Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dictating stories

One of the problems I have - since my day job as a newspaper editor involves typing and my second career as a fiction writer also involves typing - is a lot of wear and tear on my hands and wrists, and I've had to deal with painful flare-ups of carpal tunnel syndrome over the years.

Last spring I finally plunked down some money and went and bought Dragon voice recognition software and I started to use it. In fact that's what I'm using to do this post. I'm dictating into Dragon.

Apparently I dictate as fast as I type, which is about 1000 words an hour. But honestly, using Dragon is a lot less painful, and causes a lot less wear and tear on my wrists. The voice recognition software has been a big help.

The software only cost me $79 at the local Staples. It comes with a microphone and headset. I found it east to install and use. It has the option to update itself on the basis of your usage, and also by reading your documents.

I don't have the clearest of pronunciations, but it does a fine job of taking down my words, and when it goes wrong, it's usually my fault.

Since the software enters wherever the cursor rests, you can dictate anything. I've found it's great for simple tasks like email, and it really helps get out the first draft of a story; just re-read carefully in case it didn't quite put down what you said or meant.

The story I contributed to The World Fantasy Con anthology, "The Girl Who Couldn't Fly" , was written using the Dragon software.

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