Writing With Speech Recognition Software

antique typewriterBeings as I am that “second family” that comes so late in a couple’s life, I had fun playing on “antiques” as I was growing up. I used to sit and push the keys on an old, old typewriter. It took forever to type one sentence.

Portable TypewriterWhen I went to college I was given my first typewriter. It was a portable, manual typewriter. It was a graduation present, and the electric models were too expensive. I was so proud of it. Some of my friends thought I was spoiled because they didn’t have one. About as many students had television sets as typewriters.

Skip to 2008. (I used to say fast forward, but that is becoming outdated with advent of CD’s)

What I am trying to say is that I’ve been typing most of my life. It’s second nature to me. The only problem is that I had surgery on one of my fingers a couple months ago and I can’t type with that finger. After all these years using 10 fingers (well, actually 8 fingers and 2 thumbs) I can’t use one of my fingers to type with.

My laptop has Windows Vista on it. I was looking through the help file when I saw something that sounded interesting – speech recognition. My mind jumped to alert status. Speech recognition. Did Windows Vista actually have that built into the program?

HeadphoneI played with it, but couldn’t get it to type as good as I thought it should. I bought a better set of headphones to use, but it still didn’t do what it should. Sometimes I started the program and it wouldn’t recognize anything I said. (I wasn’t drunk or high on pain pills.) I dictated something into a story I was writing, and it typed about the Civil War. Nothing related to what I said. I then had to restart the program and sometimes it worked better. Sometimes it didn’t. When it worked decently, it would suddenly stop recognizing anything I said. I told it to “refresh speech commands,” but it asked, “What was that???” Those are the words the instructions told me to use. So much for that solution that didn’t work.

I googled for a speech program and found Dragon Naturally Speaking. Research said it was one of the better programs. I bought it, installed it and found it to be much better. It still isn’t perfect, but it is acceptable.

MicrophoneSometimes I don’t want to sit straight up when I dictate. When I’m in a recliner, I don’t want to sit straight up. I want to recline. And other places. The headphones made that impossible. I googled microphones. I found a decent one that works. It comes with Session Music Producer. I haven’t installed the music program, but the microphone works great. The only thing I have to watch is where I position it from my mouth. If it’s too close, the computer doesn’t recognize anything I say. It seems that it needs to be about two feet away.

Now that I have everything I want and need to write my story, all I need to do is stop procrastinating. Anyone know how to do that?