Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-01

Wednesday, September 1

Well it is that time of the week for me to express some thoughts on writing.

This week I wish to expound on the virtues of a voice recorder. I got my Panasonic digital voice recorder when I ordered the software Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred Version 9. It has literally taken the place of my tape recorder. I still have my tape recorder but don’t have any need to use it as of late.

The digital voice recorder came with a program that converted the compressed audio file to a .wav file that my computer can play using Windows Media Player. Also, Dragon NaturallySpeaking can convert it to text if I happen to record my notes in a non-noisy location.

Its sensitive microphone can pick up almost anything which in turn drives the Dragon NaturallySpeaking program nuts. I will talk about that in another post.

The reason I bring this particular item up is that there are times when an idea pops to mind and I am unable to write down that idea. My handy voice recorder usually sits in my shirt pocket along with a couple of ink pens. When I am driving, I can’t just pull over to find a notebook and write the thought down. Well, I could but by the time I pull over and get the notebook out, I would have forgotten what I wanted to write down.

There are times when I see something on the road that triggers an idea. I hate losing ideas because they can come in handy at times. This is when I pull out the voice recorder, turn it on, and record my thoughts.

Sometimes when I go on a road trip, I make three to five general notes on index cards about a story. Then before I start the car, I look over the notes and start playing the ‘What if…?’ game as I drive. I usually can’t talk the whole trip but I usually can come up with a good many questions and answers along the way.

I sometimes include observations of the types of vehicles that pass me, follow me or lead me on the interstate. Then I observe conditions along either side of the road. On one occasion, I passed a spot where someone lost one of those 750 pound bails of hay that broke apart on the shoulder of the interstate. On another occasion, I passed a spot that looked as if a vehicle caught fire.

Now, before you accuse me of not paying attention to what is going on outside while I am dictating, I always keep my eyes open for obstacles ahead of me and trouble coming up from behind me. That is probably why the recording does not sound smooth.

But the main reason I love my digital voice recorder is because it is small and easy to use. Most of the time I have to transcribe my notes due to excessive background noise. I do hate the sound of my own voice as well.

The car is not the only place I use the thing. I have taken a handful of notes and the recorder and go someplace quiet. As long as there is no one around, I can look at my notes and start dictating my story. I have done this a half-a-dozen times. When I do this, I just allow my speech-to-text program to transcribe my notes. When errors pop up, then I go through and correct them.

I do use other forms of items to keep notes when I am out. But that is a subject for another post. Do you use any type of voice recording to keep notes? What do you do to keep from forgetting an idea that sounded good?

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