry about every stroke being perfect, and by the end of the day be exhausted. My advice is to remember to take deep breaths and focus on stroking fewer keys (use briefs). Especially learn the briefs for objections. The attorneys say the same thing over and over, for instance, lack of foundation; calls for speculation; not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. A court reporter can do some dramatic catching-up learning the briefs for objections
The less pounding, the fewer strokes a court reporter makes, the less stress you will place on your body and your mind.
By the way, my new sport is going to be golf. It will be a great escape from the day-to-day court reporting world.