Writing Tools: Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Occasionally I’m going to post reviews of writing tools I’ve used, or at least tried. As I do, I’ll always try to keep in mind the fact that a tool that works for one person may not be quite so useful to another.

I’d appreciate comments on this product, especially if you’ve found a different way of working with it that suits you better. I’d also love to hear from those who use similar tools, especially if you’ve found them to be more helpful.

This review is for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12; the latest version is 13.

The Basics of Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Dragon NaturallySpeakingDragon NaturallySpeaking by Nuance is a voice recognition/dictation program for Windows computers. The developer also makes a similar application for Macintosh computers — Dragon for Mac; as the two products are named differently, I assume that there are quite a lot of differences between them, and since the Windows application is the only one I have any experience with, everything in this post will be in reference to that.
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Still Alive

Yeah, I can see how it’d be hard to tell.

Anyway, I was recently was by my web hosting service to renew, and I had to take a serious look at my blogging activity (or inactivity) and make a decision. Long story short, I decided to re-up for one year with the understanding that, if I don’t post at least twelve time within that period, I’ll shut this site down.

So: no more allowing myself to be distracted from what’s important. My goal is a minimum of twelve posts, with 52 being ideal. I mean, c’mon, once a week shouldn’t be that hard, right?

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Flight of the Curious

I’m finally starting to ramp up my writing again after a far-too-long hiatus. The first salvo in this renewed activity is in the form of a fan fiction project I just began, a science-fiction serial adventure based on the role-playing game Traveller, titled Flight of the Curious. You can read the inaugural episode, Curious Endeavor, here.

Please stay tuned for more writerly goodness!

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Goals? What Goals?

Writing, by pdsimao, © 2007

Writing, by pdsimao, © 2007

If you came here after reading my earlier entry, you might notice a bit of irony. If you haven’t read it, please take a moment to go back and read that post. I’ll wait here while you do.

Welcome back. As you can see, the plans I made well over half a year ago have all come undone. You’re probably wondering what happened. I’ll offer a short explanation, and then try to salvage the year by putting forth a couple of new goals.

Where Have I Been

A couple of months before I wrote that last post, I had experienced some medical issues. For several years now I have dealt with a condition called dermatomyositis. It’s a nasty autoimmune condition at attacks my muscular system. As a bonus, it comes with some ugly skin issues as well.

Over the past couple of years, it had been held in check. I wasn’t one hundred percent, but I was functional. Around November of last year, it started coming back. It got so bad that at the end of March I checked myself into the emergency room. I won’t go into details, but from the emergency room I went to a skilled nursing facility, and there I stayed until the end of July.

Needless to say, I’ve been distracted. The problem is, this is mainly just an excuse. Yes, the condition is serious—and had gotten very serious—but to be honest, it should not have prevented me from writing. It’s difficult to type, and writing longhand is even more so, but I can do it. On top of that, I invested in dictation software that should remove the restrictions on typing that I just mentioned.

So there you have it. The last ten or twelve months have been difficult, but they should not have kept me from writing. At the very least, I could have posted to this blog regularly. And if not, at least more often than once in nine months.

Where Am I Going

Even though I don’t believe the previous goals I set were particularly ambitious, I’m going to take it easy on myself for this year’s remaining three months. At the top of my list is to post to this blog regularly. I’m going to begin with once a week, and then increase that if it feels comfortable. I don’t really have a shortage of topics to blog about, so this won’t be too difficult. The trick is to just get back into the habit of daily writing.

The next goal is to continue working on The Unseen. I’m not going to make finishing the first draft a goal for this year, but I don’t see that as being too unlikely. The point is to simply return to a routine of writing something every day. It’s been neglected for too long now.

Finally, I would like to produce at least one short story and make it ready for publication. Actually selling the story and having it published would be even better, but the goal is to simply finish something.

As far as non-writing goals go, I have a lot of work to do bringing my health back. I am not as physically functional as I was a year ago. I’m working with my doctor, and hopefully some physical therapy is in my future. I intend to spend a good amount of time on trying to rebuild my physique. By this time next year, I would like to get back into a kayak. We’ll see.

Now Get Back to Work

So there you have it. When I look at the list I just made, it seems like a lot. That’s mainly because I haven’t been doing much lately. That’s going to change. In the meantime, I will be posting again soon. But now, I had better get back to work.

Thanks for reading.

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Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

I’m looking forward to the new year. This is mainly because, as a writer, 2013 was for the most part a bust. Without exception, I kicked every writing goal I set for myself to the curb this past year. So in this light, 2014 is guaranteed to be a success. Right?

I know it’s dangerous, but I’m going to set some of my goals down here for all to see. Accountability and all that. So without further procrastination ado, here they are.
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