Sunday, 16 July 2017

Review - Using dictation software to write again

Please Dragon help me write again!

For those who are regulars to my blog you maybe aware that I suffer from numerous joint/wrist complaints. After a car accident (as the pedestrian) over ten years ago and then a riding accident several years ago, I have suffered from numerous injuries in my arms/hands such as tendinitis, recurring nerve problems, joint cysts, cubital tunnel syndrome and now investigations into rhuematoid arthritis/autoimmue disease. Writing is a challenge. More than a challenge most days. But I'm a writer and that won't change. I need to write. I need to get those thoughts from my head, so I have looked for solutions.

Software for speech recognition has been suggested and I have being researching into this. Reviews are mixed, but I was willing to give anything a try. So far I have been practising using the downloadable free software onto my Iphone. I wanted to get a feel for dictating before I invested more in this idea and purchased the computer package (which has questionable reviews). Here are my findings from the Dragon dictate app for Iphone.

Review into Nuance Dragon Dictation App

I'm going to divide this review into pros and cons, which I feel suits this review better, with an overview of the results are the bottom.

  • I don't have to use my arms at all. Well that is the theory, not in practise yet. Only my thumb for copying and pasting the finished writing into what ever program I'd like it in e.g. email or text message or copied across to put into word
  • My voice seemed to work well with the app and there were few words 'substituted' when the program wasn't sure what I said.
  • You can talk faster than you can type so should produce quicker writing, however see below in cons as it doesn't work this way.
  • I can write anywhere that I have my phone.
  • The large amount of errors. Apparently this will improve as I get used to using the program and more competent. However at the moment a lot of time is spent going back to correct the errors, which means using my hands.
  • Having to remember to say ALL the punctuation. This is very time consuming and slows down the writing considerably.
  • Writing speech marks etc is very difficult due to the punctuation.
  • Stilts the thought processes. I found it hard to make the writing flow. I have to concentrate too much on remembering to say things (punctuation) that the writing became stilted. This wasn't such a problem for emails and texts and shorter passages of text.
  • Speaking out loud seems to limit my creativity. Hopefully again this will improve as I get used to the software.
Dragon Dictation is FREE in the Iphone app store or can be purchased on Amazon at:
Warning: Make sure the version that you buy is compatible for your software/computer.
Next steps and verdict

This is the best recommended speech software out there but at the moment I'm not completely sold that it will help solve my problems. The software has clitches that if dont improve over time and gaining competency, mean I would use my arms nearly as much as I would before or would make writing twice as time consuming. My next steps are to try the software on my laptop to make it easier to write larger passages of text for example during my novel writing processes. If Stephen King can apparently do it, so can I! And if it works, it will open the whole world up again for my writing. So watch out, my novels will come thick and fast!

If you have had any experiences with this software, I'd love your thoughts in the comments below.

Letters to Eloise my debut is available to download on KindleUnlimited or on ebook/paperback here:

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