Hate Writing? Try this Simple Voice to Text Trick

When you’re an author, you have to actually write, right? Not necessarily. Many writers are finding that a simple voice to text feature makes their writing better and saves them time.

We recently worked with an incredibly busy author. She runs a business, cares for her husband and kids, works in her church–she’s busy. She wanted to write a book to help grow her business and platform. But found it incredibly difficult to fit in writing on top of her packed life. We suggested she use a voice to text feature so she could get her thoughts on paper faster, and also “write” while she was commuting or taking a walk. She tried it, and got a full draft down and sent to us by her deadline.

We at Lucid Books believe in creating solutions to problems and constantly searching for better ways to do our work. We think that’s a great attitude to have toward writing. One significant obstacle writers face is they just don’t have enough time to write. They want to write a book, they know what they want to write, but between their careers, spouses, children, friends, and obligations, they have a hard time getting their book on paper.

Voice typing can significantly relieve this problem. Dictation comes out much faster than typing: people typically speak at a rate of 150 words per minute, but type at an average of only 35 to 40 words per minute. You can even dictate on the go and make use of dead time.

Another benefit is that voice typing helps remove the terror of the blank page. Many people also find it easier to communicate when speaking than when writing–they don’t have to force the words.

One other related advantage is that dictation can help authors to write true words. Instead of trying to write like you think writing should sound, you speak in your own words and your own voice. You can then have a quality editor help you shape the style while still maintaining your voice.

1. Use the Google Docs feature

Several applications work well for dictation, such as Dragon software, but one of our favorites is Google Docs (it’s free!).

All you need to do is:

  1. Open a Google document.
  2. Select “Voice Typing” under the Tools bar.
  3. Google will walk you through it from there.

To dictate within the Google voice phone app, use the microphone feature in your phone keyboard, just as you would to dictate a text message.  

2. Write from an outline

Using an outline streamlines your writing. The more detailed the outline, the better. With a thorough, well-thought-out outline, you’re less likely to labor over pages you’ll later have to throw out. It’s best to focus your outline enough so that one subpoint covers only one to three paragraphs.

Using an outline for dictation is simple–choose a subpoint and talk through all of the material the subpoint covers. You’ll be able to go back and edit, so feel free to add in a sentence you forgot even if it doesn’t fit in that section.

Of course, when you’re starting a book, you can also use dictation to brainstorm.

3. Picture your audience

Think of a specific person to talk to (this can be someone you know or someone with the education, age, and background your book will target). As you dictate, imagine you’re talking to that person, going over the content as if in a conversation with a friend. Your words will sound more natural and specific to your audience with this mindset.

4. Switch it up

Take advantage of the freedom dictation gives you. Dictate at home, while driving, or while taking a walk. Adding variety helps you avoid burnout. Also, try using voice typing as a break if you hit a wall writing at a computer.

5. USE VOICE COMMANDS 

Instead of having one glob of text to sort through once you’re finished dictating, try using voice commands. You can speak punctuation marks (colon, period, comma) to clarify sentences. Also, saying “new paragraph” will create a new paragraph so your wording is better organized, and “new line” will start your next words on (surprise!) a new line. See here for a full list of Google Doc commands.

Making This Work for You

Everyone works differently, so play around with dictation and see how it works for you. Track how many words you write while typing versus while dictating. You might be surprised how much voice to text helps your writing.