Tuesday, March 12

How To Be A More Productive Writer: Use A Voice Recorder

Be A More Productive Writer: Use A Voice Recorder Elisabeth S. Craig, one of my favorite bloggers and authors, recently mentioned Katie Ganshert's post, The Secret To Writing Fast And Furious.

Katie Ganshert Used A Voice Recorder To Write Over 8,000 Words A Day

Just how fast are we talking? Katie writes:
Over the past three days, I wrote 25,000 words. By far the most I’ve ever written in so short a span.
While Katie mentions that several factors contributed to her burst of speed what she credits most is using a voice recorder. She writes:
When it comes to producing a massive output of words, this is my secret weapon.


Because I find the blank page incredibly intimidating. It is so hard for me to sit at the computer and create something out of nothing.

Walking on the treadmill and talking into a voice recorder, however, is easy-peasy.

So that’s how I started each day.

I spoke the scenes.

The beautiful thing about this method is that it completely silences the dreaded internal editor.

There’s no back space. There’s no flashing cursor. There’s no blank page. There’s no critical little man sitting on your shoulder, reading each sentence while tutting and shaking his head.
On a side note, Katie Ganshert's novel looks fantastic. Supernatural teens and Ouija boards, what's not to love?

Useing A Voice Recorder To Increase Your Daily Word Count

Elizabeth Craig, author of several mystery series, tried using dictation to increase her daily word count by speaking into a recorder when she couldn't be near a keyboard. Although Elizabeth didn't write 8,000 words a day she did add 1,000 words to her normal daily word count.

So what's Elizabeth's verdict? She writes:
I don’t use this method every day. But I’ve found that if I use it several times a week, it’s really pumped up my word count. Interestingly enough, I tend to make minor corrections (stronger verbs, better diction) when I type in the dictation…so I guess, in a way, I’m editing as I go when I use this method.

I use a free app that I downloaded on my phone. My phone is always with me (moms are the world’s emergency contacts), so I’ve always got my voice recorder with me. (Voice Recording as a Writing Tool)
I'm definitely going to try this. A friend gave me a recorder for Christmas last year, it's time I put it to good use!
Have you ever used a voice recorder, or voice recognition software, to write? Was it difficult to get used to speaking the words instead of writing them?

Other articles you might like:

- Writing And The Monomyth, Part Three
- Writers Beware of Authariam
- Chuck Wendig's Editing Plan: Edit A Novel In Four Months

Photo credit: "Misty and Daisy" by Stewart Black under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. Who does the transcription work? That's the hardest part of recording anything with a voice recorder. And it takes forever!

    1. Agreed.

      As you probably know, Dragon Naturally Speaking can import a file and transcribe it. I've found it doesn't take too long, but then I've never given Dragon a huge file.

      As for the accuracy, I've found that if the digital recorder is good and I've used something like a headset to do the recording that there aren't too many errors, but that largely depends on how much one has trained it. At least, that's been my (limited) experience.

      If I was going to do the transcription I think I'd play the file through my media player so I could use my remote to pause the playback. I've transcribed parts of movies, etc., and that method worked for me.

      Best of Vivienne, and thanks for your comment! :-)

    2. Karen, am a bit late in replying. However, the trouble with Dragon was that it took over my computer. Everything (even my accounts) was dominated by it. So it had to go. Have quite a good digital recorder on my mobile and using headphones makes it easier to transcribe material. But, as you say, playing back through the media player is better because you can pause with the remote. Appreciate your feedback in return.

    3. "...the trouble with Dragon was that it took over my computer."

      I've had programs do that, couldn't delete them fast enough. Too bad, though. Thank you for sharing your experience! I hope future versions of the program resolve these issues.

      All the best.

  2. For some reason a voice recorder intimidates me. Maybe because I don't like the sound of my voice? I might still have to give it a try. Many have recommended it to me as well. Still, I am not sure I am a dictation type person, which is odd because I talk to myself all the time. LOL Thanks for sharing others' experiences.

    1. "For some reason a voice recorder intimidates me. Maybe because I don't like the sound of my voice?"

      That could be, I have the same problem.

      If you try it again, I'd be interested in how it worked out. Like you I'm going to give it another go, it has the potential of saving me a lot of time. :)

      Thanks for your comment. :-)

    2. Like Risurocket and Karen, recording is challenging because I don't really like the sound of my voice. Nor does my mobile. And it's still nerve-wracking with a live audience, although a course in public speaking helped. Used to train people to use their voices commercially but it took a further 30 years for me to gain confidence to speak comfortably into a microphone and do the same thing. Where we hurt most, we learn most?

  3. Can Elizabeth talk about what app she uses and how she translates her recording into text?

    1. Great question! Here's a direct link to the comment section for her post:

      I'd love to know the answer to that as well. :-)

  4. It seem like she uses Dragon Dictation 2 for PC. This software records and transcribes.

  5. I must do it.
    I like to draw comics, to build stories, to write plotlines.
    But I hate to write the actual story, I always did.

    1. A lot of writers hate writing the actual story! That's the difficult part. Don't let that stop you. :-)

  6. I have been thinking about trying this since I tend to think of things at weird times and by the time I get to my computer, I have moved on to other thoughts.

  7. Thanks Karen, that's blank screen really intimidating for sure! :P
    I'm gonna use these method to finish my paper project, wish me luck ^^
    Best regards from Indonesia :)

    1. Indonesia! That's awesome. I guarantee you're having better weather than I am -- but then Vancouver is a temperate rain forest, so what do I expect. :-/

      About your project, good luck! I'd love to hear how it turned out.

  8. Looking for recommendations on purchasing a really nice recorder for a friend to get started on her book series for young adults. Any suggestions

    1. Hi Carla! Thanks for taking the time to read my article.

      Okay, voice recorders. Currently, the top of the line voice recorder is the Sony ICD-UX 533 for about 130 dollars US. I'm not sure what your price range is but if you google "Digital Voice Recorder Reviews" you'll get some guidance.

      On the other hand, there are many apps for voice recording. (Actually, I'm in the middle of writing a post on this!)

      Were you looking for a stand-alone device or an app?

  9. What about digital voice recorders that can actually download your voice and transcribe it into text? Any ideas for the best one for writers? I've just started searching. Some are outrageously priced.

  10. Thank you everyone for the ideas.


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