Trying a digital voice recorder to help write my novel

I often lament about trying to find time to write. In addition to being an author, I am also the mother of two, the part-time bookkeeper for my husband’s law firm, a member of our homeowner’s association activities committee (as well as the sole person doing the HOA newsletter), actively post on this blog two to three times a week and am an active volunteer at my kids’ school. Throw in the puppy who still needs some training, and you have one busy person. Unfortunately, writing sometimes takes a backseat to other activities.

In the past, I have written numerous posts about trying to set aside time to write and even shared tips I used such as keeping a pad of paper with me when waiting in the car to pick up my daughter or while waiting for my son to finish karate.

So while I am still working to make writing my novel a priority and setting realistic goals for myself, I asked for something at Christmas that I thought might help. I asked for an Olympus voice recorder.

I plan to brainstorm or dictate scenes as I walk to get the kids from school, drive to the store (or sitting in the traffic jam that happens daily on the highway near my house) or while doing the household chores. With my recorder, I can record ideas or scenes for my latest work in progress during these times when a computer or notepad aren’t nearby.

Since my hands will be busy in many of these cases, I plan to use a strap to attach the recorder to my arm like runners do with their music players. Another option would be to hang the recorder from a lanyard around my neck. Either way I want my hands to be free to do other things and believe the digital voice recorder will be easy to carry around and simple to use.

Now I plan to just use my digital recorder for notes and to dictate scenes that I will transcribe at a later point – probably editing and adding as I type those thoughts into Word.

But there are writers out there who are not good at typing and don’t want to write longhand an 80,000+ word novel that will still need to be typed by someone else. For those people, dictating their whole novel may be worth it. Most of us can talk much faster than we can type or write.

If you dictate your whole novel, you will need to get it into a typed manuscript somehow. You can pay someone to transcribe it or you can use a service such as where you record over the Internet, and they return a typed file for you to edit.

Another option would be to use speech to text software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. You simply speak, and the software writes what you say on the screen. You can even use your digital voice recorder in conjunction with this software. You can record your thoughts and ideas while you are away from the computer and then plug the recorder into your computer to have the software transcribe your information.

I am eager to try out my new recorder and will get a chance to do so when the kids go back to school next Monday. After a few months, I will give an update on how it is working out and if it has indeed helped me progress on my current work in progress.

2 thoughts on “Trying a digital voice recorder to help write my novel

  1. Otis Wright says:

    I have never used a digital recorder as such. I’ve had PDA’s and Phones that will do that job but do not do a very good job of it. So I have no frame of reference. I am very pleased. As is typical of me I keep wanting to do things with out reading the instructions. So there is a little of ADD getting in the way. The sound quality even on the low mike setting is remarkable to me. It’s very small. I expected it to be much bigger. I love that you have the option to use an external microphone and head set. I’ve ordered some for it, one omnidirectional and one unidirectional. I’m not sure of my choices. I’m an old ham operator so I only knew about Sure microphones and they were very expensive. I also love that it is digital. One problem I had with the old tape version is that after a while the motors started making noise that was picked up by the recorder.
    The only flaws I have found is that there is no option for external power and no LED back-light. In strong light or very dark areas it is hard to read. My normal solution would be to make a shade but you have to have a back-light to do that. I may look into attaching one of those cheap key-chain lights and make a flip up shield. I researched the reviews on this same product but with different sellers and it fared well. For the money this looks like my solution for now. I’ll update it later if my opinion changes. I do recommend directional and omni external mics. Another thing I may look into is making some sort of shock/wind cover so that if you have it outside or in your pocked you do not ended up recording that stuff.
    Hope this helped.

  2. […] even have used a voice recorder to take down ideas for my novel as I am working around the house or driving in the […]

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