Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Using Voice Recognition to Walk and Talk Your Way Through #NaNoWriMo part 2

Image from TypeWhileWalking.com
Yesterday I posted the basic premise of my plans for this years NaNoWriMo, to turn the butt-in-chair hands-on-keyboard upside down as I use voice recognition to walk and talk my way through my novel.

I just finished my morning session and logged in 2 hours of walking, 12,000 steps, and 2187 words!  And what's so great about it is that I really enjoyed both the walking and dictating.  I feel my story is taking off while I keep my health on track.

But after reading back over my post yesterday, I thought I ought to clarify a couple of points to my process.  Because I'm hoping some of you will join me as we nanoWALmo through NaNoWriMo!

Dictation Adjustment:
Many people who are trying to dictate their story for the first time will find a period of adjustment as they do so.  Fo many writers, this method feels awkward and unnatural.

I faced that with the first story I dictated through Dragon a year ago.  But I kept up with it, allowing the pauses I needed to formulate my thoughts before I released the pause button and spoke, and with time I became much more comfortable with the method.  This time around, I'm having no such difficulties.

Pacing Vs. Walking:
Since I started writing, I've always used walking as a tool to clear my mind to better focus on my story and brainstorm.  There's something to the repetitive motion and brain sloshing that flushes me with serotonin.  Or that's my scientific explanation for you.  But until last year, I was unable to use walking as a method to actively create.

Now the version of walking I have developed for dictation is truly more pacing than a leisurely stroll through the woods.  While I love walking outside, I too easily get caught up noticing everything around me and forget to focus on my story.

I'm much more productive for dictation if I keep myself inside, in scenery that does not distract me.  I have a long path that winds through my house that I walk in a circuit.  The repetitive motion of the pacing, with time, lulls me into that place of focus that I value so highly.

Voice Quality:
My husband is a Turk, born and raised in Turkey, and has partial hearing loss in both ears. So not only does he have difficulty hearing, but English is his second language.  I'm mentioning this here because I learned a long time ago to speak clearly and enunciate distinctly.  I think this is why voice recognition works well for me and not for some others.  You have to think about your voice quality if you want to make it work.

Flash Editing:
While I do not use the cell and voice recognition to really edit, I do flash edits as I go along.  After a paragraph or two, I will slow down and read over what I just dictated for any errors that I will not understand when I settle down to truly edit.  I will slow my walking enough to make these quick corrections then continue on.  But my focus is only on errors that could be confusing later.

Some people may be more comfortable having their hands free and speaking into an ear piece.  I'm talking directly into my cell mainly because of the reason above -- I'm giving quick edits as I go.  I learned that lesson the hard way with my Paleolithic story when I waited to long to edit and then didn't understand some of the gibberish on the page.

Is anyone else out there dictating their NaNo story?  Have you ever used voice recognition for a novel?  Would love to hear any tips you have to share.