Whether you are a working court reporter or a student of court reporting, there are many life distractions that can divert your concentration.  In this time of sheltering in place it’s quite easy to become lazy, or simply disinterested by the mundaneness of being at home constantly.  It is time to look ourselves in the mirror and decide if this is where the rubber meets the road!

Let’s go ahead and have that conversation with ourselves – that one where we ask the really tough questions about who we are, are we good enough, have we met our goals – we know that talk!  Have we let our skills slip a bit simply because we’re not busy?  Is the news simply too depressing to really care?  Are we scared for our future and what the new normal may look like?

Now that we’ve answered the tough questions, let us begin to identify how we can get back on the path to success by focusing on sharpening our skills and dedicating time each day to practice.  There is practice material all around us; we just simply need to identify what works best for us.  Maybe it’s old practice dictation.  Maybe some of us do better with current material.  There is current events programming available 24/7, along with documentary-type channels – and if you’re feeling particularly ambitious try writing the weather for 45 minutes!

Another avenue to sharpen our skills is to take advantage of this time by doing some reading.  Reading helps to stimulate our imaginations, but it’s also a great way to see new words for the first time.  Try this:  When you come across a word that’s new to you, simply jot it down on a piece of paper; and when you practice the next time, look up the word so you know what it means, and add it to your dictionary.

Every court reporter will tell you that there are slow times in this profession, but the work always comes back and usually with a vengeance.  Instead of feeling afraid for the future, let’s use this time to perfect our skills, sharpen our vocabulary, and prepare ourselves for the influx of work coming on the horizon.  Let’s clear the cobwebs from our brains, chart a path to success, and make it come alive.  Find inspiration in unusual places – try listening to this podcast episode from a new reporter.

And when negativity finds its way to our minds, let’s remember that we bring value and a truly unique skill to market.  The time spent practicing and building our vocabulary and learning from those who came before us will all contribute to the success that lies with us.