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Using Mac Dictate for Writing

Reading and writing are magical to me. They are the only creative endeavors that I understand instinctively. My greatest fear is carpal tunnel putting an end to my writing. And lo and behold, I’m suffering from carpal tunnel on both hands because I’m nursing my one-month-old baby. Even with the support of a nursing pillow, holding him in nursing position several times a day gets painful.

Accuracy of Dictation Software

But not writing for the next few months is not an option for me. So I am experimenting with speech to text dictation software. On my PC, I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I am please with Dragon because of the 90% plus accuracy. However, my PC laptop it’s a monster and I hate dragging that thing around the house. It usually stays inside my office.

I much prefer my MacBook Air for mobile writing, especially now with my carpal tunnel. I am using Mac Dictate to write this blog post. It’s not as accurate as Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I would say accuracy is about 75% or so (and probably less if you don’t have a good microphone). But then again, for something that is free and integrates with every app, I’m happy with Mac Dictate.

Dragon has a Mac version of its dictation software, but the price tag isn’t as budget friendly as the PC version. I’m not making enough money from my writing to justify the expense.

Writing with Mac Dictate

Yesterday, I was able to “write” one scene with Mac Dictate at a rate of 1,100 words per hour. Typically when I’m in “the zone” I might get 1,400 words per hour with typing. So while dictation slows me down a bit, it’s better than not writing. Actually at this point, anything is better than not writing.

The process of writing by using dictation is very different. First, I’m editing as I go because of dictation’s inaccuracy. Second, I have to form to sentence in my mind before speaking it out loud. If not, I tend to insert a lot “ahs” and “ums” in my speech. When I’m typing, for some magical reason, the words just flow from my mind straight to my fingers. There’s no pause in between. So dictation does take some getting used to.

Happy reading and thanks for visiting Anne R. Tan.


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