SpeedWriting Transcription and Dictation

Dictation and Transcription

· Fastest Way to "Write"

· Dictation Methods

· Transcription Methods

· Rough Draft Ready

Some people are actually terrified of having to write. The instant they are told they have to write something, they freeze up, can't think of anything to write. For them, Speedwriting can bring on something resembling a panic attack.

However, there is an alternative to writing that will still get your material written.

Fastest Way to "Write"

With regard to Speedwriting, you have to learn that absolute FASTEST way to get material. This means to "talk" your material.

In order to accomplish this, you will need to have a recorder…the microcassette recorders are small, convenient, and the digital ones can be connected directly to your computer. That way, if you have used a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking that is used to your voice, you will be able to dictate and type your material just about as fast as you can talk!

Even if you don't have the language to print software (and this does take quite a bit of time to get set up), you can either transcribe the material yourself or you can send it out and have someone else type your dictations. There are services all over the internet that do a very good job, and when you're looking to get a fast rough draft of something, this is an excellent approach.

Dictation/Recording Methods

As we mentioned in an earlier article, people speak at a rate of between 100 and 200 words per minute. Speaking is definitely the fastest way to get information out of your head because typing is limited by how fast you type (average is 60 words per minute) and handwriting is less than 30 words per minute.

You may be interested to know, however, that the human brain is capable of thinking up to 800 words per minute. This is why you often feel that you "lost" a thought…it was there, but your brain got bored waiting for you to capture it in some way, so it is lost.

So far, dictating/recording methods are still the best choice if you're looking to get information out of your head in a hurry. The first method is to use a small recorder that are either tape-based or will create a digital recording in an MP3 format or WMA. You can actually add a microphone to your computer and use it as a voice recorder (a very expensive voice recorder!).

Transcription Methods

Once you have recorded your ideas, they now need to be "transcribed" or turned from audio words to written words. There are services that will take your transcription (sent over the internet) and turn it into written format.

There are a few downfalls of these services:

Ø One is that you will have to pay anywhere from ten cents to twenty cents a word for a good service.

Ø You will have to wait for the transcription of your dictation to be done, although many offer a 24 to 48 hour turn-a-round time.

Ø You will have to do a great deal of editing. Most of the time you will get back a big long document of several pages but only a single paragraph.

However, you know already that you need to edit your material; at least it is now in written form.

The next way to transcribe yourself is to incorporate a audio to text tool like Dragon Naturally Speaking. Please note, however, that the less expensive versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking do not transcribe your voice to text if you use a separate voice recorder and upload that recording to your computer.

If you dictate directly into your computer, you can bypass this problem, but you are limited by having to carry your computer with you every time you might want to dictate material. Hand-held digital recorders are about the size of a pack of gum, and are infinitely portable.

Be prepared to spend a few hours "training" your software to understand your voice, and even then it won't be exactly perfect. When using this type of software, your brain will be split between saying what you have to say, and watching for errors on the screen in front of you. (This is very much like editing while you are composing.)

Rough Draft Ready

Once you have the transcription in your hand, it's going to look very much like a rough draft. There will be errors, both in content and in grammar and punctuation.

This is where you let your Internal Editor get excited.

Yes, it's time that you need his/her services because your rough draft will typically be a solid page of text without much punctuation, no headers, no paragraphs unless you dictated them into your recorder as you spoke.

You will also need to read through the transcription for clarity, because most people don't speak as clearly as they should, especially when they first begin dictating. Some words will be incorrect, the spellings of certain things will be wrong, and because the transcriptionist is merely typing your words as fast as humanly possible, they are not looking for clarity and meaning.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Speed Writing course?

That's your job.

You will take the transcription, read through it, and begin to make the necessary changes so that it makes sense to you. If it doesn't make sense to you, it won't make any sense to your readers.

Some people like to dictate, then provide a transcription of the dictation, but this is a big mistake. It is like allowing the public to see your material at its absolute worst. It's not unlike having a dinner party and you haven't showered, dressed, or cleaned the house. Your guests will see you and your home at its absolute worst. It doesn't matter how good the food might have been, what they will remember is how you looked and that you obviously were not prepared for the event.

Please don't make this mistake. At the very least, hire someone to edit and proofread the transcript for you if you don't want to take the time to do it yourself. It will show a much more professional image. I know that the idea is to write FAST, but even when you're speedwriting, you still have to remember how your work will be received. First impressions are everything, so while dictation and transcribing the dictation are the fastest way to get things done, you still need to either take the time yourself to polish it or hire someone else to polish it for you before you allow your readers to see it.

Self-Esteem and Writing

Self-Esteem and Writing

· Resistance

· The Internal/Infernal Editor

· Changing Perspective

· Avoid Negativity

What is Your Biggest Barrier to Writing?

Believe it or not, our self-esteem plays a huge role in our ability to write. The very nature of writing suggests that someone will be reading what we have written, and immediately we begin to worry that it won't be "good enough".

Sometimes we just have to get out of our way when we write, and simply try to get the material down on paper. In this article, we will touch on our internal resistance to writing, delve deeper into the role our internal editor plays as we write and ways to overcome these problems.

If writing were easy, everyone would do it!



When talking about resistance, we need to evaluate first how you talk to yourself. Did you know that we have heard the word "no" more than 100,000 times by the time we've reached the age of 18? Did you also know that it takes over ten times of hearing a positive reinforcement to overcome a single "no"?

That means that we need to hear a positive reinforcement over one million times in order to overcome the number of times we've heard things like:

· "No, you will never become a writer."

· "No, you can't do that."

· "No, you'll never be successful."

Keep this in mind as we talk about writing and what seems to be a built-in resistance to the act of writing. I know that when I write, I am slow, hesitant, unable to make good progress if I wonder who will be reading the material.

We resist things for a number of reasons. We fear failure, but there are also people who fear success. What if they turn out to have a talent for writing, but are only a "One Book Wonder"? What if they can never top what they have created?

How do you teach someone like this to step outside their comfort zone and just go ahead and try?

When you are resisting something, how do you avoid doing it? Do you check your email? Do you scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush? Do you do all the tasks that you "simply must do" before you sit down to write?

If so, you are your own worst enemy.

When we allow ourselves to establish other priorities over tasks we need to do, in this case, writing, we are practicing enabling behavior. That is, we provide excuses to not do that which must be done. Excuses are exactly that, they are an avoidance behavior to prevent us from working.

When you make a promise to yourself, you need to keep it. If you promise yourself that you will get your writing done, then keep that promise! Make writing your priority and get it done first!

Do not allow yourself to do any other activity until your writing is done.

A priority should be done before anything else.

On the flip side of this is the dilemma of making ourselves feel guilty for not getting something done. This is a negative reinforcement technique that has been proven not to work. Consider the difference between positive and negative reinforcement. If you were to look at a dog who was trained with negative reinforcement, i.e. with loud, harsh words, sometimes even physical abuse, the dog would be pretty well-behaved, and yet it would lack the joy of life that defines a dog. That's not the type of dog you would want to own. Rather, using positive reinforcement, treats and praise when the dog exhibits the proper behavior, you will teach the dog to do what you want it to do, and it will be a joy-filled and pleasurable companion.

Which would you prefer? Do you want to punish yourself when you find yourself resisting your writing time? What do you think will happen then? Chances are you already finding writing painful at times, making it even more painful by punishing yourself for not getting something done will make it even more painful, and you will resist and avoid it even more.

Rather, consider rewarding yourself for setting and reaching small goals. For example, if you give yourself several guided freewriting sessions, at the end of each one you manage to complete, allow yourself to do something you enjoy. Perhaps you can read the paper for five minutes. Take a quick walk. Make a cup of tea or coffee. Do something you enjoy, and tell yourself that this is your reward for getting one of your goals accomplished.

In this way, you will avoid building taller and stronger walls of resistance. You will, instead, make your writing sessions a pleasure, something to look forward to. By rewarding yourself rather than berating or punishing yourself, you will get the result you are looking for. You will end up with a lot more pages of writing than you had when you started.

Our society functions on negative reinforcement and negative thoughts. This is sad, but you really only have control over yourself, so first change the expectations you have of yourself. Diminish your resistance to writing by honoring yourself, your abilities, your efforts. Your reward will be material that is written much faster than you ever thought possible.

There is no real magic to it, but when you first start using these techniques, it seems like magic.

The Internal/Infernal Editor

That Internal/Infernal Editor…there is much to say about this individual. Your internal editor, as you know, is that voice inside your head that begins judging what you're doing just about as soon as pen hits the paper, or your fingers hit the keyboard. That's why it is important to learn to do your freewriting exercises in order to silence your internal editor.

Your internal editor says things like, "Who is going to read this garbage?", "You don't know what you're talking about", or even more subtle derogatory statements such as, "Are you sure that is what you want to say?"

Your internal editor will prevent you from making any type of progress on your writing, regardless of what you're writing. It doesn't matter if it is a 250 word article, a five page paper, or an entire book on the economic downturn of the real estate market in Florida. If your internal editor has a voice that is too loud, you will have trouble completing your assignment.

Don't be so willing to give this type of power over to anyone.

About the only way to silence that internal editor is to practice your freewriting sessions and tell your internal editor, "It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense, if the words are misspelled, if the grammar isn't good and if there's no punctuation. I'm just trying to get ideas down."

You could even try writing: "Dear Internal Editor, would you please go on vacation for a little while so that I can get this information down? Don't worry. I'll need you when the time comes to edit the work. We work really well as a team when you let me get the information down first, and then you help me edit. But, for now, you need to leave me alone."

This may seem rather silly, but the technique can work.

If you have read the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, you may be familiar with the doodling exercise that is designed to disconnect the judgment portion of your brain from what you are trying to draw. Take a piece of paper and pencil and start the draw the lines of your non-drawing hand. The trick is that you cannot look at your paper, you can only look at the palm of the hand that you are drawing. You need to do this for at least five minutes. It takes your brain that long to disconnect from its judgment of what you're drawing, realizing that all you're doing is doodling, and that it doesn't need to be on guard for now. That's when your very best drawing can be done.

The same is true for writing. If you can freewrite long enough to get your logical and analytical part of your brain to shut down, you're in business, you will be able to write without fear of criticism from your own brain.

Changing Perspective

Changing perspective is one way to make a breakthrough when you're writing, especially when you feel blocked, or feel resistance building.

When we sit down to write, we first believe we're writing for ourselves, and then we consider that there is some form of critical judgmental audience who is out there just waiting for us to make a mistake. I'm not sure why this is, but most people who write have confided that this is the case for them.

But, if you change your perspective, and pretend that rather than writing for a critical audience, you have one person in front of you who really needs the material that you're sharing. Picture this person in front of you. To them, you are the expert, the one who can solve their problems.

Sometimes you have to be playful when you're trying to make a breakthrough, and "imagining" someone across from you as you talk or write falls into that "playful" category.

Don't say you've never imagined your audience before…sure you have, especially when you are struggling to get something written. You're imagining a mean, hostile audience who is ready to judge you and your material the instant the pen hits the paper. Instead of allowing that negative audience to exist in your mind, create a positive audience instead. If a whole audience is still too intimidating, limit it to one or two people, as if you were having coffee with them.

Then, you talk to this person or these people like a friend. They have a problem and you have an answer. By changing your perspective this way, you suddenly take the pressure off yourself because now you're not being required to perform. You're helping someone out of a jam. Who doesn't like to be helpful?

Most things people read are "how-to" articles, brochures, and books. They're set up by stating the problem and then providing the solution. You're giving them the information they need in order to solve their problem.

When you change your perspective from one where you're standing alone on a stage under a hot spotlight to a much more pleasant one where you're sharing coffee or drinks with some friends and helping them out with a problem the resistance you have to the writing changes dramatically. The task is no longer as intimidating as it once was.

Avoid Negativity

Negativity comes from all around us. Here's one of the most important tips you'll ever receive when it comes to working on a dream.

Avoid spending time around negative people.

Many negative people who don't even know what they're talking about often feel they have the right to give you information.

If the person who is giving you advice has never written a book, article, paper, or whatever it is that you're trying to write, don't listen to them for advice. Negative people only wish to prove to you that you cannot do it.

Steer clear of negative people and negative thoughts when you're trying to write.