Writing with a full-time job takes dedication. You have to make time to write because “finding” time is nearly impossible. And when we do get writing time, it is sacred.
This summer, I read a blog post on the reasons why you should try dictating your first draft. I’ll admit, when I read it, I thought that it was NOT going to work, but I thought I’d give it a shot. What would be the harm? At the most, I would waste fifteen minutes dictating a scene. So, I tried it, using the “note” app on my iphone. (Microsoft Word has a dictation setting as well, but the phone is easier for me to tote around while I pace and dictate.)
And I could not believe the results. I reached my daily word count goal, which usually takes two hours to write, in a third of the time! Now, dictation plays a key role in keeping my first draft ahead of/on schedule and my deadlines met.
Here’s how I set up for a successful dictation session:
Step one: Write out your micro-outline (scene by scene). In your outline, you will want to include some dialogue as well. I usually bullet point what I want my characters to say to give me some guidelines. (This step will be irksome to the pantsers…I know because I was one, but trust me, it is VITAL to set up an outline.)
Step two: Using your dictation device (Word or iphone “note” app.) and your notes, start recording. The only thing that tripped me up in the beginning was having to say “period” or “exclamation point” to insert punctuation. At first, I even said “open quotations.” However, I discovered that inserting all punctuation slows the process too much for me, so I just stick with saying, “comma, period, question mark, or exclamation point” for my basic punctuation placeholders.
You will have to turn off your inner editor, but it is so much easier to edit choppy writing than to edit a blank page 🙂
Step three: Send it to yourself and format it into your Word document.
Side note: I always write “Edit:” as a place marker before any dictated words so that I know where it starts or so I can find it in a hurry in a large manuscript by typing “edit” into the word search bar.
Step Four: Edit. I used to edit right away, but now that I have a newborn, I dictate through the week and use the weekends or evenings to edit if I can’t get to it.
I hope dictation helps you reach your word count goals and maybe even exceed them!
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