Recently, I had quite a lot of writing tasks to complete. It seems that I am increasingly busy so I find it very hard to get enough tasks finished each day. What really happens is that I have so many things that I know need to be addressed that they tend to shut me down mentally. The best way to deal with this to begin accomplishing tasks so that you can mentally close tab which frees up more of your mind.
On that particular day, I was having quite a difficult time addressing any work. It seemed I had too much writing to do and not enough time, not to mention all of the other writing related jobs that needed my attention. It can be overwhelming with so many things on your mind – and it’s just the writing part of my life.
However, I realized that I had purchased one piece of software to help me clear this mental logjam. Dragon NaturallySpeaking was my dictation option because most everyone can speak more words in an hour than they can type. Remembering why I had purchased the dictation software, I sat down and put on my headphones to begin chipping away at the mass of jobs that needed my attention.
I immediately needed to address my freelance writing gig, so I started there. I made a quick rough outline and then proceeded to dictate the 1200 words necessary for this particular blog post. It wasn’t long, while ignoring all of my verbal mistakes, until I had completed the job. Things felt a little better.
But, I did need a blog post for my own website. So I dictated that one which was a bit more open ended. My job took even less time though I dictated close to the same number of words. It was a different kind of writing so it required less thought than something which had a tightly focused topic. However, completing this next small task created a bit more mental space as well as some momentum.
I quickly dove into dictating some notes for my current novel project, code-named Glove. This was something that I needed to have done for several days, and the lack of dictation preparation was slowing my pace as I worked on the rough draft. It was not long until I had can finished that preparation and felt much better about my upcoming day.
Within a little more than an hour I had cleared away three tasks which had seemed like a massive walls obstructing me from any progress.
Next, I tackled some verbal editing on my other novel, code-named Mage, and had soon cleared several thousand words of dictation – editing. Within the space of about 2 1/2 hours I had cleared away some rather large chunks of writing work that had seemed insurmountable because of the number of tasks confronting me. Once I had completed these larger tasks, I was then able to address several smaller ones in succession and quickly moved through the writing work, having accomplished more in a short period of time than I thought I could do in the space of a whole day.
I have been dictating now for several months and have made quite a lot of progress during that time. The one thing which I learned from this recent experience was that I needed to trust my plan, my process. Much of my day writing, regardless of what it may be, now needs to be done with dictation. I can do far more with my recorder and headphones than I can otherwise and, by using these devices, I can create more personal margin in my life. The day ended up being far better than it felt like because I had finally committed to the new process.
Even while I write this blog post, I am dictating into my recorder. At the same time I am transcribing dictation from Glove, saved in MP3 files, into my Scrivener project for the book. The transcription can take a bit of time, during which I cannot use my laptop. But, I can use dictation to get much further along than I would otherwise. Also, I can use my smart phone to do a number of other tasks, such as research. I finally learned to trust what my intentions were in buying the dictation software and my recording device by using it for other writing tasks besides my novels.
One thing that I quickly learned from the dictation was that since I was dictating several thousand words during my drive time each day, my anxiety about getting the work done went away. The same thing is true when I apply the dictation to the other writing tasks I have where possible. It reduces the amount of time that I am writing, and gets me much further along with everything else that needs my attention. This leaves me time for the business side of writing which demands my attention regularly. I hear that some authors now spend more time with marketing and other business aspects than they do writing. Dictation keeps my creative process moving forward instead of stagnating.
So that’s another look behind the scenes of my process. I am constantly busy and work a full-time job. But I have not let the job or how much I have to do stand in my way. Instead, I have chosen to get as much done as possible in as short a period of time as I have available. This allows me to have a little bit more margin while I’m still producing content that I hope to soon release to readers. It’s not an easy feat to write and complete a book. It’s even harder when your time is truncated. So I’m quickly coming to embrace and trust dictation as a way to accomplish all of my writing needs so that I can also have some personal time. It reduces the tension between the various demands on my time so I can happily move along with my creativity still percolating with vibrancy.
Thanks for reading along today. As usual, lose leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section.