Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#1
Hey, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember but just recently began to do so in a more formal manner.

My current job has me driving for about 10 hours a day. I’ve used a lot of this time to have a nice fantasy chill playlist in the background and just think about my novel and nail down most of the plot. 

Now that I have so much of the world and story built out I want to spend more time actually writing. At home I have two little boys under 3 years old so the only time I have is early in the morning or late at night. 

That’s where the the suggestions come into play. 

I’ve started to “write” while driving. What I mean by that is I’ve been using iOS dictation to just write by talking to my phone in various apps.

The problem is that iOS’s built in dictation isn’t fantastic. I end up having to rewrite so much if it because a lot of times it does such a poor job that I can’t even tell what I was trying to say.

Now, it has to be rewritten anyway because it’s not like I’m pouring out gold when I’m driving down the road. But I’d at least like it to accurately capture what I do say so I don’t have to wrack my brain just to understand the words in a logical way. 

Any suggestions on a good dictation app or software? 

Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#4

Wrote: The dictation program that I have seen recommended most often is dragon naturally speaking, though iirc it only runs on windows, so you'd need to dictate into a recording and use it to transcribe later. It also costs a not insignificant amount of money. Here is an article of other options to consider.



Hey! Dragon does have an ios app as well, and I tested it out today. But it almost seemed to an even worse job at picking up the words I was saying haha. 

I'll check out the article though! 

I think I will try dragon again tomorrow with headphones in that have a mic so maybe it will hear me better that way. 

Thanks for the reply!

Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#5

Wrote: As an alternative of a voice detected typer. How about recording your voice, and then paying someone 5$(per recorded hour) on fiverr to transcribe that. 
It is not a free solution, but depending on your aim with your story, this might work for you.



Hey! That might be a solid way to get it done if it comes to that, great suggestion. 

Without my writing bringing me any income as of yet I'm not sure if I will be able to swing paying to have it done. But it might work out. 

Also, it's much harder for me to "write" through dictation so I feel bad for the poor soul that would have to slog through that. haha

Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#6
One thing with voice to text functions is that they're terrible at picking out words unless you speak slowly and enunciate very clearly. If you have any -- and I do mean any-- accent at all, the words will be garbled or wrong. The voice model seems to be designed to be as neutral as possible, so it's for English, but not New York English, or Texas English, or Vancouver English, or Glasgow English, etc. For people who have heavy ESL accents, pretty much forget about it. If any of that applies to you, getting voice to text to function will require a great deal of mindfulness, plus you often have to specify commas and full stops, but semicolons and other punctuation are usually misread.

Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#7
I have tried this myself and it ended up pretty terribly for me. To be fair, though, this was years ago and technology has probably improved, but it's still not amazing.

Instead of using that time for writing, maybe you should look into listening to audiobooks for writing inspiration? Ten hours a day can get you through a huge number of books in a short period of time, and it can help you figure out things you want to do in your book when you listen. You could always alternate between audiobook-music-dictation too, if you feel like that works. 

If you do ever do audiobooks, the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith audiobook is fantastic inspiration for any writer, even fantasy authors (ESPECIALLY fantasy authors), and you wouldn't do badly to check out the classics like Dracula, or HP Lovecraft's works, or even the Trojan Cycle if you haven't ever read that. I only drive 2 hours a day a couple times a week but this is what I tend to do.

Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#8

Wrote: Without my writing bringing me any income as of yet I'm not sure if I will be able to swing paying to have it done.


You might try a modified idea:
Instead of paying someone to write it down, have it played to your computer and use a variant of dragon there to transfer it.
That will require an at least halfway soundproofed room to let it work while you're with your family.

The dragon software has the highest quality of such software as far as I know, because they have been developing it for one or two decades.
I know that some professional authors (for example david weber) completely write their books with it (if i remember correctly Mr. Weber has a medical issue with his hands preventing him from typing for years).

However there are two problems with any such software: It needs a lot of processing power to be done correctly, which is why reduced versions on mobiles are so bad.
And it needs to be intensily configured to the voice and accent of the user, or it will require too many corrections.

So it can work that way, but you'll have to put in a few dozen extra hours on your computer to teach the software how you speak before it can work without too many typos.

Re: Fairly new author that drives 10 hours a day. Need suggestions!

#9

Wrote:
Wrote: The dictation program that I have seen recommended most often is dragon naturally speaking, though iirc it only runs on windows, so you'd need to dictate into a recording and use it to transcribe later. It also costs a not insignificant amount of money. Here is an article of other options to consider.



Hey! Dragon does have an ios app as well, and I tested it out today. But it almost seemed to an even worse job at picking up the words I was saying haha. 

I'll check out the article though! 

I think I will try dragon again tomorrow with headphones in that have a mic so maybe it will hear me better that way. 

Thanks for the reply!



I've been using Dragon for ~20 years, and it is far and away the best dictation software available. However, it does take time for it to learn your accent and way of speaking. At first, it's going to be terrible...but spend a few hours just talking into it and it will learn how you speak.

Once it's done learning, it's mostly error-free, in my experience. It even learned my thick southern accent back in the '90s.

Of curse, I've only ever used the full PC app and never tried a mobile version. You might need a beefy phone to use it to its full potential. Do you have a laptop you can just leave open on your passenger seat with Dragon running?