In school no one told us that there are more than one keyboard layout. The truth is I don't know how many people know this fact.
Right about now you might be wondering what is the point of this post. A friend of mine asked me the other night how did they come to use the QWERTY layout? At time my thought was, what a dumb question to ask? What do I care how they've come to using it. I mean everyone has a QWERTY keyboard.
The question stuck with me, and I decided to do a Google search. Of course the first thing I found was a Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwerty. As it goes it looks like the QWERTY layout was the best layout for typewriters so they wouldn't get stuck. My thought was WTF!!! It looks like after several years of try-and-error Christopher Sholes found a pattern that would suit typewriters. By suit I mean they were ok since you weren't able to write too fast and the printing points wouldn't collide.
Well it looks like since the first computer programs were written on a typewriter later when they had to have a keyboard for more evolved form of typewriters aka the PC they kept this format not because it was the best.. but because everyone got accustomed to it. Hurray for them, bad for us.
Another dude known as Dr. August Dvorak published in 1963 after carefully studying the human hand and the frequency of certain letters came up with a new layout that doesn't require such wide movements of the fingers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard.
Now we're taking this is something that resulted after studying certain patterns and that is supposed to increase the speed at which we write.
The latest and probably the greatest layout is Colemak. You can read all you want about it on they're web site. And I strongly encourage you to give it a lot of thought and consideration to this issues especially if you're in the writers bench and if you're interested in improving you're speed.
Also try learning how to write without looking at your keys. It's really easy and you can master it really fast. It's even better if you do this with one of the more advanced layouts.