I never imagined the kind of struggle writing would be. Writing used to be for escape. It was a passion. It was sometimes for assignments in school, but my best writing happened in moments when I couldn’t help but empty my soul into a notebook. Marble composition notebooks were my favorite, but finding an interesting new home for my words has always been an exercise in sheer luxury. Pens are another addiction of mine. It has taken me years to find just the right one to fit my hand, with the perfect black, gel ink that glides effortlessly into any shape I will it to. Of course, they are only sold as promotional items, so I had to order hundreds of them.
When I decided that I was going to write as a career, the nature of writing changed altogether. Suddenly it was harder. I always had the ideas swimming about in my head, but getting that down on paper, and then getting that onto the screen was a whole different can of worms. Unfortunately, even in 2015 technology has not caught up with the pen. There is no device that accurately captures handwriting, translates it into its digital form, while being comfortable enough for me to write with. I’ve already told you how picky I am about pens. Transcription is a big issue. Who has time to write things twice? Even Santa has elves.
For most of my writing career I battled the blinking cursor, and the empty document on my screen. It always felt like each individual word pulled from my creativity wanted nothing more than to remain in its original place. Writing was no longer fun. It became work. It was a chore. Even so, I’ve been determined to find a way to finally write my novel, but I have never stopped searching for the link between my notebooks, and my laptop.
I’VE DONE IT! No, I haven’t finished the novel. I have, however, found a way that I will be able to use to effectively download my ideas from my brain into a digital format. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it before. Dragon Dictation has been around for a long time (no, I’m not getting paid, for writing this…yet). It’s been through several iterations, and updates, and they make it for every operating system. In the past I dabbled with dictation software before. It never seemed to work for me. Mostly because my ideas don’t spring to the tip of my tongue the way they spring to the tip of my pen. In fact, I had never owned an official copy of the software. I’d only ever used the lame knock-off versions–the kind without the comprehensive vocabulary, or commands built in. Over the weekend it went on sale. I’ve been in such a creative rut that I was desperate for something new to inspire some motivation. So I decided to pull the trigger, and bought a download license.
After spending a little time configuring, and training the software, I decided to test it out on the scene that I’ve been struggling through for the last several days. At first it was halting. I couldn’t figure out how to pull the words from my brain in a way that allowed me to dictate it smoothly to the software, and having to speak the punctuation was hard to do on the fly. Then I had an idea. I sat down with my handy notebook, and trusty pen, and allowed the words to spring forth onto my notebook unbidden. Oh, and spring forth they did. For a straight hour I watched the scene unfold beneath my hand. I wrote until the antsy distracted feeling set in–which was a much longer stretch than I’d ever achieved before. Instead of allowing myself to be distracted, I plunked a headset in my ear, and began to read the scene aloud.
I’ll admit it has always been part of my process to read what I’ve written out loud. So it shouldn’t have been so surprising to me how easy it was to read from my notebook into my dictation software. It can get a little wonky, and I had a few minor hiccups, but I understand the longer I use the software, the better adjusted it will be to my cadence, and pronunciation. The results have been magical. Through the use of a repeating cycle of writing first in my notebook, then reading it aloud to my computer, my word count has skyrocketed – and just in time for NaNoWriMo. (Not that I’m aiming for the traditional 50,000 words in 30 days goal, but I do like to join in the community in November.)
It doesn’t hurt that one of my best friends just recently won a pitch contest, which came with the prize of an introduction to an agent. You can read all about it on her blog, Penning the Wonderlife, by clicking this link. In fact, I think it is a major part of finding my groove. When you’re part of a writing community, and you aren’t moving at the same pace as your community, you can easily find yourself lost in the dust. You can either choose to move at your own pace, or ramp up your commitment. Discovering that this thing we’re doing is more than a blind shot in the dark, as is apparent by Erica’s amazing story, has given me the inspiration to prove to myself that I’m more than a wannabe writer. I’m a working writer, which means I AM WRITING.
So the fire is lit. The tools are laid out. The only thing that can hold me back is time, and myself. I still believe, now more than ever, then I will finish my first draft by the end of the year. It’s an exciting time! I can’t wait to share my process, and my progress with all of you here.
I do have some news, but I’m waiting until it’s in a more concrete form before I share it. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that I am realizing my dream of being a writer. I’ve already proven myself capable of generating income with my craft, now I just have to prove that I can write a story worth reading.