For those who find typing a challenge or who, like me, have handwriting that makes hieroglyphics seem legible, you can talk your book instead. Some may find this method less intimidating than writing. Others of us are great talkers, gifted with better oral skills than written ones.

It is a way to get your writing started and get thoughts out of your head quickly. Even if typing or writing it out is your preferred method, it may be the perfect solution if you are stuck on a chapter (or stuck in traffic). It uses different parts of your brain and the results may surprise you. Although it may not be perfectly typed as dictated, I find it easy to clean up the writing manually. In any case, it is at least worth the time to experiment. Regardless of the app used for dictation, they all get better the more you use it.

[bctt tweet=”Talk your book to get it written and published faster. #writing” username=”loishoffmande”]

On a computer

To set up the dictation tools on a Mac follow these instructions from the Apple support page:

Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Dictation & Speech. Turn on Dictation, then choose from these Dictation options:

  • Choose whether to use Enhanced Dictation.
  • Choose your language and dialect. Some languages, such as English, have multiple dialects.
  • Choose the keyboard shortcut you will use to signal that you’re ready to start dictating.
  • Choose your preferred microphone from the pop-up menu below the microphone icon.

I’m using the dictation tools now to write this sentence. On a Mac, click the “fn” key twice and a microphone appears. Begin speaking into the microphone and the words automatically type on the screen. (Say “period” at the end of each sentence.) Click done or the “fn” key twice when you are finished. Find additional voice commands to enhance your writing here.

The Windows-based speech recognition software requires a few more steps. In the search box on the taskbar, type Speech Recognition, and select Windows Speech Recognition. They suggest using an external microphone for the best quality in dictation. Set up the microphone and program the software to recognize your voice. Once you complete these steps you can begin using the software or take a tutorial to learn more about using it. Get more details about using Windows speech recognition here.

Portable Devices

One of the beautiful things about voice recognition is its portability. Anytime, anywhere you have a thought just pull out your phone or grab your tablet and capture it. Whether you are on a long car ride, in the line at the grocery store, or are hit by creative genius in the middle of the night, you won’t miss a word.

On an iPhone, open the Notes app. Click on the microphone and begin speaking. Click “done” on either the bottom or top of the screen when you are finished. You have the option of sending this note via email to yourself to copy and paste into your word processing program using the icon at the bottom of the Notes window.

How to talk your book using Mac Notes

There is a native dictation tool on an Android device, as well. Open any note taking app on your phone. When you reveal the keyboard, tap the microphone next to the spacebar and begin speaking similar to the Mac. While this feature has some editing limitations, the whole point is to get your thoughts out of your head into a form you can use later for molding into your own creation.

Other Apps

Two popular apps for note taking are Evernote and One Note. I’m a One Note fan and use it for everything from project planning, book outlining, course development, and to-do lists. One Note is a free app for phone, tablet, and computer and syncs across platforms. Evernote has similar features and has their own band of raving fans.

Both apps allow you to dictate notes and give you added features you won’t find in native note taking apps. The fact that I can dictate a note on my phone and have it available on my computer when I get home is invaluable.

[bctt tweet=”Use dictation features in Evernote and OneNote to capture thoughts on the fly. #amwriting” username=”loishoffmande”]

So, pull out your phone and talk away. See what thoughts emerge and how your brain works differently. It may take a little time to get used to speaking your ideas, but once you know you can capture inspiration whenever you find it, you’ll start to look for it more often.

Let me know what you discover!

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