I’m trying to teach myself how to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Not exactly how I normally write, but I really want to get used to using it. See I’m kinda dyslexic and I don’t want to rely on my eyes when I’m writing. I also have very bad posture, so I would like to get to a place where I can use a wireless microphone and walk around the room while composing my thoughts. So what I’m going to do is write some blog entries using my voice.
It takes a lot of practice to use the microphone, especially when it comes to punctuation. You have to actually announce all of the punctuation. Although, I find that as I’m using it I’m getting more and more accustomed to doing that. I’m also getting somewhat used to looking at my paragraphs and reading them behind where I’m actually talking. Which lets me edit on the fly.
Learning the voice commands is actually kinda difficult. But once you start to hang of it, you throw out the commands like it’s nothing. A lot of the reviews I read about the software says the more I use it the more familiar it will become with me, and the more familiar I will become with it. So, what I’m doing now is trying to just talk to my computer in whatever way I can to improve my relationship with the software. I’m not sure if I’m actually going to be able to use it for fiction, because a different part of my brain gets engaged and I over think what I’m saying. It might be because I’m trying to work on book 5 of the Seven Keys Saga, or it might be that I’m not used to telling stories out loud.
I will say that just writing this blog post using my voice has gone much easier and much more fluidly for me. I haven’t had nearly as many starts and stops or needed to correct as much as when I was writing fiction.
When I’m typing with my fingers I can write about 1500 words per hour when I’m in the zone. In the first hour of using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I managed to get about 750 words written. A lot of that was me going back over the same material again and again. I’m not sure if that means I am writing slower using dictation, or if I’m just crappy at writing tonight.
So far though, this blog post is already 500 words. I’ve been doing it for less than 10 minutes. Which is actually only 50 words a minute. Not the greatest typing speed, but, I’ve never actually tracked my speed when writing blog posts, so I don’t know if that’s an improvement or not.
It is actually fair to say that talking out my thoughts is going to cause me to ramble more.
The truth is, when I write a blog post, I tend to ramble. In fact on my recent article about ranting, the first comment I got from my father when he read it was his difference between a rant and rambling incoherently. Really I’m normally okay with that. The blog is not (usually) me trying to make a statement. It’s not (usually) me writing fiction. It’s my journal. So I don’t really care if my journal is well put together.
What I do care about is learning to use the tools available to me to get more done.
I’ve actually been really interested in dictation software for a long time. I first learned about DNS a few years ago. I wanted to check it out, but I didn’t have the money. Recently the price for older versions of the software went down on Amazon. It used to be well over $100, but you can now pick up older versions for about $30.
$30 is still a lot of money to spend on a piece of software you don’t know is going to work, but honestly, I spend more money per week on energy drinks.
What can I say? I have an addiction.
In the last three minutes I’ve added another 275 words, so my actual typing speed is starting to increase with my dictation. What I really need to do is get out of my own way when I’m writing the fiction and let my voice just flow out of me.
I’m not looking to create a polished final draft using my voice.
I’m actually just looking to get the first draft out as quickly as possible. There are some writers out there who are using dictation software to hit 3500 to 4500 words per hour consistently. I would like to be one of those writers. I always have to put down several drafts of the book anyway, so I might as well get through the sucky first draft in a few days.
I’m going to spend the rest of this week training myself to use the software. Hopefully, by the end of Sunday, I’ll be able to burn through my first draft using just my voice.
I did not get the professional version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I kinda wish I did because I like to drive around and use my digital recorder for brainstorming. I would like to get to the place where I can transcribe it. The professional version of the software allows you to do that, but it costs close to 200 bucks.
I read in the comments of another writer’s review that you can run a line from your recorder to the microphone input on your computer and use it the same way you would use a microphone for voice dictation, thus bypassing that extra cost. I don’t know if that works or not. I’m going to try it, and if it does awesome, if not, too bad.
Hopefully, you won’t get too mad at me while I’m experimenting. I tend to ramble anyway, and I think it gets worse when I’m talking. Some of you are probably used to it. Hopefully.
I’m hoping that some of you have switched over to listening to the New Writer Podcast. If you have, you know I tend to drive around and ramble to myself. Sometimes, there’s some gold in them there hills. Most of the time, though, it’s just me talking because I like to hear the sound of my own voice.
Okay this blog post is now close to 1200 words, so I should probably stop. Like I said, I like the sound of my own voice.
I might not end up using this for friction, but I do think it’s actually making my blogging easier. Who knows? Maybe once I get used to it, I’ll flow even easier than my typing.
Until next time,