Writing Tools #1: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13

As I spoke a little bit about yesterday I just recently got a new version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Now even though I had a surgery for my carpal tunnel in both hands I still to be careful how much I use my hands and what activities I do with them. Being that my occupation doing props requires me to use my hands a great deal, finding ways of doing tasks without stressing my hands out seems a good idea. That and I find when I struggle less with spelling and other very visual tasks while writing the writing itself flows better. I can just close my eyes and create and then come back and clean everything up later. This process did not work as well on the Dragon 10 for the Mac, Dragon Dictate I think it’s called, because the accuracy was pretty crappy even after I trained the software.

This version of Dragon is completely different. The tutorial is far more interactive so there are things I learned the tutorial that I didn’t know I could do which make things easier editing wise when there is a mistake, and honestly the mistakes are minimal in comparison to the other version I’m used to using. So far I’ve only been using the software for writing emails and blog posts, since a lot of what I have to do on my current writing project (I’m doing revisions on the two thirds of Natural Rebirth I’ve completed so far, the sequel to Natural Order) is editing and revisions rather than lots of writing. Though once I do the initial revision it is possible I could use the software for spot editing now that I know how to use the “correct” command in Dragon. It’d be worth playing with.

I wanted to tell people about the Dragon software because there are a lot of people like me, especially older writers, who have problems with their hands such as carpal tunnel or arthritis. I also believe that there is something in the Dragon software that allows you to read the text back to you, at least there used to be in other versions, which might be good for those of us having vision issues as well. I’ve noticed that I need my fonts much larger when I edit than I use to so I may be using that part of the program more often as well if it works in this version. It’d be nice if I actually had a text-to-speech program that has some more pleasant voices that of the ones I’ve used (like a sexy female British or Australian accent would be very, very nice please).

I do like the fact that this one has a cheat sheet for certain commands which will make things easier for me to expand my use of the program. In any case as I get older I’m finding having a program like Dragon gives me so much more freedom when it comes to writing as far as the time I can write in the comfort in which I can write in. When I was just typing in my carpal tunnel had started to get really bad I’d right into my hands hurt and I’d have to stop, whether or not my creative flow was done. This often left me very frustrated because sometimes when I came back I would struggle to get that creative flow to return. With the speech to text software as long as I have a quiet house and some time to myself to write I can go until my muse or my voice gives out, both who have a lot more endurance than my hands. I admit in a house with two kids getting a quiet house can be challenging, and when they make noise unexpectedly Dragon had a tendency to write some pretty weird shit on my page.

Now that I have a version of Dragon that requires less editing because of inaccuracies in the program I think the amount I get done in those periods of quiet has possibly being so much more. I am very excited about these possibilities and what that might mean for my writing output. This said, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be any faster in the ending part of things considering writing as a creative flow is a ton easier for me to do with my ADD brain that editing ever has been, but even so I think a lot more stories will be birthed to life in the future then might have been without it. Now I only got the home version not the premier, but it was a damn good 50 bucks spent.

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