As the old adage goes, “How do you eat an elephant?”

One bite at a time.

NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words in 30 days. How does one crank out roughly ~1700 words a night?


I had listened to a couple of podcast interviews where the guests had discussed writing fiction through the use of dictation, and even while they were out walking (!). This got me thinking.

I am used to using dictation at work. At the office, I work on a PC Windows machine, and have Dragon NaturallySpeaking speaking. In addition, I frequently use a Dictaphone and send .wav files off to a transcriptionist for my work product. However, reading reviews on Amazon reveals that dragon NaturallySpeaking for the Mac is far less accurate. So I never dictated at home on my iMac.

In recent years I’ve become more impressed with Siri. At first, I simply tested out short text messages on my iPhone. But this latest upgrade of the Mac OS with enhanced dictation has really been interesting for me. Tonight I decided to try out the enhanced dictation feature in order to write this blog post.

The greatest benefit of dictation is that you can simply get your thoughts out quickly. Then you can take a short break, and come back and revise. Dictation would not only save my wrists from carpal tunnel, but I would begin to chip away at my daily work count goal. Also, it’s FREE! Winning!

How to begin:

Here’s a link to the tutorial I used to install enhanced dictation on my iMac tonight.

It took less than 10 minutes to install Enhanced Dictation.

When dictating, there’re some protocols that have been used by lawyers in their transcription work for years, such as:

  • To obtain quotation marks, you must speak “quote happy day closed quote” and the marks will appear as “Happy day”
  • Say “next paragraph” to move the cursor to the next paragraph
  • Say “question mark” to have a ? show up at the end of your sentence

I tried the dictation without the benefit of a fancy microphone (though some recommend using a nice mike) and it worked just fine.

To turn on the dictation, you can program the keys of your preference. Afterwards once it’s on, you’ll get an icon to show you that it’s listening. Once complete, click “Done” and the dictation turns off.

Happy NaNoWriMo2016 Prep!