How to write a book when you hate typing

What’s different about this blog post? I’m not typing a word; I’m dictating it to my computer.

I didn’t have to go out and buy expensive software: thanks to Google and their new voice transcriber in Google Docs, I can now easily dictate to my computer.

You see, I’m a better typist than a talker. Each person has a preferred method of extracting words from their heads and onto paper.  For example, I can’t write effectively by longhand. That doesn’t mean I can’t use a pen, but the words don’t come out as smoothly as they would if I typed them. When I type, sentences come out fully formed, paragraphs flow, and much less editing is required. My brain’s attachment to formulating sentences using a keyboard rather than a pen, comes from 35 years of using a computer. The same goes for speaking; I’m a better writer than a speaker. For me, dictating an article to the computer is a challenge, and I’m hoping that doing so will improve my ability to speak my thoughts succinctly.

For many professionals–executives, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers–composing via the keyboard is an arduous, painful and time-consuming task that is better left for another day. Moreover, because professionals tend to spend most of their time talking and not typing, their brains just don’t work in such a way that is compatible with a keyboard. As such, dictating a book would be much easier than typing. I wonder how many books go unwritten because of a professional’s aversion to keyboards?

Your Gmail account is your access to the world of Google Apps, and the voice transcription works in the Chrome browser. Once you’re signed up for Gmail, you’ll find a little grid of boxes in the upper right corner of your screen. These are your Google Apps, and one of these apps is Docs. To open a new document, simply click on the Docs icon, and then click on the big plus sign. To turn on the voice transcriber, click on the Tools menu and select Voice Typing.  A microphone icon will be displayed on your screen. Click on it to activate the microphone. Just start talking and you will see the words appear on your screen. You can add punctuation such as periods and commas by saying the words “comma” and “period,” and you can add a new paragraph by saying “new paragraph.”

Your document is automatically saved onto your Google Drive, making it accessible from your mobile phone. If you have an Android phone, Docs will show up as one of your apps; just select it and you’re in. To use your phone’s microphone, start editing your document so that your keyboard pops up, and press on the microphone icon on your keyboard. Whether you edit your document on your computer or on your phone, your documents will be in sync.

Yes, you will have to go back and do some editing afterwards.  While Google does a pretty good job of translating your words, it does make some funky mistakes.  However, using Google Docs means that you do not have to purchase and download new software, spend a long time teaching your new software how to understand your voice, or use a digital recorder and have someone type it afterwards. Best of all, you are not tied to your computer–you can dictate to your phone whenever inspiration strikes.

Google Docs will help professionals find their inner book and get it on paper. Click here for more information on Docs and Voice Typing.

And if you need help with copyediting and proofreading, check out 1106 Design’s professional editing services.

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