As students, every day is consumed with practice with the goal of passing your next speed test. You have so much to do: practice your briefs, tackle tricky passages, read back, correct your errors, work on finger exercises. But have you given any thought to your writer?
Your writer is your means of making a living. It will always be just you and your machine on assignment, working together as one unit. You may be using an old machine in school – the machine I used was a verifiable antique – but when you are out in the working world and purchase your very own new model, special care will be necessary to keep your machine in top working condition. Machine neglect leads to machine failure. Machine failure leads to expensive repairs and lost income. If you are lucky, you will have a hint that your machine needs service; but more often than not, you will be given no advance notice that your machine is about to fail. You will discover that it does not work when you are on assignment and attempt to turn it on. Bad timing indeed.
I know reporters who send their writers in every year for a checkup, usually when they go on vacation. Yes, these machines are workhorses, but they also have delicate electronics that can benefit from examination by certified technicians. There are so many moving parts. Needless to say, if all are in top working order, you will write with greater ease and with less effort. If your keys are sticking and out of alignment, it will slow you down and affect your writing accuracy, efficiency, and lengthen your editing time. Reporters notice a big difference after their machines have been serviced.
“Machine neglect leads to machine failure.
Machine failure leads to expensive repairs and lost income.”
You may want to purchase a Writer Protection Plan along with your new writer as our machines take a lot of abuse on a daily basis. Yes, it is expensive, but the cost of parts and labor can easily exceed the cost of a protection plan. Repair of the main PC board, for example, is around $2,000. In my opinion, the peace of mind is worth it. There are different options depending on your price point that you should investigate, such as whether or not you want a loaner provided while your machine is being repaired so you can continue working. These plans basically cover labor, parts, shipping, and updates. Discounts are offered for STAR members and students. You should also consider an insurance rider for your machine. That will include breakage and equipment replacement from accidents, theft, vandalism, fire, and natural disasters.
The condition of your machine reflects on you. I’ve heard machines so loud as to be distracting. I’ve seen machines covered in pet hair. I’ve also seen reporters throw their machines in their cases without care or adequate protection. I find all of these scenarios unsettling! Take care of your machine, and it will take care of you.
NOTE: Buyer beware! If you can’t afford a new writer, consider purchasing a certified, pre-owned writer from a reputable source like Stenograph. Don’t waste your money buying obsolete legacy writers that are no longer in production and are no longer supported for lack of parts.