Latest update date: February 21, 09

If you're writing a book, essay, screenplay, blog post, or whatever, you're probably familiar with this phenomenon: blank screens, looming deadlines, and a bad feeling in your gut combined with cups. the coffee you drank earlier. 

If you know how to see things well then this article is for you. Maybe it will help you get out of the rut; At least it's good for the few minutes you procrastinate. Because writing is not a headache!

The core idea here is that speaking your mind is often more difficult than writing. And now it's easier than ever for every writer to combine the two, thanks to recent advances in speech recognition technology.

Dictation is nothing new and many writers have taken advantage of it. Carl Sagan's massive achievement is aided by his talk with a tape recorder that was later recorded by an aide (you can hear some of his readings in the Library of Congress). !) and software like Dragon's Naturally Speech have provided automatic recordings for those with the patience and budget to match.

But it's only in the last few years that automatic recording has gained momentum. It's convenience, affordability, and accuracy that make it easier to use. Moreover, it is increasingly useful in creating a kind of first manuscript. Here's another approach to this arduous process of converting the vague stuff in your head into something you really want. From there, writing becomes a smoother process.

I call this process idea mining (although these ideas might be more accurately called brain fragmentation).

Part I: When the writer started to explore

This is how my process works. Borrow what you're doing and forget the rest and let me know how you do!

  • Pick a recorder and start talking. You should try with a topic that you have been chewing on for weeks or an idea that comes out of your head. Don't think too much, just start revealing.
  • The goal is to pull in as many topics as you've been through, and follow them as they go. These topics can lead to problems, and you may discover new ideas as they do.
  • A lot of those new ideas can be embarrassing. You can talk about the next thing! Unlike text, your bad ideas won't show on your face.
  • Consider leaving a comment for yourself such as “Maybe that's how the intro works.” These will come in handy later.
  • For me, these recordings run from 20 to 80 minutes. Sometimes even much shorter and works fast continuously.

Part II: Start recording before writing

After I finish recording, it's time to harness the Power of Technology.

A little background: over the past few years, there has been an explosion of automated speech recognition (ASR) related tools thanks to great strides in the underlying technologies.

Here's how ASR works: you input your audio into software, which uses state-of-the-art machinery to capture a text recording a few minutes later. The recording won't be perfect, the robots are currently in the 'Write when drunk' stage. But we have good intentions that you just need the recording to be accurate enough for you to validate your idea.

Once you've got your text recording, the next step is up to you: you'll probably extract your recording as a Word document and modify it from there. Maybe you're activating your recorder again for a more subtle dictation. Maybe just a few words from your audio journey are worth keeping, but that's fine too. You can save money and moreover, the price of this technology will continue to fall in the years to come.

Some more tips

  • Use a voice recorder or app you trust. Losing one recording is painful, and the fear of losing another can ruin your most enjoyable creative moments.
  • Sound quality is important for automatic recordings. If your recording has a lot of noise or you speak far away from the mic, accuracy will decrease. Consider using an earbud like an Airpod so you don't have to worry while recording.
  • You should find a comfortable space. Eventually, you may get used to people overhearing your thoughts, but it's easier when your mind wanders the streets so you can relax in your own space.
  • Why don't you go for a walk? The difficulties of writing can have a lot to do with just standing still and relying on hunches. Walking can get your blood flowing, and so can your ideas.
  • I have a lot of ideas both positive and negative, while speaking my mind and playing music at the same time. Playing the same four-chord song on the self-driving system for the thousandth time kept my hands busy and let my mind soar more freely.

Old ways of doing things, whether it's with a keyboard or a pen, still have their own advantages when it comes to writing. Putting words on a page can force linear thinking but is hard to maintain. And when editing, there will be no QWERTY or you have to edit it yourself.

But in order to get the first key passages or maybe build a few important ideas forward, you should consider talking to yourself. Even if you end up with a recording of nothing but profanity, have you ever seen a recording full of profanity? You could make things much worse.

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