On the writing side

I spend so much time these days working on Suzi, I keep overlooking this blog.  My comics and animation work do tend to take up a ton of my time,  but they aren’t the only projects on my plate these days.  I’ve been grinding away on the Suzi Quazar novel for a while now, with each issue of the comic basically being a rough draft for a chapter.  On a good day, I could knock out a between 1500-2000 words in a 2 hour session, but it would wear me out.  So the idea of working on more of the 40+ stories I have in various stages of outlining seemed like such a daunting task.  I mean, I really want to tell these stories, but at the pace I was proceeding I was going to have to cut back on the comic work in order to free up time to write.  That was a bummer.  Until…

typewriter

I had tried dictation software before, and the sirens lure of speech to text has always toyed with my imagination.  I had tried different versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking, but I guess I never had the right setup or hardware. I spent more time retyping utter gibberish than I did getting actual work done.  I had given up on the using this technology, until last month when I tried a copy of Dragon Professional Individual.  I noticed right away that I was getting far more useful output, and after spending a little bit of time training the software to my voice I was able to produce far more work by simply talking than by banging away on the keyboard.  I felt a new level of freedom, but after a few days of working with this new tool, I began to feel another constraint.  I was now bound to my headset and microphone, which is attached to the PC.  I found myself taking periodic breaks to walk and think.  The next breakthrough came when I found that there was a microphone app from Nuance that would let me use my cell phone as a microphone over wifi.  Now I was free to walk and talk.  Now I bet you are wondering what kind of speed increase I got.  I went from getting 1500 words in two hours to getting 1500 words in 20 minutes.  My best session yet is 6000 words in 45 minutes.  Now a lot of that is stream of consciousness rough draft material that will get cut out, but I believe in getting all the clay out of my head and then shaping it.  As a result of using Dragon and the wireless mic app, I am now at 26k words after two weeks of work, with my sessions lasting about an hour each.

I discovered a session outline helps me stay focused and knock out the parts of the story that need working on.   Scrivener and Dragon integrate seamlessly, making my job so much easier.  I can see where this might not work for everyone, but if you have been wanting to try something new to jumpstart your writing, maybe you should take a look at this technique.  You can also dictate blog posts, emails, and automate many more functions of your PC.