Skip to main content

Can Dictation Software Help The ADHD Writer?

Hello, Squirrels! It's been awhile, and I'm very sorry. National Novel Writing Month kicked my behind, and I almost didn't make it to 50k (but I did, woot-woot)! I don't know why I thought I could maintain a blog and write 50,000 words and perform my ML duties. It was too much. But what has kept me away since November is that I've been struggling with some pretty severe shoulder pain. It's been happening on and off for a good year and a half, and I finally decided to do something about it. I've been in physical therapy and in and out of the doctor's office for X-Rays, MRIs, and check-ups more times than I care to think about. During this time I've been extremely anxious about my future. My day job causes repetitive stress on my wrists and arms, which my writing on the side does as well. I was worried if I had to have surgery what I would do. Would I be able to go back to work? Would I be able to write? Maybe I should quit my day job and just write? While the last one is a goal for the future but I am in no way at a place where that would not be a hardship for myself and my family. My stress levels have been pretty high, and we all know what stress does to creative productivity. I should have hopped on here and given you some kind of an update, but I admit the thought of taking on one more chore made me run for my blanket fort. The upside of all of this is I don't need surgery (yet, anyway, *knock on wood*) and there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel just around the corner that should give me relief from the pain. And free up my time to write again.

The other upside is I've been considering alternatives to writing should I have need for surgery and what I would do if I couldn't physically write. I've mentioned before that I can't not write and not writing for long stretches makes me irritable. Many years ago I had tried Dragon software, this was back when it was a new thing, and I had had high hopes for it solving the problem of not being able to type as fast as I can think. Well, it turns out I'm not so easy to understand - I talk fast, forget to enunciate, plus I don't have the patience or follow-through (Hello, ADHD) to sit through the training process that is extra long for people like me. I ditched the software and figured it wasn't for me. I gave it a second look a few weeks ago when the prospect of surgery loomed over me. Would I be able to make it work for me now? Or more accurately, would I be able to work for it? Dragon has gone through quite a few upgrades since I first gave it a go so maybe the voice recognition software has gotten better to accommodate my terrible speech patterns. But that price tag is awfully steep for something that isn't a sure thing. Even if I could get myself to talk more slowly and with better pronunciation, there's still the hurdle of actually dictating my words. I write better than I talk, let's be honest. Dictation seems like learning a second language. We don't have to give how we're going to place commas, periods, and quotation marks but with dictation, you have to speak those commands in order to get them to show up. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.

While I was waiting at my doctor's office, I downloaded the Voice Recorder & Audio Editor app by TapMedia and paid the $2.99 to upgrade for the transcription option. So far I've been pleasantly surprised with how accurate it is, plus you can tell it basic commands for punctuation and dialogue. I haven't had a chance to dictate anything longer than a few lines for the test drive I took it on, but I plan to start small and see if I can compose a rough draft for a short story. I'm interested in finding out if dictation affects my creative process. Will I have to change how I "write?" I'm a little nervous because I've worked hard to master the tactics and strategies that I use now and I'd hate to have to spend a ton of time re-vamping that entire process and extend my already over-due deadlines. Editing is a struggle, but I've learned ways to make it less so. Will my current techniques work for dictated writing or will I have to come up with a whole new routine? I picked up some pointers when I researched the topic and because I have no self-control and am impulsive (Hello again, ADHD) I purchased a microphone for better voice quality and thus better accuracy. I am proud to say I didn't buy the mics the sites recommended that were very pricey. Instead, I went with a cheap little number that had remarkably high reviews on Amazon. I tested it out, and the quality is pretty amazing considering the price, and at least it will give me the tools I need to give this whole affair a solid try. 

I will report back later wth my findings. Maybe this will be a big breakthrough for my writing (here's hoping) and I know I'm not the only one who wishes there was a solution to thinking faster than we can type. I'd love to be able to say that this is a good option for writers with ADHD or those who have a typing handicap. I'll pay close attention to what works and what doesn't, and I'll see if I can map out a few strategies to share if it is successful.

Thanks for following me on this journey and thanks for patiently waiting for me to come back. I don't know when I'll be able to post again since next week I'm getting treatment for my shoulder and I'll have to let it rest a bit. I'll (try) to be better about keeping you updated.  In the meantime...

Good luck and keep writing!  


  1. Thanks for the blog, You can visit Computer Voice Command Software which will be helpful to understand different voices.

  2. Hey, the best solution to type with your voice is to use Dictation Pro. I am using it to write my blogs and it works well. Dictation process is faster and accurate. I like it better. You can try this app for free.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Just Write

I don’t know why any of us, myself included, thought that a person with ADHD would be able to stick to a publishing schedule. I guess I thought it would be good practice. Ha.

I’m amending my promise of putting out new posts every week. My new promise is you’ll get them whenever I give them to you. I think a big part of my problem was the pressure. Every Friday would dawn with no words written and then I would stress. And we know how stress leads to performance anxiety which leads to no writing.

These last few weeks I've also been very busy with house projects, prepping for National Novel Writing Month, and dealing with health issues. Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I want to talk about that today. I’ve mentioned before how helpful NaNoWriMo can be for writers who are easily distracted or tend to procrastinate. The trick to why it works for many is that it doesn’t give you a chance to stop to second guess yourself. If you want to make the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days, you don’t have ti…

NaNoWriMo And ADHD

Despite my previous post warning about extreme deadlines that do more harm than good you’d think NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) would be a bad idea and yet as contradictory as it seems I’m a big supporter of it. In fact, I've been a participant for over ten years. Every year whether I win or lose I learn something new about myself as a writer and get a little bit better. Since being diagnosed and starting treatment for my ADHD, I've made HUGE strides in my writing success with NaNoWriMo. From first-hand experience, I think it is an excellent tool for the ADHD writer.

Sorry about the pun but it's true. The easily distracted and busy-brained are quick to get hooked on the new and shiny. NaNoWriMo is just that new and shiny thing that gets us excited and hyperfocused, and it's just long enough to keep us engaged. Despite the stereotype that we are lazy and lack motivation, we know we can be incredibly motivated and hardworking when we're excit…