Lately, it seems that I can’t go anywhere—even my own inbox—without running into people who tell me that the way to increase a writer’s daily word count is to learn to dictate. In theory, I’d agree, except… this is day one of me trying it out and already I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing.
Don’t believe me? Then read on.
A few years ago, I got a Christmas present that was Dragon Naturally Speaking 12. Naturally, I was super excited to receive such a great gift and show of support from a family member. Unfortunately that great gift turned into a pain in the butt, because I didn’t have a good quality microphone on hand that would take my words and turn them into something other than nonsensical nonsense that’d take me ten times longer to edit than me simply shutting up and typing it out.
Then late this afternoon—while sitting in traffic trying to get out of downtown Nashville—I heard a voice in my head whisper… dictate your stories… improve your daily word count… drink the Kool Aid… open that Dragon Naturally Speaking box, embrace your inner unicorn, and try dictation again.
Head. Thud. Steering wheel. *I’m going crazy.* (Going? Try been there, done that, and still wallowing in it.)
But if me indulging yet another crazy thought will get these cars in front of me to move and for that light to turn green and… well, what do you know? The light turned green and… well shit, that was like a pinky swear promise with the Powers that Be and now I’m locked into trying it and… oh, what the hell. I’ll do it.
But where do I start? What do I even need? A microphone. Preferably one that works.
Well crap. Guess that means I’ve got to stop at a store now. Fine. I’ll run in to Best Buy real quick on my way home. Once inside the store, I’ll Google for the best headphones that’ll work with the Dragon Naturally Speaking 12.5 and… seventy-eight minutes later… I’m fifteen miles further down the road and in the store, smiling down at my phone, and preparing to turn back around to head back out to my truck.
Without spending a dime. *evil smirk* Know why?
Because the almighty power of Google led me to the Holy Grail and an app called Dragon Remote Microphone.
And turns my iPhone into a dictation microphone.
Oh yeah, you best bet this here
cheap frugal mama downloaded that puppy before she started the truck back up for the last leg of her journey home.
Once home, I dashed inside, headed straight for the PC and… started the install and then the link up and…. after reading the instructions, ordering some PF Changs for the kid, watching a video on how to work the software, then letting the PC reboot while I dashed off to pick up said PF Changs order, I came back home and… holy crap, it’s ready.
Now—finally—I get to play with it.
Except, I don’t. Because I have to set up a profile.
Then do a training session where I read a script and it searches my documents and—What? It needs 5-30 minutes to scan my documents to learn my speech pattern and… are you freaking kidding me? Nope. *pfffft, eye roll worthy of a tween* FINE. WHATEVER. Just do it.
After an eternity Twenty-five minutes later… FINALLY, I get to play dictate my first blog.
Two minutes later… what the hell? That text on the screen looks nothing like what I said and… are you freaking kidding me? I have to train this thing to catch up with my rapid fire Southernese? That shit wasn’t covered in the effing training video when I read those damn words and commas and periods and quotes and… are you freaking kidding me?
I don’t have time to turn this nonsensical nonsense into cohesive sentences. I’m on a tight schedule. I’ve got to get to bed to get up at the ass crack of dawn for the dayjob and I NEED to get my stories written and… hell yes, I realize that talking is a heck of a lot faster than typing, but watching that damn blinking cursor murder my speech is distracting as hell and I only got 500 words out of a simple 2 minute rant with the microphone on and then I had to spend a whopping 20 minutes going back to fix it and… this isn’t progress.
This is HELL.
It’s beyond hell. Because I can’t hear my characters when I’m talking. I write by listening to what they have to say. And if I’m talking then it’s all about me and not them and… *sigh*
I’ll shut up and listen. *sigh* Dammit.
Dictating stories isn’t a method that works for everyone. It isn’t a magic pill that will increase word count. At least—not for me. And I’m okay with that. Very okay with it, because my next experiment is something I’ve been itching to try out and that’s me with the Apple Pencil and the iPad going back to my roots to hand write the stories as I hear them… oh yeah, this one ought to be good.
In the meantime… I’m off to bed…. to dream and listen to those characters and catch some zzz’s that’ll get me through another round at the dayjob with its oh-so-riveting round of afternoon delight with some Escape from Downtown Nashville action… until next time…