Have you ever tried using a voice recorder to “write” your book instead of typing it out?
Pros of Using a Voice Recorder
- You can “write” your book wherever you are, whether you’re exercising, cleaning the house, or running errands.
- Talking is faster than writing, so you can get your ideas down quicker.
- You’re not staring at an intimidating blank page.
- You won’t get distracted from creating by editing errors or typos.
- Because it’s a different form of creativity, it may help with writer’s block.
- You can use it just to brainstorm and record your ideas or to actually dictate your novel.
Cons of Using a Voice Recorder
- You may be too distracted by other things you’re doing to actually record quality material.
- Choosing the right technology and setting it up can be difficult.
- You may do better writing out your thoughts than speaking them aloud.
- Switching from typing to recording make take some practice.
- Sometimes the software you use to convert your audio file to text misses or omits words.
- You generally have more clean up to do in your document.
Voice Recorder Technology
You can do a variety of things to record yourself.
If you’re on the go, you can carry around a handheld recorder or even your phone. You can even use a Bluetooth earpiece so you don’t have to hold your device to your mouth. There are many free apps out there that have neat features such as skipping silence and muting background noise. One such app that also works with Bluetooth (not all do!) is Parrot. Most apps allow you to save your recording as a MP3 or WMA file that you can then email to yourself so you have it ready on your computer.
If you’re already at your computer, and just don’t feel like typing, you can record yourself with a microphone or headset. For both PCs and Macs, you’ll need to first enable this feature in your computer settings before you can use it in any program.
On your PC, turn on Speech-to-text recognition by going to your computer Settings -> Options -> Ease of Access -> Speech Recognition (if you don’t see this last option, try searching for it in the search bar of your settings). Click Start Speech Recognition and follow the steps to set up your microphone. You can also take a tutorial and train your computer to understand your voice better before using this feature in Microsoft Word. A microphone bar will appear at the top of your screen. You can click on the microphone to start recording, and it’ll transcribe your speech into whatever program you have open (including Microsoft Word!)
For a Mac, go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Dictation, and turn it on. In Word, you’d then go to Edit -> Start Diction. The words will appear on the screen as you speak, and there is no need to convert a previously saved audio file to text.
Recording on your computer is a good way to start training to use audio so give it a try.
Once you have your recording, you may choose to listen to it and transcribe it yourself. Or you can use technology to transcribe it for you! One popular software is Dragon Naturally Speaking, and it’s better than a lot of programs out there, but it does cost a significant amount. If you’re looking for a more economical way to “speak” your books or want to give it a try before you invest $$$, Google Chrome has FREE software that can transcribe your recording. Just go to your Google Drive, create a new Google Doc, and from the tools menu, choose voice typing. Then play back your audio file. (Your audio file will need to be loud and clear.) You can also speak and watch it type for you.
Have you used a voice recorder to brainstorm or write your book? We’d love to hear what you’ve done in the comments below.