Episode 24 – Dictation for Authors
Dictation is an amazing tool. It can help an author get into the head of a character and up their word count. If you’re interested in details, check out Monica Leonelle’s Dictate Your Book.
For a look at the type of printout you can expect from Dragon (without using punctuation) check out the transcript made during this episode:
New writer podcast episode 34 basic dictation for authors this week is all about tools for authors and I decided that I would talk a little bit about one of my favorite tools which is voice dictation software. I personally use as software called Dragon naturally speaking and I really enjoy. I really like being able to just kind of leaned back in my chair with my microphone sitting directly in front of my face and mumble about what I’m going to say in where I’m going to go want to do and have it turn into an actual print out and the reason I really wanted to talk about it. This week is because there is a great book by Monica Lee and Ella now available called dictate your book and you can pick that firstname.lastname@example.org/dictate your book and I suggest you do because Monica is a great writer who doesn’t was written quite a few productivity books and temps I talked about her book, write better, faster earlier this year. She has been to two brand-new books out dictate your book and one called the eight minute writing habit both of them are great reads any check them out if you’re having issues with your own productivity or you’re struggling to your word count up, but this episode is really just going to be about how awesome voice dictation really is. So I first learned about voice dictation software 10 years or so ago at the time it wasn’t really great software to use it was kinda buggy. The accuracy was really well and I didn’t get a lot out of it, but I really wanted to I could see where the software was going and I wanted to get to where that one is a way to be at that point, of course, as any longtime listener knows I’m kind of a cheapskate so I didn’t actually pay for our premium software. Back then I was using some online tools and Windows has a native accessibility tool that uses voice dictation now in the last 10 years or so that same software has come a long way you know Seery okay Google Microsoft’s mobile system has Quintana now those are all actually actually voice dictation software and they are pretty good but they are really built for what we use them for which is to tell a story and really that’s what writers do as we tell a story so I decided earlier this year I was going to actually make the investment and spend money on buying Dragon NaturallySpeaking and I made two mistakes that I think I would advise you to avoid, and that don’t necessarily get brought up very often and a lot of the conversation. People have about dictation software. The first mistake was that I bought the home version which is the cheaper version. It does not have the ability to input audio directly into it like you get prerecorded MP3 and have it transcribed that it only does live transcription which works pretty well for me, but it means I’m limited to sitting at my desk and the second mistake I made was that I just tried to use it completely off the shelf for a long time and that doesn’t necessarily work that well you have to take the time to train and do the exercises with Dragon and once you do, you’ll find that it has a pretty incredible amount of accuracy. Actually, if I’m going to be honest here. I suffer pretty significantly from dyslexia and one of the things that people don’t necessarily know about dyslexia is that it causes a little bit a word salad, sometimes and so I actually find the 98% accuracy rating. I hit with Dragon is better than what I do when I’m typing so much that he doing better using voice dictation my spelling is better I hate grammar is better when I’m doing voice dictation that is when I am just typing it didn’t take me a long time to get use to the process of storytelling again. Instead of writing. I think the act of typing had become associated with storytelling in my brain so I didn’t necessarily have that same flow at first, and it felt really clunky and I kept giving up on it, but at the same time I kept saying no, there is something to this. A lot of people are using this tool very well, especially to get higher word counts per hour or two just get more productivity out so I force myself to just use it every single day. That was my my big goal was I’m going to take at least five minutes every single day and use voice dictation. Usually when I’m doing my 750 words.com words so I just got used to being in that flow again and I think that naturally I am a bit of a storyteller a bit of a showman and I think first to come out after a while. One of the things that really help me with my characters and a lot of diverse characters and sometimes I’m writing, they start to kind of blend together. In fact, one of the criticisms I’ve received from readers is that my characters can sometimes blend together. It’s hard to tell who’s who basilar distinct personality and other scenes. It’s very obvious and one of the things dictation has allowed me to do is to actually make speak their dialogue in a different way. So whereas I might be narrating like this right now. I might come across a character who talks a bit like this and then I don’t I’m not good actions are not really an actor, but you get the idea. I just kinda change my voice and change my decision of how I’m going to approach the characters. I think add some flashing this to the actual character using dictation actually makes it very easy to do dialogue very quickly. All you have to do is say “let’s go eat a cat,” Matt said. They are done and so one of the things I did when I was doing the space opera in August wise I I went through and just full on first draft was just dialogue with a little bit of exposition and not much else and that made it so I can go back through and just added some description in action and things like that as I was able to get done much more quickly because I had the framework of the story there, but could go back and add everything else in and because I had been able to force myself to use those different voices a lot muscles uses different voices. My characters had very distinct personalities. It really helped me with that so in the long run. What I’m talking about here right now is just a tool that I think you should be aware of Dragon NaturallySpeaking in the grand scheme of things is not super expensive as far as software goes that I would recommend to writers. It is the most expensive software I would personally recommend to any writer. And that is for like around hundred 20 box for the professional version. If you are set on using this tool and you really want to be able to walk around and use it. I suggest doing a little bit of digging on Amazon because I recently noticed that a couple older versions of the tools which are still very well reviewed for their accuracy. You can get print professional level for around the same price as you pay for the home version of the most recent release of Dragon and I actually found one deal where you got it. We came with a digital recorder for the same price and so is of ordering like I purse I bought as a digital download. I spent around 80 bucks. I think, but I found on Amazon recently where I could have bought the CD with a digital recorder and the professional version of 12 is the version 13 for around the same price. One crazy thing that Nuance and that’s the company that makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking one crazy thing about their software packages is there’s no upgrade available’s like I have already spent the $80 to buy the home version and there’s no way for me to upgrade from the home version to the professional version just by spinning a little bit more money and that’s socks like I’d I probably will not be upgrading anytime soon because I’m pretty happy with the setup. I have going on right now, but I would like to be able to just take my digital recorder and go on the road and come back and have it transcribed. I have come up with a little tiny bit of a workaround, and it’s not nearly as good as talking directly into my blue snowball microphone. But what I’ve been doing sometimes is using my voice recorder when I’m on the road and then coming home and setting my voice recorder on top of my microphone and turning on and letting it play really the accuracy there is around 80% which makes a lot lot less than what it is talking directly into the program and letting it dictate there and letting it transcribe live by. It is a workaround. If you’ve got these recordings that you want to try to transcribe you and give it a try. Like I said the accuracy is not super great. I’ve actually found that the better way for me personally to handle the situation is to just take the audio file and run it through normal transcription software which is not an automatic thing you it plays the audio at different variable speed so you can type along with it. Not like software that transcribes audio there are some other services that will transcribe the MP3 files voice notes like Evernote I can get those to work very well if you if you know the secret to making that happen. Please just shoot me an email contacted the writer podcast.com. I would really like to be able to do that but at this point I haven’t been able to figure it out. It’s probably me. I’m starting to get old and that makes means technology makes less sense to me now that you still and so that’s just where I met so I suggest to you that you at least try some dictation software in the next coming weeks. I think this is going to be one of those very much in the future. This is how stories retell told again going back to the past we are storytellers and so it does create a completely different voice of new vibe that goes with the way the story comes out and creates a new experience for you as a writer and you might enjoy it a lot so I recommend you go and there are some online tools you can try. Or you can try using the Microsoft built-in voice or Evernote or whatever you want to try just give it a shot to the chance to see if it even feels natural for you. It does take a little bit of practice. It will take you a little while to get used to it, but I do think it is a great system a great tool to have in your arsenal. I you can really help you get a lot of things done that you want to get done so you to try and if you really are wanting to learn more about voice dictation. In general, then you should pick up Monica Leonel’s dictate your book again. You can get that by going to new writer podcast.com/dictate your book and yes, that is an affiliate link I get a little tiny kickback from that and unless you are on Kindle and limited in which case you can borrow it for free, and that I get nothing in on the cold inside and but I really should read it and it will help you as a writer get more done in the day. Thank you guys for listening. I’ve been mabrotherton. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you next Saturday