Not a Natural Speaker

On Setting Up and Using Dragon Naturally Speaking – part 1

I’ve never been an early adopter, mostly because those people are more concerned with nifty-shininess than getting their money’s worth and I’ve never had money to throw around on things which might not do what I need. That said, I realize I’m a little late to the party. I’ve tried to get a speech to text program in the past, but it didn’t work out. I got the only flavor of Dragon Naturally Speaking that didn’t qualify for an upgrade to Win 7 when that’s all I had access to for operating systems.

Now, though, my fiancee’s mother bought me a copy of a more recent version. I installed it, but hadn’t had the chance to activate and set it up properly until now. I’m a quiet speaker. It took me four tries to get the program to accept my mic test. I guess you can’t be shy while dictating. Right now the program is working up a profile for me. I imagine it rolling its non-existent, digital eyes and chuckling quietly to itself while it figures out how best to handle me. Did I mention I sometimes lapse into various (mostly terrible, some muddy, unidentifiable) accents when I get nervous? That’ll make things easier…

On the up side, while I can spell fairly well, I type atrociously. I have a few go-to typos from which there seems to be no escape, and I have moments where clearly I’m being too shy with the keyboard as well, needing to go back and hit the buttons more forcibly to get a response. Hopefully, if I can adapt to this program, it will help with this issue.

And then there’s writing in general. I’ve grown accustomed to poking buttons as my brain comes up with the next word, the next sentence. I’ve trained myself, however poorly in some respects, to ‘think in keyboard’ or at least think through my fingers? When I have to try to filter my crazy ideas through my tongue, closer to my brain by halfway across my body from my hands… what will happen? Will I become boring? Will I find hidden censors ready to keep me from saying aloud the acts and visions my fingers blithely transmit? Or will it really be more ‘natural?’

Here’s hoping.


Seven Down

As I said recently, I have a goal as a new author of ten stories being accepted in 2013. I’ll keep this short as I’m being rude and ignoring guests to make this post, but I got the acceptance email for my seventh story, a faerie story called The Brothers Doran, to come out in an anthology focusing on the Unseelie Court of the European Fae later this year. This story is spawned from an idea I had for a novel, and the characters therein will likely be seen again in said longer work after the current novel is completed.

State of the Stuff, Aug 1, 2013

So, Oliver is 29 days old. We’ve all survived thus far, though some of us are a little shy on sleep at the moment. Today was also my last day at the day job for… well, the foreseeable future. I’ve been working at this particular company on and off (like anyone else who works there, pretty much, that’s how it works when you score standardized tests for various states.) It’s been a good run, and I may get back there from time to time on the evening shift, but my primary day job type deal for now will be taking care of the munchkin and eventually doing homeschooling with him.

And writing… Yeah. I’ve been dipping my toes in the short fiction market pool for the first half of the year. I’m planning on maybe going ankle deep in the second half of the year, life permitting. I’ve sold my sixth story of the year this morning, (a fun little Halloween story for my friends at Whortleberry )with a yearlong goal of ten. (For those of you who don’t know and I don’t recall if I said anywhere on here, I’ve only started publishing this year.)

All previous attempts at selling my fiction have been relatively poorly directed abject failures. Now, I’m getting the hang of it, building a network via this blog, a FB page and Twitter account( @JohnAMcColley ), as well as finding markets to which I can sell reliably and looking for the next rung on the ladder while maintaining the valued earlier connections. Selling stories is gratifying, but making enough money to be meaningful would be grand…

Also, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the last ten years and plan to engage the challenge again this year, though truthfully the challenges are my own, as the base goal of 50,000 words is almost trivial to me now that I’ve achieved it many times and have hit 70k+ at least a couple of times. My new goal(? not really, it’s been my goal the last few times, and I’m getting closer) is to finish an entire draft, expected to be on the order of 100k in length.

Aside from that, though, I also intend to take what I hope will be some more freedom and writing time to flesh out my NaNos, beginning with my most recent one, Knife Money, a darker fantasy about legacies destroyed, families lost and found, and love conquering all… oh wait… I guess you’ll just have to see.