Want to speed up your writing? What if you could write as fast as you can speak?
Many writers use speech recognition software – it can help you to double your output, so it’s well worth trying if you’re facing strict deadlines.
Free speech recognition software is included in both Windows and Mac platforms.
These tips will help you to get started.
1. Plan your writing: jot down a quick outline
Initially, speech recognition software can be a real challenge. You’re not used to dictating, so it seems strange. To avoid becoming tongue-tied, I like to create a quick mind map on an index card. You may prefer to use a “real” outline, or just a list of points you want to cover.
2. Speak clearly, and remember punctation
Give yourself time to practice, so that the software gets used to the way you pronounce words. When you want to dictate, aim to speak at the same speed as you spoke while training. I avoid dictating early in the morning, until I’ve had at least one cup of coffee, because my vocal cords haven’t loosened up and there are too many errors to make dictation useful.
3. Use a microphone
Most people get better results if they use a microphone. If you don’t have one, experiment to see whether your computer’s built-in mic is adequate. If it isn’t, USB mics are inexpensive.
If you’re dictating on a Mac
Dictation is built in to OS X Mavericks, but sadly, it doesn’t work at all well for me. I’ve no idea why this is. I’m assuming it’s the mic I’m using.
It works for Matthew Guay, who says:
In Mavericks, Dictation on the Mac has once again pulled ahead of its iOS counterpart, with continuous, offline dictation that works as good or better than the version in Mountain Lion. And there’s still the voice commands, now in a reworked settings pane, that together make the Mac the most accessible computer out-of-the-box.
Still on Mountain Lion? Not a problem. Here’s a video.
If you’re dictating on Windows
I don’t have a Windows machine, so I can’t comment on the dictation features in that operating system.
However, this video gets you up to speed with dictating in Windows 7.
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