What would you do if you couldn’t write (or type) temporarily?
Maybe you sprained your wrist or broke your hand. Or perhaps, you’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome. What would happen to that book you’ve been working on?
If hiring a personal assistant is out of the question, there’s another solution – dictate your book.
There’s a free and easy way to dictate. All you need is your computer and your voice.
How to Set Up Windows Speech Recognition
1. Start speech recognition
First, search for Speech Recognition in the Control Panel, and select it from the results. Then, start the configuration process by clicking on the ‘Start Speech Recognition’ link. A small window with a grey microphone icon will appear, as shown in the image below.
2. Set up microphone
Next, start the wizard to set up your microphone. You can use a headset microphone (recommended). However, your desktop microphone or other related devices will work just as well. I use LifeChat LX 3000.
3. Speech recognition voice training
Thirdly, train your computer to understand your voice. If you wish, you can take the Microsoft tutorial before going through this process. During the voice training, you’ll read a variety of sentences. Aim to speak like a broadcaster, in a clear, distinct voice.
How to Dictate Your Book with Windows Speech Recognition
When you’re ready to start dictating, open Speech Recognition in Word, or your writing software of choice. (I use yWriter for my novel.) The same small window with a microphone icon will appear. The blue colour indicates that it’s in ‘listening’ mode, as shown in the image below.
If Speech Recognition doesn’t understand what you said, it will ask “What was that?” Also, the colour of the microphone icon will change to amber.
Here’s a brief example of my dictated words in Word.
Punctuating your work is as simple as saying “Comma”, “Semicolon”, and “Period”. Other commands include “New line”, “New paragraph”, “Open double quote”, and “Close double quote”.
For even more speech instructions, bookmark these speech recognition commands for your ongoing reference.
Finally, when you’re done, turn off Speech Recognition by saying, “Stop listening”. It will go into ‘sleep’ mode, and the colour of the microphone icon will change to grey.
Being unable to write or type, for whatever reason, doesn’t have to mean the end of working on your book. The Speech Recognition feature offers a way out of such a dilemma. It’s free, easy to set up and use, and literally at our fingertips.
So stop delaying, and start dictating.