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#Blogshare – Healthy Writer Tips: How To Use Dictation For A Healthier Writing Life | The Creative Penn

Healthy Writer Tips: How To Use Dictation For A Healthier Writing Life

 

writing tips

 

I came across this interesting article from the always informative author Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn.

The article gives us reasons and ideas about writing through dictation as opposed to typing our stories. I’ve heard about a few author friends of mine who use the Dragon program to dictate their work, as well as Voice to Text, but other than that I hadn’t given the idea much thought – but I’m getting interested now.

 

“The word ‘writing’ has become associated with hitting keys on a keyboard to make letters appear on a screen or inscribing by hand onto paper.

But the end result is a mode of communication from one brain to another through the medium of words. Those words can be generated by your voice, just as people can ‘read’ by listening to an audiobook.

Famous authors who have written with dictation include diverse creatives John Milton (Paradise Lost), Dan Brown, Henry James, Barbara Cartland and Winston Churchill. When Terry Pratchett, fantasy author of the Discworld series, developed Alzheimer’s Disease, he found he couldn’t write anymore, so he moved to dictation in his final years.

So clearly, dictation is a method that can work for many writers and it has become an emerging trend for authors these days as technology makes it easier and faster.”

 

So, why dictate?

 

(1) Health reasons

“You can dictate standing up or while walking, or lying in bed with injuries, or if pain stops you typing.

I started using dictation when I had RSI and used it to write the first drafts of Destroyer of Worlds and also Map of Shadows, plus some chapters for this book, which I dictated while walking along the canal towpath.

walking along tow path

Walking along the tow path, occasionally dictating!

Dictation can help alleviate or prevent pain right now, but learning how to write with dictation can also future-proof your living as a writer in case of problems later.

(2) Writing speed and stamina

Dictation is faster at getting words on the page than typing, especially if you are not self-censoring.

I’ve made it up to around 5000 words per hour with dictation, while I only manage around 1500 words per hour typing.

There is a trade-off with ‘finished’ words as you will have to at least lightly edit to correct transcription issues, but if you want to get that first draft done faster, then dictation can be the most effective way.”

 

(3) Increased creativity

“Some writers have a problem with perfectionism and the critical voice in a first draft. They struggle to finish a book because they are constantly editing what they have written.  Continue reading . . .

 

Are any of you here using dictation as a mode for you writing? If so, I’d be interesting in learning how you find the process by sharing your thoughts in comments.

 

Source: Healthy Writer Tips: How To Use Dictation For A Healthier Writing Life | The Creative Penn

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

63 Comments

  • cindy knoke

    I used to dictate all the time when I was young and had a secretary who could manage the dictation. It was quite freeing. And I am in touch with her now on Facebook which is remarkable.She is remarkable.

  • Cecilia

    When I was writing my first two books I always wondered if I shall dictate or write, well I decided against dictating, but now I think I would try it. Thank you for your input!

  • Jacqui Murray

    Oh those are great reasons. I’ve tried dictation and it’s still quirky enough, I find it distracting. But it gets better and better so I can see at some point in the near future (especially as my eyesight goes and my fingers don’t type so well), it’ll be a good option.

  • John Maberry

    I see it in my future with laptops (have an old one with XP on it that I haven’t used in several years) for travel. Keyboards on them are so limiting–even with the largest and ergonomic, which I use with the desktop, is out of the question for travel. The only drawback for travel use is that you can scarcely dictate while on a train, plane or sitting somewhere in public, unless you can get an attachment like the court reporters use to talk into that resembles an oxygen mask. LOL

  • Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Our first experience of voice to text was in the late 90s when David bought a program.. it was hilarious… and the playback sounded Russian.. Anyway now it can be amazing and many audio books are using a variety of different male and female automated voices. Some are not too bad, but some still sound a bit wooden.. Great Share Debby.. ♥

  • D. Wallace Peach

    So interesting, Debby, and I can see how it would speed up writing. Joanna went from 1500 to 5000 words per hour. I type 250 words/hour, so it would definitely speed me up. But I’m an edit as I go writer. I don’t know if I could dictate unless I could constantly back up and re-dictate. I wonder if the programs will accommodate that. Hmmm. It sounds like something to try out. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    I tried voice to text on Google docs. Hilarious. I forgot to mention punctuation, stammered, the program stopped working etc. As well, it’s funny what the program understands and doesn’t. I do agree it’s worth a rip-roaring try as I cannot sit for long these days for one thing; don’t like the blue screen for another. Practice. Practice. Sigh. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Let's CUT the Crap!

        It’s free so why not let it work for you. You can always use your cell too, but then you need to transcribe. With Google voice to test (look under Tools–I think) it looks like a bad first draft and they always need fixing. Wonder if the program needs to get used to the reader as well. 😀

        • dgkaye

          I think the program needs to get used to our voice for sure Tess. I’ll take a look at Google because I’ve set up the one for Word and I think the microphone needs a hearing aid. LOL Many misunderstood SIMPLE words. LOL. <3

  • balroop2013

    The discussion here is no less interesting than the idea of dictation! It made me chuckle 🙂 If I had to dictate my thoughts, I am not sure they would flow naturally. Whenever I dictated notes to my students, I had to prepare my written draft.

  • Kate Johnston

    I often walk around my house, talking out loud to myself, about story ideas. Sometimes I will dictate into my phone; other times I just like the freedom to discover my thoughts without the pressure. Totally agree that writing is not just about putting pencil to paper or fingers to keys. Most of writing takes place in our heads!

  • roughwighting

    Thanks for sharing this fascinating post, Debby. I commented on Joanna’s post also. I love the process of head to fingers (with pen or laptop). I don’t get the same kind of magic flow when I just talk/dictate. But YAY for those who do! Interesting stuff here. xo

  • bowmanauthor

    I went to The Creative Pen last week after you posted the blog about editors. Really enjoyed browsing around. When you go to the Editors Page, you’ll find a new listing at the bottom. Thanks for introducing me to this great informative website!

    • dgkaye

      Fabulous Deb! Joanna is a wealth of information, she’s one of our Indie pioneers. 🙂 x So am I guessing now you’ve been added to her editor’s page????????????? 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Fabulous Deb! Joanna is a wealth of information, she’s one of our Indie pioneers. 🙂 x So am I guessing now you’ve been added to her editor’s page????????????? 🙂

  • hilarymb

    Hi Debi – I used to get a chap, who was very dyslexic, dictate his memoirs to me via Siri straight into email … and then I’d need to ‘translate’ them …but that was fine – he didn’t need to worry about spelling … I just needed to worry about what he’d said, so it made sense when I typed it up … it helped him. Cheers Hilary

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for sharing that Hilary. I too have heard of people dictating into Siri (or the like). I think it’s a handy idea for us writers when we’re on the go and come up with a good idea too. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for sharing that Hilary. I too have heard of people dictating into Siri (or the like). I think it’s a handy idea for us writers when we’re on the go and come up with a good idea too. 🙂

  • Hugh's Views and News

    No, but I’d like to give it a try. The only downside I have heard of it is if the software you are using is not very good at picking up your accent. I know Sacha uses ‘Dragon’ so I will need to speak to her on how good she says it is when using it. I do sometimes use a dictation app on my iPhone, especially to log down an idea (before I forget it).
    Talking of accents, the other day I asked Alexa to bark, and she responded something to me in German. I’ve no idea what she said back to me.

    • dgkaye

      LOLLLLLLLLL you’re so funny! But I’m with you. So far, I do use my phone when I have a lightbulb moment and nothing to write on. And yes, I know few authors who use Dragon and love it – even though they say it does take some time getting used to for it to get familiar with your voice. 🙂 xxx

  • Liesbet @ Roaming About

    I am not using dictation at all, but I have played with the idea to put some thoughts on my voice recorder, to “lighten my brain” at times. It would be a good tool for that, especially when I don’t have a notebook at hand or feel like I can’t write things down, like in bed before sleep, on the toilet or in a vibrating car. 🙂 Great share, Debby!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Liesbet. I totally agree with you. Talking into a voice recorder or mobile phone to capture some great ideas is a a great idea for those times we’re out and about without pen and paper. 🙂

  • Norah

    Hi Debby,
    It’s an interesting article. I know of people who use speech to text software for health reasons (rsi) but I haven’t tried anything. I did give my father a cassette recorder years ago so he could record his thoughts when he was in the garden, rather than have to write them. He tried it for a little while. The transcription wasn’t much fun for me though. 🙂 I think it’s a great idea for capturing thoughts, and probably for getting that first draft done quickly. I do edit too much as I write oftentimes. However the writers interviewed make it sound as if the novel is almost done after the dictation has been transcribed. I can’t imagine not having to edit and revise, and then edit and revise again.

  • Titus Hauer

    Excellent post.

    One thing I have noticed about certain sites is that, even though they have tons of content, the site looks great and the headlines are eye catching is that the material is simply filler. It’s downright unreadable. You can forget it 6 seconds after you read it. Not the case with your post though, really enjoyed it reading it and it held my attention all the way through! Keep it up.

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