Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Dictation Experiment

So I'm going to try out this dictation thing and see what happens as I make a blog post with dictation. The most frustrating thing for me as a writer is when I read writing books about improving your productivity, writing faster, other things like this (blah blah blah) and then I get about, oh I don't know, 10 pages in, and all of a sudden, it says “and the way that I improved my writing time is dictation”. And then I scream. Just a little.

But I'm going to give it the old college try and see what happens when I use dictation to write a blog post. So here we go. So far, to this point, I have already done this whole post with this dictation program. I’m using Dragon Dictation on my phone by the way.

So far it works a lot better than the dictation functions in my phone’s email and text message programs. That's good because otherwise I wouldn't be able to decipher what I'm saying.

As part of this experiment, I’m also going to try (that is TRY) to track my writing process and how well this is working for me. I'm actually going to try to write my book using dictation. That may go well or very poorly. But hey, I'm willing to experiment for the heck of it and see how things go. How much worse off am I if I do it than if I don't? I'll get in words either way. Now since I'm doing this on my phone, I actually won’t be able to tell my word count until I send it over to my computer and import it into a document—probably one of the biggest problems with doing this dictation. I can't see how I'm doing as far as word count until I’m done with my session. The other problem I see is that, while I know basic punctuation commands for the dictation program, I will have to go behind and format everything. I think that when I'm writing my fiction this could be difficult because I won’t be able to do dialogue very effectively via the dictation. I’ll have to go back and hope I don't miss any places where there should be dialogue markers. The other problem is that I haven't figured out how to get the program to go to the next paragraph. (Right after I said that I went and looked up the dictation commands and found a quick sheet for them).

So we will see how these work. I'm going to stop the dictation and check. (Hey look it worked!)

So…I think this is going to be a learning curve but something that I can learn to do.

I think that my biggest problem, once I figure out the commands, will be learning to actually dictate my book. And by “learning” I mean getting over the fact that I will be talking out loud, not being embarrassed by talking out loud and learning how to get my story from my brain to my mouth. I don't have a problem getting my story from my brain to my fingers right now, but I can't get it out fast enough.

My final problem (I feel like this post should be called “a million problems for one solution”) with learning how to do the dictation like this is that occasionally, I’ve looked down and seen that the recorder has just randomly turned off. I think that this is just something that I'm gonna have to learn to keep an eye on out of the corner of my eye while I'm talking. So I have now been talking into my phone dictation program for 11 minutes and I am going to transfer this text over to my computer and see how I did.

* * * *

Holy crap! So I'm back to the dictation after I transferred everything over to my computer (that only took about 30 seconds) and I did/wrote 621 words in 11 minutes. So now I can see how authors who use the dictation method are writing 2500 to 4000 words per hour. It seems really incredible to me, but I think I'm actually going to try it out for a real project.

But as I said this is going to be an experiment. I’m going to try to track my results on my blog. Also over the next few weeks, I’m going to start recording what I call “Building a Book”. And in that series of posts, I'm going to talk about what it takes for me write a book from start to finish. 

Hopefully, this will be helpful to other authors (although it is my process and everybody's process is different), but maybe, it will also be interesting for readers to see what goes into the crafting. I've gotten out of the habit of blogging during the past few years, and it's something I've really missed. In the past, blogging has helped me to work through ideas and hammer out how I'm going to work through things in stories, and I feel that it's something I really need to start doing it again. I hope that this ongoing blog series will be interesting and informative to you.

Go ahead and leave a comment below. Let me know what you think, if you’ve tried out dictation, if this bores you to tears… (No, don't tell me that)

Really I'd love to hear from you—although, I'm sure not many people come to my blog anymore because I am SO out of the habit. Hopefully I will see some of you soon!

Happy Reading!