I dictated this last week, in an attempt to prove that I was indeed super-human and could work 45 hour week in the 100 degree plus heat AND be all wordy. Now I do suppose if I had used the old “Dictated not Read” premise of days gone by this post would have been on time, but yeah, my dictation is not THAT good yet, what a horrible rambly mess it was!
… so now I present to you, Last Week’s blog post… tonight, post-editing. (which is now a humor piece as I leave in all my forecasting about the future and my word counts)
Dictation. Today’s blog post is all about dictation, or in
other words how I get through busy season. Lately I have been trying Dragon.
Training Dragon was relatively simple, once I figured it out. (AKA read the
directions.) For me I have very little luck getting microphones and my computers
to agree with each other, so I simply use my phone and make an audio file. I use a recording app that was free. (also AD FREE.) I take that wav. file and I import into a folder on my desktop. Then using Dragons ‘tools’ area import the file. Now I don’t have to listen to it while it transcribes!
To be really honest with you one of the hardest things about dictation for me, at least in the beginning was that I hate the sound of my own voice. I mean seriously. For example: One time I had taken a walk and come up with some really good stuff, so on my walk I made an audio file. I recorded about 18 minutes worth of material and I thought, I’m going to nail this writer thing!! I just wrote an entire chapter!
I hoped to get a chapter done every two days. At that rate I could be pumping out these
books, which I’ve already plotted by the way, to complete the series. Suddenly I picture them happening in rapid succession, maybe I can make my publishing goals even during the hard parts of the busy season!! I’m a landscaper by trade, and when it’s hot and I’m tired and it’s been a long day, the last thing I can do well is make the words sound pretty. You know “Make with the wording.” I have found that is the first few properties, when my mind drifts and it is still almost cool out, that the really great ideas take place. Using my phone, while the crew is finishing up the final details on the site, I can do dictation.
So anyways, I digress. I know (an additional side effect of the dictation). When I tried to transcribe the 18 minute of work is felt next to impossible. I know dictation is hard, and I assumed it would take me an hour or so to transcribe. No, no, no, no. Not one hour, not two hours, not even three hours. It took me three days. Now mind you, during those three days I had a lot of other things going on. It did not help that I only could listen to five sentences at a time before I just stopped. Oh no, please someone save me from the sound of my own voice! Do I really sound like that in person? How do you all put up with me as I ramble on forever? Bless you all for ever hanging out with me. And that is all
I can say about that. So anyway Dragon, I bought Dragon.
Now I had to save up for Dragon. The program isn’t cheap, but if you watch, Dragon
has sales on their website, also it can go on sale on Amazon. At first I just started tossing things at it. I didn’t train it. I didn’t do anything. I did attempt to use my microphone, no
joy. If I walked away to do chores my bluetooth was too far from the laptop, and the wired set, forgetaboutit. I didn’t have the time or the brainpower to figure out how to import an audio file, so for shits and giggles, I tried to just import the file by putting my phone next to the Bluetooth headset. The Bluetooth is connected to the computer, the phone is playing, and Dragon is trying to extrapolate the data. Basically the result was Dragon having an epileptic fit. I got some screenshots of the really hilarious data birthed by the experiment.
First off, Dragon doesn’t like to hear the sound of my voice either, and after a
few sentences Dragon started freaking out. Had I been watching the screen, I imagine I would have seen messages begging for help. “What did you just say” “Whoa lady, slow down,” and most likely “Hey, seriously lady, I didn’t get that. The audio file doesn’t take
breaks, and the way I am trying to force feed it is brutal. Poor Dragon, she’s just left on her own. So she gives me things like: “I kill you I kill you I kill you” and “balance left in the window Batman.” Houston we have a problem. After I finally got some good sleep, and I had a little time I bother to read the instructions *gasp* I found out that Dragon needed me to train it. (Yes, the rumors were true) That seems reasonable enough. It gives you a variety of book segments to choose from.
I picked the first book, which was interesting enough. It was 3001: A Space Odyssey. I really rather enjoyed it. I will say that the first time I did it, I thought “surely that was long enough” because I really wasn’t in the mood to read aloud, into a microphone. My restless nature was taking over, my need to be on the move (oh who am I kidding I had laundry to do)
I tried to tell Dragon it was enough to be trained on. Dragon replied, “No woman you have a thick Texas accent even though you’re convinced you don’t. I need for you, please, to read more of the chapter. Fifteen minutes later I had put a very large segments into an audio file, and had made a personal note to please buy the book, because hey that first chapter was really great.
Dragon went to work, and I went to do the laundry. That 15 minutes of audio took it almost 45 minutes to train off of. It was then I realized importing the files to Dragon gave it the ability to pause and catch up to itself, and most likely have a coffee break in the middle if it needed it. I know I did.
The first audiophile I dropped in turned into a document of not only words, but words that I actually recognized. Now comes the next problem: dictation notes. Yeah, I don’t know if I’m up for this. When I speak, I speak naturally. When I’m trying to write, trying to say it aloud and have it flow is difficult. I haven’t gotten used to the idea yet, to be able to create a chapter out loud. I will say it does seem to be getting better, smoother, but I’m not quite there yet.
So for now, there’s no dictation notes. There’s just me, rambling on and unfortunately it is a run-on sentence when I see it on the page. Now I am having to adapt to a new problem, an extreme lack of punctuation, capitalization or sentence structure. Not so much as a paragraph break.
At first this is very hard. It’s been a week, or maybe two, when I finally have the time to go through and look. I do my dictation during the week, taking Saturday to sort through it all. It is anything but easy, and honestly a little mind-numbing. I guess the good news is that I name all the dictation notes and the dictation files the same thing. So, for example, if I have a chapter 2 wav. file I have chapter 2 doc. file too. I can go back and listen to the wave should I really get lost. However, I will remind you what I said a few paragraphs ago, where I said “My God I hate the sound of my own voice”
So Item Three will be to learn dictation notes and commands. I think I need to let myself get a little better this idea of dictation first. After I get a little smoother, I will hopefully be able to add in the dictation notes that will make editing a smoother process. It is in my best interests to get this thing working.
Think of me why you’re sitting in your air-conditioning, and they are saying that the heat index will be in the triple digits. With any luck my phone won’t melt and I can get some chapters in!