My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Writing Via Recording and Speech to Text

I'm taking a second part time job again soon on top of my normal full time job. In preparation for this I've been looking at what my schedule will be and not finding much time for writing in it. That's unacceptable. So I've decided to employ my digital voice recorder and my phone's speech to text capabilities to help me out. I've done this in the past but it's been years since I've used it to generate prose for a first draft. 

While I commute I record my story into my digital voice recorder. I've tried just doing straight speech to text but then I'm looking at my phone while driving so that's out. Instead I just record with two hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road. Later instead of transcribing it like I used to by listening and typing it all out I'm using my phone. While listening to the recording I speak it back into my phone. My iPhone 5c does an amazing job at converting my speech to text with very few errors. I tried having my phone listen to the recorder to create the text from my recorded speech and it works in a quiet environment, but then cuts out any small edits I want to make as I transcribe. From my 18 small recordings I made yesterday on my way home ranging from 15 seconds to a couple minutes each I cranked out 1,285 words. It took a while to get the audio into text but with my speech to text method it went WAY faster than keying it in by hand even though I'm a pretty fast typist. So this is my new plan. Recording my story while I commute and speaking it into my phone later to quickly transcribe it.

It's weird at first but doesn't take long to get used to and I think my dialog is better for it because I'm saying everything instead of typing it out. It also gives me a chance to do a light first pass edit because I sometimes find a better way to write something as I'm transcribing. I'd rather be sipping coffee and listening to my hands tap the keys but this is a great way for me to use the time I already have as a constant in the car commuting to get some words on the page. This is the method I used to write most of my second novel the first time I did NaNoWriMo. It helped me find more time to write to try and get those 1,667 words a day and I ended up hitting 50K words by the end of November. Looks like it's a method I'll be employing again during this NaNoWriMo. I thought this might be interesting to fellow writers. I'm sure I'll still do some cherished keyboard clacking on the weekends. Happy writing!

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