As I develop my Better Writing Habits program – and write the book – I’ve been forced to consider my writing habits and, alas, procrastination is at the top of the list of my ‘bad’ habits. On a good day, there’s nothing wrong with procrastination. It’s time for thinking and dreaming and doing anything and everything to get out of writing. But over the longer term procrastination plays havoc with your word count.
I’m a self-confessed champion procrastinator. I absolutely hate being tied to a desk and I’ll do anything to get out of it.This usually means running away to a bush setting somewhere, leaning against a rock, and writing happily away in a black and red A4 Cumberland notebook with a HB pencil. But running away to the bush doesn’t mean I don’t get much done. It merely means I have an awful lot of notebooks with half-finished chapters, outlines, and scenes for my latest novel, all waiting for the magic fairy to type them up and add them to my Scrivener file, marked Work-In-Progress.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to go high-tech. I own Scrivener. I can even work Scrivener, and at one stage, when I was being honest with myself and my running away tendencies, I bought an iPad Pro, to run away with me. Ten hours of charge, it’s own keyboard, and – nowadays – it’s own IOS Scrivener App, I really should be out of excuses and be writing prolifically. And to give me some credit, I do use my iPad and I do write with it. But not as often as I should and, well, the bush is made for walking through, not sitting down and working in, except with my trusty notebook and pen, it seems.
Writing Habits, damn them, have always eluded me, at the least the good ones have. Until now. It’s why I’ve called my Writing Habits book, The Habit Bitch, because habits, to me, are just that, a bitch. Here’s a sneak preview of the cover:
And, here’s the solution, my solution, in all its technical glory to all my procrastination woes. No desk needed, no computer, no iPad, although I’ve included them in the picture because they make up part of my bevy of arsenal to conquer what I thought was my unique form of procrastination. But in case I’m not the only one, and you, too, dream of being free to write away from your desk and away from anything remotely requiring sitting still and ‘working’, then you might be interested in my solution. Dragon Diction – Dragon Professional Individual For Mac V6 – which I use to transcribe my mp3 audio files, recorded with my iPhone and Rode Lapel Pro microphone. I use Voice Record Pro app because it’s easy for me to email myself my completed recordings which I then drag into Dragon Dictation for translation.
Whether I’m out walking the dogs, enjoying an early morning beach walk or exploring one or another of the bush tracks I’ve managed to run away to in my efforts to get out of sitting at my desk, I clip on my mic, hit the button on my phone Voice record app and I’m ready to work.
And my word count? Five thousand words or more a day on the days that I actually get to run away. My next goal is to hook up first thing in the morning when I wake up, record my 5000 words before I get out of bed – a perfectly delicious alternative to getting out of bed on a cold morning and dragging myself to a desk that screams ‘work’ at me.
Now, here’s a challenge for you: how would you like to dictate 5000 words a day for ten days and create a credible 50,000 word draft? Plus, you get to sleep in for a couple of weeks and call it work. Working on the premise that you can’t fix a blank page, then a 50,000 draft, should keep you busy editing for another week or so. And, voila, you have a novel, ready to send out to a professional editor in readiness for the next stage of your journey to publication.
Sound easy? Of course it isn’t, otherwise everyone would be doing it. But the truth is, more and more people are. Check out Dragon Riders Author Dictation Facebook page here. There’s even a wonderful Evernote document that will get you started on your dictation journey. You can also visit Scott Baker’s website, author of The Writer’s Guide To Dragon Dictation, and find out more about his courses here. Scott knows how to get the most out of the dictation software whilst maintaining his sanity. He shares a few tips on how to get started in a podcast chat with me here.
Warning: it’s one thing to buy the software and associated gadgetry etc but it’s another altogether to learn to speak your punctuation at a fast rap. Getting your head around all the ‘quote, full-stop, comma and new line’ stuff is all good fun. And addictive.
And, for me, being able to ‘write’ anywhere and pin down the atmosphere of a place, character, or setting is simply irresistible.
If you’re interested in finding out my about my Writing Habits program and book when they’re released – and would like a copy of my FREE Voices in Your Head Writing Guidelines, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here.