I’m trying to learn how to speed read. Why? There’s so much to learn and so little time! He says, yawning into his tea at 6am. I had never figured myself a fast or even slow reader, but during reading one of Tony Robbins books, he talks of going on a speed reading course to maximise his time. This is fascinating: not only because I’d never thought of such a simplistic approach, but also it’s a microcosm of our entire lives. Slow down what you’re doing now to adjust a technique currently, so that it’ll pay dividends in the future. Worth a shot, right?
Free Course on Speed Reading
Sparing no expense, in this instance I’ve jumped onto Lynda.com and whacked in my credit card for a free 30-day trial. This enables to you to access as many courses as you like for the period. There are a few things I do constantly which will help me immensely – namely reading and writing.
I can type quickly but generally with only 60% of my fingers. I write this blog, another blog, write motorcycle articles and have started assembling material for my next book. My every day job that pays me money (unlike the other things!) involves writing emails and presentation packs often, so it’s a skill that if I improve upon it, will help immensely.
Secondly reading. I read every day, whether news articles or a book or my own articles, editing them before sending on to the site owner or publisher. In all of these cases, I need research. Taking no one by surprise, I don’t possess the abundance of knowledge I need to publish the article in the first place. If I did, that would be incredible, but alas!
Methods for Speed Reading
So here are the chief reading tips so far from the Speed Reading Course, run by a lovely chap called Paul Novak who takes his time to explain the complexities so that even I can understand it:
- I want to be leaner
- Have you gone to the gym at all?
- Have you gone to the gym at all and done anything other than read your phone?
- ….ermm…say what? Isn’t just going enough?
Admittedly when I tried this, I was only reading one pagers, but by reading through at normal pace and then reading through and pushing myself, I managed to decrease a page of text from 58 seconds to 44 seconds after several tries, roughly a 25% increase, meaning my 250 words per minute was already becoming 300. My time may have been quicker I hadn’t stopped every couple of sentences to admire a salient point or quotation I needed to note down for later!
Top Tips for Memory Recall
I'm not expert, but apparently reading is easier with your eyes open. But remembering what you've read sometimes does get difficult, so here are some is some helping guidelines:
Types of Memory
Speed Reading Tips
Other tips for improving the speed of your reading whilst not actually bothering to read most of the written text is simply skipping over the subtext and going straight for the headlines:
Try it and let me know how you go! As with everything, if you want to get good at something, you have to practice! I am seeing the irony that the speed reading post is probably one of the longest reads I've created....hmm...
The Wonder of Women
Mesmerising isn’t a skill to be gloating about casually, especially if you may end up being tasked to charm a cobra from a basket as testament to your abilities. And yet here I find myself absolutely transfixed, hypnotised by wonder. In particular, a woman of wonder.
I really enjoy most of the comic adaptions and although openly confess utter ignorance in terms of accurate portrayals to the hallowed magazines, I usually sit there on my fat ass and scoff as much salty popcorn and teeth ache juice into my fat face as is physically possible within a 2-hour filming window without passing out.
It’s not often I’m drawn to a character on screen; they must possess some fairly sturdy acting chops to muster that kind of attention. An actor of Olivier or Burton proportions must be equalled or eclipsed for me trace their every movement on screen, with maw agape and popcorn tumbling out. Or the complete opposite of course, being so horrendously bad that you watch them hoping to befall some kind of film-ending injury. In the case of Gal Gadot though, you are simply mesmerised by her sheer beauty. The universe stands back and says “you thought auroras were special? Look at this!”
Why? Because of the way the movie was shot. Oh, and also because she is stunningly beautiful with a bewitching countenance that stops time. She is almost as striking as my girlfriend (bases = covered). But mostly this was, I think, because of the way the film was created: every other character seems slightly drab, slightly less colourful. It’s partly set in Second World War Britain, so everyone is a lot less tanned with some yellow teeth popping into the picture at opportune moments reminding us that the next time we see the beautiful Wonder Gal, her teeth seem sculpted from the finest marble by Michelangelo himself. Then there’s the smile that would charm a hurricane, and hair that calmly bounces and bouffs to their own slow-motion Enya soundtrack despite the ferocity of the scene. I entirely expect the hair to have a film of its own in a year or two.
Worthy of Feminism
The movie itself is fairly average, with guessable plot-lines and acting within everyone’s limits, apart from the poor sods that have to appear in the same scene as that woman. There is though a clear triumph hidden underneath, and one which I think deserves serious merit.
This is the first time I’ve seen a superhero film led by a heroin that I genuinely enjoyed because she’s such a strong character. There were no gratuitous cleavage shots or scenes where Miss Gadot is casually walked in-on whilst climbing into her lingerie. In fact, we see more of Chris Pine’s body than we do of Wonder Woman’s, which is fantastic! I mean fantastic for the film, not me necessarily, although Chris Pine fans will certainly not be leaving disappointed and the man does have a good body – credit where credit is due! I cannot remember a single pithy or corny line by Wonder Woman at all in fact (ok, there were a few average remarks). The script writers clearly made efforts to play it as straight as possible, and the film certainly reaps the rewards of that. Yes, there are some lines by the men that pin-point her bewitching beauty, but at the end it’s certainly the men and humankind in general that appear weak, not the new light of my life. It makes a change that the evil villain, Dr Poison, is also a woman and almost gets seduced by Chris Pine’s sexiness.
Finally, a Hollywood Superhero movie worthy of feminism. Well done one and all! Alien’s Ripley would be proud! Well, perhaps if my Gal were wearing overalls she may be proud, then again, even Ripley appeared in her tiny-whities. Which come to think about it, weren’t all that mesmerising.
Tips for Creativity
You're not saving the world
And that’s probably the summation of a few hundred pages. So is this book a waste of time? Absolutely not. It’s whimsical, amusing, endearing, and like an old friend, gently prods you into submission. Or rather, like a mother, gently nags you into it. There are wonderful titbits in there from Elizabeth such as interviews with Tom Waits around creating jewellery for other people’s minds (‘baubles for the mind’ is another common phrase) but I love the admission that I myself came to: stop being so serious, what you love probably doesn’t really matter.
To clarify that, if you work as a nurse or a doctor or a teacher or in the police force, you shape people’s lives. It genuinely matters when you don’t come to work. The world doesn’t end because they didn’t see a Rembrandt or didn’t like Don Quixote, and the world doesn’t end because you couldn’t finish a sentence, write a song or couldn’t get the shadows right on a cathedral painting.
To quote WC Fields, as Elizabeth does, “It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” Now I’m not quite brave enough to give up my life and become a ‘writer’ full-time, but that doesn’t mean I stop writing. It means I just go about it a different way than others do. But does that not make me a writer? I don’t think so.
I have written a book and had articles published in magazines along with my photography. I write in two blogs and a monthly motorcycle website, yet none of this makes me a writer in my eyes. If I sing, and I do, badly, the only note I can hold is a post-it. This does not make me a singer. For me it’s as simple as this: I write; I take photographs; I travel. None of this makes me a traveller, a photographer or a writer, but a person that enjoys pursuits to please himself. I write. I take photographs. I travel.
It’s what YOU want to be considered. I write for myself because I enjoy the writing process. If you write for others and one person hates it, what do you do then? Give up and never touch the keyboard? No, you keep writing. Some feedback will be valid, some will not, but it’s the creative process that is makes you do what you do.
P.S. I'll probably end up reading Eat Pray Love!
Writing and writing...