App I Used:
Voice Recorder, Tap Media (iOS only) I used the full paid version for transcription purposes. See my review at the end of this post.
Results will vary and if you prefer a clean first draft and thrive on editing as you go, this is not for you. I’m accustomed to sorting out sloppy puke drafts, so this is absolutely ideal for me.
You could absolutely use Nuance’s Dragon software, but a.) they’re no longer supporting the software for MAC and b.) I’m a broke ass author who always prefers to find a least expensive alternative for the same results. So, if you already have Dragon, you’re already set.
Finding My Groove
For months maybe even years, I had tried my hand dictation which terrible results. For example, a year ago I could dictate for an hour and produce only 2,385 kph. Which I suppose in hindsight isn’t all that bad considering I do maybe half of that by typing. Yet, considering how many hours I had in a day to focus on writing, 2,385 wasn’t going to cut it.
I decided to put it aside and then forgot about it when I hit my downward spiral after another proposal was turned again.
By mid-last month when I knew I needed to get out of this rutt, a friend recommended the Chris Fox book mentioned above. I picked it up in audiobook so I could listen while I was working the day job. Yay for multitasking, right? Yay indeed because this girl was excited again.
Cue @RhondaMerwarth’s “We Should Write a Book in a Week” tweet.
The timing was perfect and the planets were aligned! *snort*
The first day comes and then comes the WTF moment.
After reading the books above and Maya Rodale’s post – which by the way happens to be a re-read every time I start a new project – on my first day I only wrote 2,831. That’s it! I should have done more. However, I was floundering while dictating. Why? Because I had no outline.
An outline is critical. I stopped writing outlines years ago when things would never go the way I had planned. Yet, now I needed one and fast, but…wait for it…I still didn’t do one for the second day. I’m a dumb ass I know, but trust me, I changed my ways in no time.
Going back to the first day… My first sprint of day one was a bust, but then remembered Chris Fox saying to work in 5 min sprints to build up your word count. This reminded me of the Pomodoro technique only just on crack.
So, 5 min sprints it was and holy Toledo! On the first day I only managed to write for 45 min, but here’s what my first day ending up looking like:
- Jan 7 – #1 – 25 m – 630 w
- Jan 7 – #2 – 5 m – 484 w
- Jan 7 – #3 – 5 m – 576 w
- Jan 7 – #4 – 5 m – 547 w
- Jan 7 – #5 – 5 m – 594 w
Can you believe it? I wrote 2,201 in just 20 flipping minutes!!! Needless to say, that first 25 min sprint was a colossal bust.
My stats for the following days are:
- Jan 7 – 2831 – 45 min (1×25 min + 4x 5 min sprints)
- Jan 8 – 6133 – 60 min ( 5 min sprints)
- Jan 9 – 6809 – 60 min ( 5 min sprints)
- Jan 11 – 6399 – 60 min ( 5 min sprints)
- Jan 12 – 8995 – 80 min ( 5 min sprints)
- Jan 13 – 4660 – 40 min (5 min sprints)
- Jan 14 – 6610 – 60 min ( 5 min sprints)
- Jan 15 – 6913 – 60 min ( 5 min sprints)
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I wrote 49,350 words in just 8 days, which was added to the 7,709 I had rewritten at least 5x in the last 3 months. It was obvious that me editing as I went along wasn’t conducive to finishing the first draft. Lesson learned.
All this time in dictation totalled to 7.75 hrs. Just shy of an 8 hr shift at a day job. Insanity! Can you imagine if you went away for the weekend…just by yourself and did nothing but dictate. All. Weekend. Long. You could potentially have a first draft done in a weekend and still have time to sit pool side.
Toss in a bit of how Maya drafts, I did a mix of what she does and my own process and it worked for me. Now imagine what this could do for you?
An outline will be your bff and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can finish your drafts.
Working in shorter intervals was hella productive. All that verbal diarrhea needing to come out for the sake of getting words down.
As soon as I get my proposal sent off, I’ll be editing the remainder of this book by adding 20k to my wip total of 57,059. I have a boat load of descriptions to add and refining my prose. I have no illusions as to how messy this draft looks like, but the point was you can’t edit a blank page. Just get the words down and then perform surgery. 🙂 After that, I can get back to work in improving my wph with book 2 in this new regency series.
Voice Recorder (Tap Media): It’s a fairly easy app to maneuver, that said, it has limitations.
Transcription is great and you can share the file to your Drop Box account. I chose to have individual text files for each 5 min sprint, but when I tried to do longer (like 40 min) the transcription capped off at 30 min. A pop-up came up saying it was capped off by Apple, though I find that hard to believe. I thought I was going to lose the last 10!!!! That was my fiasco last Sunday. After some creative troubleshooting and ingenious software my husband has, I managed to pull the last 10 min and make it into a new mp3, transfer the file back to the app and then get it transcribed. So if you do go with this app, be sure to not exceed 30 min.
(Edited to add) The maximum amount of files that can be transcribed per day is 15 which wasn’t idea for me working on so many sprints per day. So that sucked too.
On top of all of that, transcribing 30 min of speech nearly took that same amount of to finish speech to text. Insane. Kinda counter productive if you ask me.
I did find another app that I will review with my next project and report it back here.
Anyways, I hope you all find this helpful. Dictation is worth the try and I recommend everyone to give it a shot at least once. Especially if you already have a full plate in life.
I Owe Many Thanks To…
@RhondaMerwarth for the kick in the arse for the write a book in a week forum, @NicholeSevern for her constant support, @Deadra d. f. Krieger for cheering me on steadily, and to everyone else who cheered from the sidelines as I trudged through these experimental waters.
Let me know what you think below. I’d love to hear from you!
Much love and gratitude to you all. Wishing you all an amazing 2019!
xo – Layna