I recently bought a piece of dictation software when it was on sale. Mind you, it was a really good deal, but it’s never a good idea to buy things just because they’re on sale. Actually, I’ve been considering buying this software, or rather dreaming of it because of its price tag, for a very long time, because it’s the only good dictation software on the market that will work with a laptop mic.
Now, you may ask why I’m buying dictation software to begin with. I don’t work in an industry that requires dictation software. I don’t need to train on this for any professional reason. It sure as hell doesn’t make me any more productive. I think I’ve just spent 10 minutes dictating these past five lines, which would take me maybe two minutes to type. Honestly, if I have to say “correct that” or “delete that” one more time, I might just pull my hair (which would really be a tragedy, because I finally grew it out again).
So why am I sitting here struggling, with my face pressed up against my laptop, trying to get as close to the mic as possible without licking the screen? Why am I demonstrating how many different ways I can say licking for the benefit of my next-door neighbours? Why am I dragging out each word from this little green flame inch by painful inch?
(And trust me, this is painful. Every bit of punctuation is a battle, every word gained is a victory, and every phrase I don’t need to correct is a miracle.)
Originally, I wanted to buy it because I am a notorious multitasker. It always frustrated me that my hands had to be occupied when I wanted to write, and I couldn’t do anything else. Yes, I know, multitasking is shown to be counterproductive, and to be honest, it’s going to take me a long time before I can do anything else but dictate when I’m writing. This is a steep learning curve.
Instead, dictation software has two key benefits: first of all, I’m learning to be more deliberate when I speak, and second of all, I can hear the unnatural constructs that are so comfortable to type. Now, anyone who spoken to me knows that I am a very nervous speaker, and I tend to repeat myself a lot because I lose my train of thought. I can’t afford to do that when I’m using dictation software, because it is painful to correct. Also, requiring me to compose each sentence as I’m going and think about each sentence, is making me focus and concentrate on my writing as I never have before, which I think is a good thing because I tend to be fairly distracted when I do anything in life.
Yet, as deliberate as this form of composition is, it feels a lot more natural to read and reread than a lot of my previous work. It’s harder to put down convoluted phrases and words when you can already hear how stupid they sound. Maybe this experiment will help me find every writer’s unicorn: my unique writer’s voice (or maybe I’ll win the lottery. A girl can dream).
All in all, I think this piece of software will be a keeper, and even if it’s not, I will have learned something very important. I’ll be writing some blog posts and some other things with my dictation software for the next little while, so if there’s a weird phrase or word or turn of phrase in there while I surmount this learning curve, my apologies. I’m sure I’ll accidentally publish something hilarious and embarrassing (not that it’s been the first time I’ve done that deliberately on this blog ), so stay tuned.
I just hope I get a mic soon, before I actually lick my screen or pull my hair out.