Saturday, 26 November 2011

Back to the Old School!

Picture source
 Ok, you'll be pleased to see that I'm still alive. I'm conscious that the blog had vanished off the face of the earth for a while, for all sorts of reasons - work, getting the house we were looking for, a death in the family. Now I'm finally getting back into my groove and writing is once again making it on to my 'To do' list.

Recently I've re-discovered the joys of writing by hand. I did a lot of this when I was writing The Watchers, mostly after a long walk on the beach. I would sit in the car and scribble, then scoot home to type it all up.

The trouble was I was doubling my workload - or so it felt like. I can type pretty fast, certainly much faster than I write and typing directly meant that I could achieve huge word counts. Unfortunately it also meant that I was wrecking my neck and back spending hours hunched over a keyboard.

Clearly a solution was needed - so I've found a happy medium. Recently I've been writing a lot by hand, then dictating the text using voice recognition software (Dragon Naturally Speaking if anyone is interested). It's not a perfect system - no VRS is smart enough to completely understand how any normal human thinks and speaks, never mind some crazy writer. It has difficulty with certain words - the Northern Irish ("Norn Irish") pronunciation of words like 'how' and 'now' still sends the computer into an occasional meltdown.

I have noticed several happy side effects. Firstly, I can dictate a thousand words then spring out of the chair with no aches and twinges. Secondly a notebook can be whipped out and put to use anywhere - from lunch break to sitting in a waiting room. And thirdly there is something unfettered about writing by hand. I find it frees me to stop editing as I write and just puke it onto the page. Then I can tweak it while I dictate.

If anyone else has any brilliant ideas for how to get the words down I'd be delighted to hear them!
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