Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Little Review of a Writing Tool - Dragon Dictation

So, awhile back I posted about some writing tools and after I posted, my sister commented and told me about Dragon Dictation. As it is a free app on iOS, I downloaded it to my iPad right away. But it wasn't until two days ago that I actually had a chance to use the gadget.

On Sunday night I made a random, stupid mistake. I was turning over in bed in the middle of the night when the very corner of the quilt just barely grazed my cornea. It's not as if I sustained some sort of serious injury but it did sting for a few moments and watered like crazy.

Of course, it puts me in mind of the fact that this human body is so damned delicate. It is and it isn't. Muscles can endure a lot. But why did we evolve such delicate structures for such important purposes? What if the edge of the blanket had whipped across my face just a millimeter closer? Would I be blind in one eye now? What if it had scrapped both corneas? Would my dream of being a published author of speculative fiction just be shut down? I'm sure I'd find a way around it -- writing braille. But it's just so stupid. A single moment of carelessness and my whole life could have changed.

Well, none of that happened and here I am just doing fine. But the morning after it happened I woke up with a sore eye. I went about my day nonetheless, and by noon my eye was so strained. I couldn't look at the computer any longer. I went to a comfy seat and sat down to rest my eye and think about how I was going to finish everything I need to get done that day.

And then I thought about Dragon Dictation. Saved!

I'll admit, it was a little awkward to use. I'm not in the habit of dictating my ideas at all. But there was something a little freeing about stating new ideas in a stream of consciousness fashion. Usually when I have spontaneous ideas, the sentences come to me fully formed as they would appear on the page. And when I write them down they have already been polished by my inner critic. But speaking out ideas makes them just flow.

I really, really like how speech goes immediately into text. I don't have to listen to the sound of my own voice, which cuts the awkwardness down to a minimum. But I find that the app works best if you speak directly into the microphone and articulate carefully. In my fervor of getting ideas out without having to actually look at a computer screen, I muttered quite a bit on Monday and didn't look at the text until much later. Some of it was completely indecipherable.

I'll probably use it again, however. And maybe this time I won't have to injure an eye to do so.