June 9, 2014

Reluctantly Facing The Inevitable

I have Dragon voice software on my old XP computer. I actually wrote a nifty review about it four years ago at my other blog, which you can read about here. In a nutshell, I haven't really used it for original writing due to having a major mental block in regards to using my semi-wonderful voice (I do elaborate on this in that four year old post). I've also written extensively over the years why I use pen and paper as my preferred method of writing as well as the issues with my hands, of which you can read a nice synopsis of each by clicking on the respective links.

Anyways, last week I wrote about the brilliant idea of writing outside with old computer. I dove headfirst into the deep end of the pond that weekend, like I usually do, details of which can be found here. Last Sunday I bought a 25 foot extension cord and a mini-surge protector and proceeded later that afternoon to do some writing.

Let me tell you, it was not all peaches and creamsicles. It was time consuming, laborious, frustrating and every other nasty adjective you can come up with. But, I persevered and cranked out about a page and a half of rewritten material. However, the other day sadly proved to me that my writing would continue to be those previous adjectives and then some. I decided to do some writing, but after spending about twenty minutes pounding out a total of three very short (about 8 sentences total) paragraphs, I sadly bowed to the realization that my very worst fear was about to come true. 
If I wanted to continue pursue this happy medium called writing, then I really needed to use my Dragon software. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Now less you think I haven't really used my software for writing, I actually did use it for writing. Not original writing though, but more using it for dictation of blog posts (when I had the world wide web on my other computer) and dictating original writing on paper to an original story (roughly 5% of Line 21 was written that way). However, by late 2013, I couldn't even do that anymore as the original headset that came with my software bit the dust and went to that electronic graveyard in the sky.

This past Saturday (June 7th) I bought a headset on clearance from Staples for $10 and road tested it by finishing the rewrite to short story number one for my new novella, and suffice to say, it passed with a B+. I still have two more stories to rewrite, but whereas story number one was basically a tightening/lengthening of sentences and grammar, stories number two and three will be roughly 15% gut job/original rewrite and the remaining 85% will be straight dictation.

The challenge in about a month will be the novella itself, in which it will be 100% gut job/original rewrite/straight dictation. Not looking forward to it, but, it is what it is.

Every once in a great while, it really does suck to be me.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I've never thought of dictating blog posts. That's actually pretty smart. I have Dragon, but just never bothered to use it. I always figured it would be too much of a pain to correct the misinterpreted words.

  2. Sorry the typing didn't go as planned. Never tried speaking software. It probably wouldn't like my characters' science fiction names.

  3. ABFtS: Actually, it is a bit of a pain, but once it gets used to your style of speaking the corrections should be less pronounced. Plus, you can actually set it to understand your particular dialect.

    Alex: It is what it is, and you're probably right about the SF names. I have problems trying to get accept certain common first names. And of course, certain select adjectives it will not accept either.

  4. Never tried any voice software like that. Had a friend who had it and was telling me about the weird things it would do, but that may have been an early edition that had not yet been perfected.

    Good luck with the 100% goal.

    Tossing It Out

  5. Arlee: Thanks.

    I have version 9 or 10 (not quite sure which) and yeah, it does very strange things if you don't speak clearly into the microphone.

  6. Voice software is a great idea, although I haven't tried it yet. The day will probably come when I will use it though, because of the arthritis in my fingers. Minor pain, compared to what you must be experiencing George. That CMT disease sounds dreadful! Wish you great success with your novella!

  7. Sorry the outdoor typing didn't go well - that sounded so nice. I think you have a good alternative now though.

  8. Debbie: It's okay so far, but I still got a long way to go with it, as I still have to use my mouse to make corrections.

    It can be from time to time, but I put up with it the best I can.

    Lynn: The writing goes in fits and starts. At the moment the main problem is not really having the privacy I need to do my writing. With the type of stuff that I write, verbalizing it can be problematic.

  9. Good luck!

    I hate the system switch I just did- trying to upload drivers for win 7 on a slow dial-up- what a pill. Got so many expensive programs still switching monitor to 2 machines for my pics!

  10. That's a shame it didn't work out, perhaps it's worth another try, maybe it will grow on you? Like fungus, as my Dad would say. :D

  11. Snaggle: Yeah, I got a few programs on my 7 that I'm not too thrilled about right now. But the voice software will stay on my old one as it's hopelessly out-of-date.

    Joey: I have no other choice but to try it again. I like that quote from your Dad, it seems appropriate in this day and age. :D

  12. I have had Dragon demonstrated to me and it seems to be a real pain in the butt. One person I worked with insisted on it, despite my caveats, and it seems that he has given up on trying to train it. Then again, it's certainly better than nothing if you have trouble writing in other ways, so good luck with it!

  13. S.R.: It can be a pain in the butt if you have a tendency to both talk soft and mumble at the same time, which is what I suffer from.

    So I use it along with basic keyboarding and it seems to work okay.


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