Voice Dictation Software

Posted on Posted in The Writing Life

Fanfare please – the book has left the building. I repeat. The book has left the building.

I had great fun writing this book so fingers are firmly crossed that that reflects in the level of revisions needed. Revisions are so not cool it is not funny.

As a result of re-organising my office recently [ procrastination of the highest quality] I came across a copy of Romance Matters from Spring 2008.

Inside this excellent magazine from the RNA was an article by Victoria Connelly called ‘Continuing the Oral Tradition’ in which Victoria described her conversion to Dragonspeak voice dictation software. Victoria switched to using the software because of her problem with RSI – which seems to be an increasingly common strain injury for writers.

That was in 2008. And every word is still valid today – because..big breath… Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, my name is Nina and I am addicted to Dragonspeak Naturally Speaking 11.

Why do I like it?

* when I am working on a particularly difficult scene or section, or jotting down dialogue snatches and character profiles while reclining in my boudoir, I write long hand on A4 pads and  then type in the text, editing as needed. As I do not touch type this can be both laborious and my typing is not the best. Dictation is about 5x faster than typing.

* I overwrite… everything. Then hack back at the mountains of ore to dig up the gems. As a result my process uses a fast discovery draft then detailed revisions and reverse plotting. That first draft is a great way of exploring ideas and  getting them onto paper.

* notes are suddenly a doddle. No more sticky notes or back of envelopes. Just dictate straight into Word or Notepad etc. and I can speak faster than I can type.

* the newer versions of this software are so clever it is scary. All the keyboard functions and drop down box tools are there, and it will punctuate automatically if you want it to. Just tell it what it do =- and it does it. The software comes with a head set and side microphone which you can position exactly where you like.

* I have typed in well over a million words in my time  with a lot more to come – my hands are precious.

No, it is not suitable for tiny changes, and you may have to teach it unusual words etc but for long sections of text, including e-mails – brilliant.

And no. I don’t use it all the time but I love having it available if I need it. And there are all kinds of upgrades if you need them including a wireless version for those who like to dictate.  Including one for the IPad etc.

What would Babs have said?

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