Today was my very first “walk and talk,” a walk around the neighborhood while talking to an HD recorder app on my phone. It was surprisingly awkward at first – talking to yourself, even if the moderate volume, is something most people still think of as reasonably crazy. Fortunately, it mostly really worked, as my brain got used to the flow a little differently. I still felt like an idiot, though.
I walked for about ten minutes, in my local streets around my neighborhood, and found that towards the end of that section the scene I was working on started to feel real. An unexpected bonus of doing this with a simple voice recording on the phone is that – quite simply –I can’t delete. I have to keep going. Because I have to keep going, it means that I get a lot more words than usual but the rough draft that results is much more of a rough draft. MUCH more of a rough draft. Therefore I don’t see how it will be useful for anything but roughing out a scene–as it happens, the most difficult part of my current process, and perhaps maybe something I try to do exclusively with dictation. We’ll see. Walking and talking feels surprisingly natural.
Plus, if I can walk and talk a lot, it’ll be good for my health. Aerobic exercise (i.e. walking) is useful for mood and weight and a whole mess of other things–the body is, truly, meant to be in motion.
Downsides? It is much harder to keep track of exactly where you are exactly what you set up to this point. Also feels very awkward. But, if the point is to get words on the page, or in the recorder, even if I’m not in the right space to sit in front of the keyboard because my back is hurting or I’m falling asleep, this is an extraordinary option. So I’m not at all upset about it. Plus I get to look at, in this case, the sunset, the trees, all the beautiful leaves around me, and of course semi manicured grass. I hate to semi manicured grass. But that’s human habitation for you.
This blog post specifically was written via dictation and walk and talk. I’ve gotten ideas when talking that I don’t think I would’ve gotten elsewhere, but it’s also less structured. I’m sure I’ll end up with a much more very rough draft than I would have otherwise, but you also get more stream of consciousness more… More honest, maybe. A chance for more honesty and production on the page–even if I have to rewrite extensively.
Keeping this one nice and short and sweet, as I’ll need to go inside and cook dinner. But I did want to go ahead and record my basic thoughts right now.
For now – signing off –
your caped achiever in training,
Alex R. says
What app are you using for this? Sorry if you already mentioned and I didn’t see. Keep getting back to it!!
Sorry for late reply. I record the audio with HD Recorder and then use the Mac version of Dragon to transcribe, since it learns from experience with my voice when I’m writing with other contexts. Still not as accurate, given the different mic, but really not too bad 🙂
Alex R. says
Ahh, Dragon. Never mind.
Monica Rodriguez says
Was going to ask the same question. I used to use Dragon, love it, will be going back to it once I get a new computer that has the power it needs. I recently heard a podcast with someone who said (and I’ve heard it elsewhere) that the PC version of Dragon is actually way better. Just FYI. But I’m excited to try the dictation app, which I didn’t have last time. Glad to hear it’s working for you!