Speak to the dragon

I went on a writer’s retreat recently. Nothing fancy or organized; just me and another writer friend hold up in a nice cabin in the mountains with nothing to distract us but a lot of trees, the view and a hot tub. Since it’s July the hot tub wasn’t all that distracting, but man oh man that view could suck up your attention.

I’m starting to fight the effects of carpal tunnel and even with an ergo keyboard my left wrist is not happy with all the hours I spend typing. I even bought a new keyboard recently – one of those very expensive split keyboards – to see if that will help. It arrives on Wednesday so I’ll report back later. But in an effort to stem the pain, I’ve been looking into Dragonspeak, or something similar, and my friend actually uses the software.

His process is more manual. He writes out his pages long hand then simply dictates them; what he calls ‘talking to the computer.’ I thought of trying it but found my writer brain is not a linear thing. I write a sentence, then edit it, go back a few paragraphs, edit some more, tweak another couple of words, add a comma, delete a comma, fix the typos then erase the whole thing and start again. It’s not a process that lends itself to dictation.

I know many writers that use such software so I’m very curious how they get it to work for them. Perhaps it’s like so many other things associated with writing a novel  – it takes practice.

Meanwhile, I wear a lidocaine patch on my left hand and wait for my new keyboard. I’m also going to see the chiropractor to see if she can help.

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