Dictating Your Book
People who know me will be familiar with my love of dictation. It was driven by necessity after a marathon writing session and a bout of RSI in my wrists and hands. It was frightening to find my fingers sore and stiff, with wrists like two limp lettuce leaves when there was still so much to be done. I managed short term thanks to some time management apps and strapping my arms up in wrist supports, but I knew it would not suffice long term.
I was first introduced to dictation by the fab Joanna Penn during one of her many writing podcasts. The Dragon software wasn’t cheap, and there was always a risk it wouldn’t work out but I was determined to give it a go. One of the biggest challenges was getting my brain used to storytelling in a different way. However, I did persevere and am happy to say it’s been totally worthwhile. So much so that I’ve now invested in the latest upgrade, which offers in the region of 98% accuracy for me.
Just Two Months
So how can you work with Dragon dictate and write a book in just two months? It may seem incredibly quick, but don’t forget I’m talking about a first draft, and that’s after all your plotting and prep has been done. An overall time of six months to a year is more realistic from start to finish to complete your book. We all write at different speeds, but there is no doubt that when you have mastered dictation you can complete your first draft in half the time. I particularly love Dragon for dialogue. It’s much more natural having a conversation between your characters when you are saying the words aloud. Thankfully my kids are used to hearing me ‘talk to myself’ in my writing room and I often pause to type in certain scenes not suitable for their ears!
Order the software, buy a decent microphone and read a good book on the subject. Nuance sell Dragon both for Mac and PC. I recommend reading The Writer’s Guide To Training Your Dragon. If you find you can’t get on with the software, then Dragon offer a 30 day money back guarantee (check on their site before you buy). I started off with a Blue Snowball microphone which was great, but recently bought the headset that goes with the software. It cost me around twenty pounds so I didn’t hold a lot of faith in it, but I’m really pleased with it so far. You don’t have to stop at dictating books either. Dragon can dictate directly into blog posts, online diaries, write emails and so much more.
It takes time to get into the mindset and I plot my chapters by writing a couple of lines for each one. Then I start Dragon with a scene in my head. Usually, I won’t add a huge amount of scene setting or descriptions. That will come later on. For me, it’s about getting the characters together and allowing their dialogue to steer the story. It can be very liberating. Give it a go! It’s a great back up plan should your health begin to suffer due to repetitive use of your hands. It takes time to learn how to use the commands, but I’ll let you in on a secret: while I use the commands ‘comma,’ ‘full stop’ and ‘new line,’ I tend to type the quotation marks in later on. It’s about doing what works for you. I use Dragon to get out my first draft. Editing is far quicker and easier to type.
Fancy giving it a try? Then I’m pleased to be able to share this special offer of 20% off with you. I wish I had it when I first invested in the software. I get a small kickback should you use it, but please don’t take this blog post as an advertisement. I receive lots of requests to share writing related products but will only post about those I love and trust. For me, Dragon Dictate has been game changing, taking the pressure off when I have a looming deadline for my first draft. I’ve been known to dictate as many as 25K words in a weekend. If you don’t believe me, check out this great Facebook group and see for yourself.
Has dictation worked for you or have you crashed and burned? I love hearing from my readers, feel free to share and comment below!
Image courtesy of Flickr creative commons.