Since 2010 I have worked diligently to create the “ultimate” workflow for creating engaging, informative, and entertaining content as quickly as possible. During that time, I have fallen in love with the promise of voice dictation software. Here is why I occasionally make use of this technology, in the form of Nuance Dragon Professional 15, in my professional life.
Creating exceptional first draft copy is one of my greatest strengths as a writer. I read the background material and simply allow the words flow from my mind. With dictation software I can skip the typing bit, focusing instead on how the prose sounds to guarantee that the material is even closer to being perfect than ever before.
Eliminating the need to read it out loud, and the general speed boost that comes from speaking versus typing in general, makes using this technology much more efficient in day to day usage.
Preventing Carpal Tunnel
Human hands were not developed with keyboards in mind, and keyboard were developed before human hands were fully understood. It is no surprise then that the greatest bane of professional writers is a tenacious disorder with the charming name of “Capral Tunnel Syndrome.”
Simply put, by dictating I give my hands a break. Thus, I know that when I must type I can do so without the fear of pain that comes with the degenerative condition.
Inspiration rarely occurs at the keyboard. I find myself pacing, biking, exercising, and even in the shower when the perfect turn of phrase or story line pops into mind. I then grab a voice recorder and let the material flow free.
After that, it is a simple matter of allowing my software to transcribe the recording and edit the result. This means I lose nothing of my creativity due to temporary lack of access to my laptop or tablet. This raises an interesting possibility in the future – vacation.
Eventually, everyone needs to step away from work and destress. As a freelance writer this prospect seems to never occur. When the time comes, however, I do not want to lose the ability to capture flashes of creativity. That is where a simple voice recorder and the dictation software come to be.
I can take the recorder with me and leave the laptop at home. When I come back I can just tell the software to transcribe and edit, just like when I am around the house or at the store.
There are times when writing is an activity without a purpose. It is an experiment that may inform potential avenues for story development or new blog posts. However, if I am willing to be honest with myself, I feel silly sitting down to do it. Dictation software eliminates this by making the exercise as easy as breathing.
A Word of Warning
The software is only effective when you operate within its bounds. This is especially true when it comes to the words spoken. If you use non-standard English, then the effectiveness of the software will drop like a stone. The only way around this is to create a custom dictionary and add the words to it. I have found having multiple profiles helps with this. One is perfect for personal correspondence, another for one story series and yet another for commercial copywriting. You get the idea.