One of my writing partners recently injured his hand and it was put into a cast. I was very impressed that instead of giving up writing for a few months, he bought Dragon Speech to Text Software and managed to produce some surprisingly good work. This really got me thinking about the benefits of using Speech to Text Software. He told me that it’s best used for the first draft, which after my research I agree with that. So here’s a post about my experience and now am sharing with you.
When you’re reading a book, (assuming it’s not an audio book), your brain is converting the text to speech inside your head. Even though no one is reading it aloud, it needs to have the sensation of spoken language. There needs to be fluidity and seamlessness between transition through sentences, dialogue and action sequences.
So when writing a book, it’s considered good practice to try reading your work aloud as a tool to find where the words are coming off bumpy or jumbled. But why create more work for yourself? Why not consider “speaking” your book instead of “writing” it?
While I find this a fascinating idea, from my experience it’s only effective for the first draft. The biggest reason is because technology still isn’t perfect, and may use a different word than what you meant. (And in my case, taught me how much I mumble and how to enunciate! My mother would be so proud.) And otherwise once you get used to it, it’s easy to ramble on, which then can be slimmed down by editing to keep the best bits and leave yourself with a very strong piece of work. If you’re like me, the first draft is really the hardest part and I’m ready for any tools to help me rip the bandaid off so I can move on to editing.
Here are the benefits of using voice to text software:
1. Coherent thoughts
If you’re speaking aloud then you are naturally saying what is popping into your head. It’ll take some practice at first, because (hopefully) you’re not accustomed to walking around the room talking to yourself. But once it becomes natural, it’s kind of like talking on the phone. It’s extremely fast and once you reach the end of your thought pattern, you’ve created pages of a first draft ready to work with. I know a lot of people are revving up for NaNo in November, so I would imagine this would be a wonderful tool to keep up with word count on such a rigid schedule of writing a complete book in one month.
But to elaborate on this, I recommend a wireless headset instead of a wired one. Being chained to the desk kind of ruins the point of this software. You need to be free to walk around and naturally flow with your ideas.