21-Day Novel: Day 2

\"Dragon_Badge\"Today began with a long series of frustrations. I\’m trying to learn to use Dragon Dictate (for Mac) as I go here. My words per hour (WPH) on Dragon have only been about 1400-1600 so far, or about 450-550 words per 20 minute sprint. Those are CLEAN words though – I have been dictating into my Macbook, so I clean up the text as I go.
It\’s still much slower than I type, which is about 2000 WPH, sometimes as high as 2500 WPH (in 20-30 minute sprints). But I am working on it. If I can get clean Dragon output at a rate that exceeds my typing output (and some folks claim they can hit 4k-5k WPH with Dragon Dictate), then I\’ll be thrilled.

Talking a story instead of typing it is a very different experience. But I\’m learning to flow back and forth from one to the other very easily. No, that wasn\’t the trouble. The problem was, I upgraded to the newest version of Dragon Dictate. Which meant my profile is messed up. Dictation was adding extra characters after each phrase in Ulysses. My microphone simply refused to function at ALL in the Mac Text window or MS Word. And overall, I spent a very frustrating hour and a half getting in 450 words, fighting with Dragon every step of the way.

Then I called it quits on that. Instead I went online looking for a Windows tablet I could use. Find a nice 8\” tablet, load the Windows version (which is NOT buggy – they are different frameworks, and the Mac version is very \”beta\” compared to the Windows one, sadly), and go. Partway through this search I recalled that I had messed with the trial for the new iOS dictation app from Nuance (the makers of Dragon). It\’s a monthly subscription fee, but it had worked pretty well on my phone. Would it work on my iPad mini?

Tested, tried it out a bit – and it worked. Well, in fact. I\’m very impressed with the software. There were a few hiccups, but overall it was a good experience, and I was back up to making 1600 WPH again in my first sprint (some 600 words). I tried a couple more sprints with it, with about the same results. It\’s gonna take some practice to get up to speed, but now I can just use my iPad mini (which makes reading the text and editing as I go much easier than my iPhone) for dictation. Which means I can plunk myself down on the sofa and dictate. Or wherever.

I shifted gears back to typing at that point, because I was far enough behind that I needed the speed boost to catch up. By dinner time I was up to about 4500 words. Went to a dinner out, then back home and back to work again. Plugged in 2000 more words. Total for today? 6506, putting my grand total up to 8522 for the challenge.

Incidentally, that\’s the most words I\’ve written in a single day in over a year. Feeling good. 😉

You can sign up for email updates on my progress – click the link below to join and follow along.

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I\’ll be back tomorrow with more news, and some thoughts on perfect first drafts.

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