My Latest Toy, Umm, Tool

One of my more recent purchases has been this baby:

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It’s a Samson Meteor Mic. I’ve manage to convince myself I purchased it as a tool, not a toy, and that it’s work related. Why would a writer need a studio grade mic? I have three reasons.

Dictation

We were talking about this at the Saturday Writer’s meeting a month or so back. Our leader Cheryl brought up the book 5,000 words per hour. How can anyone write 5,000 words per hour? Why?

The why, is that he says that the only way you learn to write is to write. So by writing regularly and a lot, you get better faster. That makes sense, but I am not sure that I personally need to write this fast.

The how comes down to a number of tricks. One is dictation. I’ve been wanting to learn dictation as well for a couple of reasons.

I agree in part with both Chris and Cheryl’s leaf that dictation can help me write faster. I also find myself very much agreeing with, and being in the same boat as, Stephen King, who says that some writers are prolific because they have “that many voices clamoring in their heads.” I probably don’t need to be more prolific, but it might get me a novel or two closer to having those stories out and done.

The other reason I want to learn dictation is for the sake of my hands and wrists. I am a career writer who regularly logs three or four thousand words in a day. I’ve never had a repetitive strain injury, yet. But the potential is there. I feel it sometimes in the back of my hand after a long day of writing, or in my forearms the next day. Typing is an unnatural act. There is only so long you can do it before you start to run risks, repetitive strain, carpal tunnel, etc.

I am taking a career view on that. I want to be in this game for a long time, and that means protecting my hands from strain. Dictation seems like a good way to do that. So I am trying to learn how.

My early forays into dictation were less than spectacular. Part of that is just learning how dictation works, and working with enough for the computer to learn my voice. Or for me to learn to enunciate the way the computer wants. I’m not really sure who is training who here. Better sound equipment can’t hurt. But dictation is only one of the reasons I bought a good mic.

Podcasting

Yeah, I’ve thought about podcasting. Not sure if I will do it yet. It seems to dovetail well with the kinds of content I have on this site and some of the things I want to produce.

What holds me back? I have issues with my voice. That pretty much sums it up. I don’t like the sound of my voice. In person, it barely registers. I give speeches all the time and it barely registers. But sound equipment amplifies the things I don’t like and interviewing on the radio or online erases the visual elements and strips them from the performance. All that is left is my voice. I squirm and shudder as I listen to the playback.

Perhaps better sound equipment and greater familiarity will help me make peace with how I sound on tape. Perhaps not. Time will tell. But for now, I am experimenting.

Screen capture

I’m also researching and planning on returning to tech blogging, but with a new twist. I want to start creating and sharing content for writers about tech issues. This is one the area of being an indie writer where I struggled to learn, because there aren’t resources aimed at us yet. There are tons of blogs, books and other people talking about writing, publishing and marketing.

It’s assumed that the writer already knows how to use Word. It’s assumed that other writing software, with the possible exception of Scrivener, is worthless for the “real” writer. (If only writers knew more about the world of writing software, they’d disagree.) I’ve learned through trial and error.

There are blogs and books out there about setting up websites, managing social media, etc. but they are largely written by entrepreneurs. Yes, I know, all writers should be entrepreneurs today. But what about the writer that just wants to write? The “we should all be entrepreneurs” myth fails to address a fundamental difference in two business styles. For those who are happy to be entrepreneurs as well as writers, feel free to learn and play with marketing strategies, SEO, business software, etc. It’s fun for you. For the rest of it, it’s not fun. We don’t want to play with this stuff, we want to set up a system that will do the job, with as little input from us as possible. And that’s what I want to teach. Despite seeming to have a near constant presence on Facebook and Twitter, I actually only spend a few minutes each day managing those sites.

As I start researching and planning this content, I realize I am going to have to rely heavily on screen capture videos. Some of this stuff is just so much easier to show, than to tell. That means having better audio equipment.

So those are my excuses, I mean, reasons, for buying a new mic. I’m pretty good at justifying things, aren’t I?

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