I’ve been experimenting with using Google’s dictation software more the past few days and there has been a sort of mental breakthrough. Not only did I find that I could pump out a lot more words-per-minute than if I typed (and I am not a slow typist), but after a Wi-Fi falter I realized I could dictate even with the internet off. This was a biggy, as I was limited by the connectivity of the device. Must have been something uploaded and turned on to get it to work.
How to use this new tech-writing tool? (Yes, I know it is not new) I will probably use older manuscripts that I have and punch them up through speaking them instead of editing off the page. This should save paper and ink, which cost money, and help in the process of seeing my works in a bigger, broader context. One of the hardest things during editing is seeing the big picture, so this could be at least one technique.
It doesn’t matter-it is the Keep Moving Forward philosophy that is important.
It seems like dictation could be a good form of Technology. I’m finding it a little frustrating at times now that I’m using it to make a blog post. I’m lying in bed and speaking into the microphone on my tablet computer. I’m sure that sounds pretty relaxing, but it can also be very frustrating as it’s not a natural position to be as a writer.
I know writers can be any style they wish. They can be like Marcel Proust and right in bed, they can sit at a desk and hammer away on a typewriter, they can use the latest laptop computer and tucked away in the back of a Starbucks, or they can be speaking into a microphone and letting the words spill out on the page while doing just about anything. I’m still getting used to this technology and I’m still a little self-conscious using it.
For about the past 16 years I’ve been mainly typing my writing. Actually that’s not necessarily true, as I’ve also been handwriting an awful lot of material too. That’s probably actually how I started was by handwriting most of my material in notebooks while sitting in a Starbucks coffee, the first in the City of Kanazawa, and the first Starbucks I’d ever gone into in the world. I would sit down with a double expresso coffee and start writing in a notebook with a pen that used brown ink. Now, all these years later, I still use brown ink in my fountain pen, because I like the way it looks on the page and because I can use a fountain pen much more comfortably than the old pens I was using.
The thing I don’t like about dictating on a computer screen is I have to monitor what I’m saying and make sure the device is listening to me. I got used to speaking into a tech tip recorder tape recorder, which was much easier because it was a stream of consciousness sort of the situation. Again this takes a lot of practice and getting used to something new. It was really novel it first to have the words appear on the screen in front of me. I also find it a bit stage fright inducing. It creates this tension in me, I want to say the right words, where as when I was using the tape recorder I would speak a string of sentences that were not based on what I was seeing, but what I was thinking and to me that seems much more natural. It’s not that I really want to mention the whole feeling you get from having to speak punctuation marks when you dictate in this fashion. That can kind of get in the way of my mental flow, but I can see as people have said it Dragon Dictation too, you get used to it over time. Dragon Dictation would be wonderful to try, but I know the software is very expensive. It would also mean I have to be slave to an actual computer and that’s really not what I want to do. I can stick to the Google application because it’s free and on a device that is basically handheld. I don’t own a smartphone, however I believe that that would be the number one reason I would want to own a smartphone would be to use the dictation function. The problem with using a tablet computer is that I don’t have internet based on the phone system, only Wi-Fi. So if I leave the house for any distance I lose my ability to dictate. I guess that would be the strength of Dragon dictation software because it’s based on the actual software, not online.
So I decided to write this blog post because I’m struggling with the technology of dictating. As a writer I don’t want to cut Corners in my creative landscape. I want to make my writing the best it can be and sometimes that means trying out new things. I call it the new camera concept,when you get stuck. The concept is simple and you might relate to it. Basically I noticed that when I bought a new camera I took far more pictures then with my previous camera. Each camera has a different perspective, whether it’s the lens or the sensor or the autofocus functions or the color balance, something in the camera grabs your attention and makes you want to take more pictures. It’s like going out and buying the new laptop that has the really good keyboard you hope that keyboard will help you to type more. I’m not saying that it will make you more creative or a better writer, I’m simply saying it may put you to actually get more reading done because you’re motivated to do it at that time. I experienced that very thing when I bought a organ ahmic keyboard that Microsoft use to make. I was working on my first novel and that keyboard helped me to edit and type faster. In that case the idea was already there I was just simply using a tool to help me improve the manuscript.
Well she’s been interesting sitting here and speaking my mind into a microphone. I hope you understand I’m not trying to bore you or me, I’m trying to understand how dictation can change the way I write. I my advice is to try new things as a writer to find out what works best for you and when you find what works best to stick with it and use it as long as you possibly can. Here’s to new things!