Monday, October 17, 2016

Maybe I Won't Retire, After All....

Writing used to come easily for me. I wrote one of my best novels, The Unicorn's Daughter, in four months. Final Hours took six weeks. It was almost too easy, which is why I was surprised that The Unicorn's Daughter required almost no editing from Berkley and became, along with Chasing the Wind, one of my best-reviewed novels.

As I've gotten older, though, I've found it more and more difficult to finish a project. I asked my neurologist if I might be in the early stages of Alzheimer's. "No. You're way too sharp for that," she assured me. Okay. If not that, what about epilepsy? I was first diagnosed as a teenager, and due to my own stupidity, was off the anti-seizure meds for a long time (I don't have convulsive seizures, so I assumed--incorrectly--that I wasn't having seizures at all). Again, the answer was no. My previous neurologist told me I was just distracted. ADHD, maybe?

My eyesight is not what it used to be--not that it was ever all that good. Arthritis has been an issue, so writing first drafts in longhand, as I've done throughout most of my career, was no longer possible. It was also a problem in using a computer, tablet or smartphone--especially the latter two, since I had to hold the devices at an angle close enough to be able to see the screens. I've joked here about my "Kindle elbow."

I'd tried dictation, but that was also a struggle--until I found this book.


Dictate Your Book: How to Write Your Book Better, Faster and Smarter by Monica Leonelle is a gem. Really. She points out that, like learning to type and use a computer are skills that require training and practice, dictation isn't something you just do. Her book is short, concise and gives you all you need to learn to dictate your books, screenplays, short stories, etc. Collin is even considering it for doing his classwork, time being a big factor for him.

I'm probably going to repeat this post on my writer blog on Wednesday. And speaking of that, today's post there is on characterization....

17 comments:

  1. WOW This sounds like such a help !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. It really is. Once you learn how to use it, it's great.

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  2. I can see that coming in very handy!

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    1. It really does! I've been so much more productive with it.

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  3. I love when we find things like this that are useful. Very cool, Norma.

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    1. Thanks, Ivy! This has been the best tool I've ever used (creatively).

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  4. Whatever works, and I think dictating would be easier than using a cell phone no matter how good your eyesight. Do you then transcribe by voice to something that types it? Just curious.

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    1. There are programs for that the computer that transcribe it. My phone does great with dictation.

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  5. I have a small recorder. I hate the sound of my voice. Worse, I am self-conscious talking into it-even when I'm alone!!!
    But, in the night, when some darn scene pops to mind, I do have to grab it. But this sounds different. I commend you, Norma, for trying something new, and digging for answers.

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    1. I really had to switch to dictation. I'd done it before, but not always efficiently.

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  6. I tried using Dragon once to dictate and I wasn't good with it at all....

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    1. I had issues, too--but this book teaches how to learn to do it effectively.

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  7. I've been dictating summaries of my chapters into my email.

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  8. Brilliant idea Norma.. I love your determination to find a way to continue with your craft!

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