It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. Today’s post is for the letter D. D is for Dictation.
The first time I was introduced to dictation was when my husband was on a cancer treatment that caused his fingers to crack and become and infected. He had been trying to write as much as he could to preserve his thoughts and beliefs for his loved ones and their children. He wanted to leave a legacy. Without the ability to hold a pen or type, even that was being taken from him. It seemed so cruel.
One of my husband’s friends gave him a wonderful gift. It was Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software. I installed it on his computer and was soon seeing the benefits the software could have for me. I have rheumatoid arthritis. My hands would often become painfully inflamed. I ordered a dictation headset of my own and installed the software on my laptop.
How Dictation Software Works
While I waited for the headset to be delivered, I learned all I could about how dictation works. The software and headset actually work together to learn the user’s speech patterns. You read specific passages of text. The more you use the dictation software, the more accurate it becomes.
Dictation is best done in silence so that speech from TV, radio, and other people, doesn’t interfere with the recording. There are special commands you will need to learn in order to correctly punctuate and format your work. Later, your work should be thoroughly edited to find typos and dictation mistakes.
Think before you speak.
It’s helpful to write out an outline of what you plan to dictate. If you need to think for a moment about what you are going to say next, it’s okay. Stop. Think. Then speak the words as you would normally say them. Once they are in print, no one will ever know that you needed to take a short “think break.”
If you don’t need precision writing for your project, you can dictate ideas and stories while doing something else with your hands (like cleaning your desk).
Dictation will help you become a better speaker. It can help you to speak more clearly and concisely. Even though the software will adapt to your speech patterns, you will find far fewer mistakes to fix later if you speak clearly during dictation. You will also learn to speak with confidence. No soft-spoken dictation allowed. Your microphone will struggle to pick up the words. Dictation will train you to avoid filler words like, “uh, um, ah.” Anyone who has ever attended a Toastmasters meeting can tell you that these are words to abolish from your vocabulary.
Faster than Typing
Dictation is a great way to get a rough draft down on paper. The speed also gives you less time to think through what you want on the page, adding a more natural, less polished “sound” to the text. A great way to practice dictation is writing an email or letter to a friend. You can almost imagine your friend is right there in the room with you.
How does dictation help your creativity?
It enables you to write, even if there are physical ailments could otherwise prevent you from doing so.
It’s a different way to express your thoughts—verbally rather than in typing, printing or handwriting. Each of these uses the brain in different ways.
My favorite thing about dictation is that it can protect your hands from joint inflammation and repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as fingertips that are painful for other reasons such as chemotherapy. If you can’t physically get your words onto the page, you can’t share your creative thoughts.
While you’re here, sign up for my email list to get a periodic email newsletter to encourage your creativity.
What are YOUR thoughts?
I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!
I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available at Amazon.com.
I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.