I quickly learned how to be a faster and better writer with Dragon Naturally Speaking; my only regret is I waited so long to use speech recognition software in my work. I was introduced to Dragon Naturally Speaking more than five years ago but I hesitated to invest in it because I didn’t think it would work for me. Boy, was I wrong!
Not only had I heard about Dragon Naturally Speaking way back in 2011, I actually published a guest post here on Blossom (then called Quips and Tips for Successful Writers) about Dragon. Sharon Hurley Hall was the writer who shared her tips on using speech recognition software for writing blog posts and magazine articles.
Here’s one reader’s comment about Dragon for writers:
“Thanks for this interesting article on Dragon Naturally Speaking,” says Marv on How to Use Speech Recognition Software – 5 Tips for Writers (Shirley’s article). “I’ve been thinking about writing with speech recognition software for a couple of years now. But I hesitate because I think it won’t help my writing skills. In fact, I think it could be detrimental because I’m writing less and talking more. What do you think of that? Could Dragon Naturally Speaking actually ‘dumb down’ your writing skills?”
On the contrary! Dragon Naturally Speaking doesn’t decrease your skills as a writer. Dictating into speech recognition software can actually improve your writing and editing skills, help you write faster and better, and make you a more productive writer. Dictating your thoughts will help you write more words, sentences, paragraphs, articles, blog posts, chapters, and books than you could ever do by typing alone.
A quick list of the 10 ways Dragon has helped me write fast and better:
- Allows me to write a 2,500 word article in less than 2 hours
- Reveals my writing quirks and weaknesses in a fresh new way
- Helps me find flow, which improves my writing speed
- Encourages me to be more expressive and heartfelt in my writing
- Gives me time to respond to readers’ comments on my blogs
- Lets me use hand and arm gestures
- Trains my brain to solve new and different problems
- Reduces the strain on my fingers, wrists, and forearms
- Increases my sense of emotional and mental well-being
- Will soon improve my physical fitness levels
My only regret with Dragon Naturally Speaking is that I waited so long to buy it.
Even though I’d heard writers talk about speech recognition software on various productivity and writing podcasts, I didn’t think it would work for me. Why? Because I thought that as a “professional writer” I’d actually need to type words. Dictating did not seem like writing to me.
Here’s why I am so glad I invested in Dragon, and how it is making me a better writer. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should buy Dragon, I encourage you to try it. What have you got to lose? You can always return it and get your money back if it doesn’t work for you!
10 Ways Dragon Helps Me Write Faster and Better
Yes, I am “writing” this blog post with Dragon’s speech recognition software 🙂
Here’s the number one reason I decided to buy speech recognition software: speaking speed versus typing speed. I can talk 110-150 words per minute – but I can only type about 50 words per minute. Which leads me to my first tip for writing faster with Dragon Naturally Speaking…
1. Dragon allows me to “write” a 2,500 word article in less than 2 hours
I’m a full-time blogger; my sole source of income is my Blossom blogs. I hired writers in the past to contribute blog posts but I found that not only did I not like editing their writing, I also spent too much time doing administrative tasks (eg, paying invoices, chasing writers to submit their invoices so I could pay them, teaching writers how to create invoices, etc).
It’s extremely important that I produce at least one blog post per day. I need to “feed the machine” so I can continue making money as a blogger. Plus, I love writing! That’s one of the reasons I didn’t think Dragon Naturally Speaking would work for me as a writer. I didn’t think I’d be comfortable dictating my blog posts and articles. After all, isn’t the mark of a “real writer” someone who actually uses their hands and fingers to write words? Possibly.
Dragon allows me to write and edit a 2,500 word article in less than two hours. I can have it posted on my blog – along with images and resources for readers – within 30 minutes. This saves me one hour every morning. Huge! A miracle! That translates to at least five hours a week. Since I earn about $40 per hour, I can potentially use that time to make an extra $200 every week. Shazam!
2. Speech recognition software reveals my writing peccadillos in new ways
Dragon is not only teaching me how to write faster, it’s also revealing my weaknesses as a writer. For example, I’m learning through speech recognition software how often I use commas and exclamation marks! I actually already knew that I overuse exclamation marks, so Dragon merely reinforced this insight into my own writing. But still, it was good to learn that I still tend to lean too much on those exclamation marks when I write.
As a writer, you want to learn as much as you can about your own writing habits, quirks, and weaknesses. Speech recognition software helps you by revealing how you write – if you pay attention. Also – directly related to the first way that Dragon Naturally Speaking can help you learn how to write faster and better – it gives you more time to study and improve your writing peccadillos.
3. Dragon helps me find flow, which increases my writing speed
This, I’m still working on. As a writer I always always always struggle to stop editing as I write.
I can’t just leave a sentence and keep writing if there’s something wrong with that last sentence! I’d hoped that using speech recognition software would help me separate my writing from my editing, but it hasn’t yet. And it’s been five whole days since I bought Dragon and started dictating my writing.
I do find flow when I “write” with Dragon Naturally Speaking – but only if I keep my eyes locked on the view outside my office window. If I watch Dragon type my dictation on the computer screen in front of me, I tend to keep going back and editing what I just wrote. This is not a good tip for writing faster and and better. It’s much more productive and efficient to find flow and write that first draft, and then edit later.
4. Speaking encourages me to write from the heart
I didn’t expect to write differently with speech recognition software, and I really didn’t expect Dragon Naturally Speaking to change my writing voice. But it has! I’ve found that my writing is more creative and expressive when I dictate my articles than when I’m simply typing.
I’m not sure why this is. It’s possibly because when I’m typing my fingers can’t keep up with my brain so I can’t get everything on the screen. But when I’m talking and using speech recognition software I can express more thoughts, feelings, and opinions than I could possibly type. So this is helping me write better by making me more expressive. This is particularly helpful in the next tip on how to write faster and better with Dragon Naturally Speaking
5. Dragon gives me time to respond to readers’ comments on my blogs
Responding to readers’ comments on my Blossom blogs has been a thorn in my side since 2008 (when I first started blogging).
I write blog posts that deal with painful problems in love and life. Readers respond by sharing their own personal problems and asking for advice. I don’t give advice. I’m a writer, I love blogging about personal problems, but I just can’t tell people how to solve their problems.
I’m grateful to Dragon speech software for helping me respond to readers’ comments in a fresh new way! I can actually give readers my thoughts from my heart and spirit, and it takes less than five minutes per comment. It amazes me because I always felt bad about not being able to respond to my readers…yet I just didn’t have the time to comment in any way, much less try to reach out in love and compassion. Now, I can respond to readers quickly and painlessly.
6. Speech recognition software lets me use hand and arms
Do you sometimes get excited or passionate when you write? Do you find that you need your hands and arms to help you express your feelings? I didn’t realize how important my hand and arm gestures are in my thought processes and communication abilities. So now that I’m using speech recognition software to write my articles, my hands and arms are free to gesticulate or wave madly in the air or nervously twirl the string on my bunny hug.
Moving my arms and hands as I speak my articles helps me find the right words because it frees my body to be part of what I’m trying to say. This goes back to being a more expressive and heartfelt writer. I never thought that speech recognition software would help me find my writer’s voice, but it really has.
7. Dragon trains my brain to solve new and different problems
True confessions time: I use a Mac, and this article “How to Write Faster and Better – Dragon Naturally Speaking” just crashed for the first time. And with any type of software – speech recognition or not – there will be glitches, problems, and frustrations. So while I love using Dragon speech software to write my blog posts and respond to readers comments, I’m not saying it’s a perfect system.
Pause for a problem writing with Dragon Naturally Speaking: just now I realized that I often have problems when I’m dictating at the page break area in documents in my MacBook Pro. There must be something about the page break that Dragon Naturally Speaking isn’t able to maneuver well. I guess dragons just can’t leap over the moats of page breaks in Macs. Good to know!
Learning new things, such as what Dragon does and does not do well for writers, is very good for our writing brains. It teaches problem-solving skills and new methods of communication. The more active your brain, the more agile it will be now…and when you are in your 80s.
8. Speech recognition software reduces the strain on my wrists and forearms
Back to the 10 ways Dragon Naturally Speaking is helping me learn how to write faster and better: the beast of carpal tunnel syndrome.
I’ve been working on the keyboard and mouse all day every day since 2008, and have been noticing a tightening in my forearm and thumb area on my right hand. My mother-in-law had surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome a couple years ago. Her right hand and arm was out of commission for a full month after her surgery. I don’t want that!
Dragon speech recognition software is a perfect way to avoid repetitive strain. Why? Because instead of writing a blog post for two hours straight – and responding to readers comments for an hour a day – I am now talking instead of typing for those three hours every day. That gives my arms, hands, and forearms time to rest. This is crucial for writers who want to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you deal with repetitive strain injury, read How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for Writers.
9. Dragon increases my sense of emotional and mental well-being
I feel incredibly good about myself as a blogger ever since I’ve been writing articles faster and responding to readers comments in heartfelt ways. I just feel better about my work habits since I started using speech recognition software. I really do like dictating my articles – and that does surprise me.
And of course the better I feel about myself, the more productive I’ll be as a writer. My self-esteem has a direct relationship to my ability to write better and faster. It’s a direct correlation: the better I feel about myself, the more I’ll write. And the more I write with Dragon, the better I feel about myself. Upward spiral.
10. Dragon will soon help improve my physical fitness levels
Can you guess what my next investment is in myself as a writer who wants to learn how to write faster and better?
No, not a Speech Recognition Headset for Dragon Naturally Speaking – but that would be awesome. I just use the built-in microphone on my Mac.
My next investment – which is actually waiting for me downstairs – is a treadmill desk! Yes, I finally did it! I bought a treadmill that I can walk on while I write. I’ve been wanting a treadmill desk for three or four years. Since I made over $41,000 in December as an Amazon affiliate, I decided to finally buy myself a treadmill desk. I will start using it this afternoon, and will let you know next week how I fare on it. Will a treadmill desk help me write faster and better? I don’t know. But Dragon speech software will definitely help me right while walking on a treadmill.
Do you need tips on how to write faster and better, but don’t think speech recognition software is for you? Read 6 Ways to be a More Productive Writer or Blogger.
Resources for Dragon Naturally Speaking software
You can buy Dragon Naturally Speaking through Amazon or Nuance.com. I purchased the digital copy, which still comes with a money-back guarantee. I’m not sending it back, though!
Dragon Naturally Speaking is:
- The fastest and most accurate way to interact with your computer; Dragon dramatically boosts your personal productivity and helps you realize your full potential
- A personalized, voice-driven experience; Dragon gets even more accurate as it learns the words and phrases you use the most, spelling even difficult words and proper names correctly
- The best way to create, format and edit documents because voice allows you to think out loud and break through barriers to creativity
Speech software really has increased my productivity as a writer – but I do need help with a few little things, such as how to train Dragon spell Laurie instead of Lori when I say my name.
The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon: Using Speech Recognition Software to Dictate Your Book and Supercharge Your Writing Workflow by Scott Baker is an excellent resource for the nitty-gritty details of how to use speech recognition software.
Dragon Naturally Speaking is easy to use, but there are a few things I still need to learn. I haven’t taken the time to explore the actual software itself to learn its features and benefits; a book like The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon is perfect.
Scott Baker first began using Dragon voice recognition software in the late 1990s (when it was terrible!). NaturallySpeaking has improved dramatically since then, and Scott now uses dictation on a daily basis. In his book, he shares the tricks and techniques used by professionals within the speech recognition industry to write thousands of words per hour.
Okay, fellow scribes, how many typos and errors did you spot in this blog post about writing faster and better with speech recognition software? I did not go back to edit this article. I edited as I wrote even though I promised myself I would stop doing that.
Luckily, I’m not writing for the New York Times. 🙂