New Year, New Writing Experiments


Here we are, well into 2022 now! This year I decided, because my life definitely wasn’t busy enough already, HA, that this would be a fun time to branch out when it comes to my writing methods. I’m not talking ye olde “plotter vs pantser vs plantser” debate, no. I’m talking about trying things I always thought might be interesting but never quite built up the steam to put into action. My first two experiments? Dictation software and sprints.

Yeah, sprints. Old hat for so many writers, but I was always reluctant to hop on that wagon because I thought sprints had to be done with other people. I saw writing groups set them up, or FB friends, or special Discord servers and more, and it just seemed like too much socializing to me. Yep, I’m a stereotypically introverted author and I like my writing time at my own pace. But sprinting with myself, especially in pursuit of some very specific word count goals (high ones, at least for me, because I’m also experimenting with overbooking myself this year, GO BIG OR GO HOME!) seemed doable. And thus far it’s been…actually, pretty great. Really great, in fact. Very productive, so let’s check that sprint box!

On to the dictation software thing. This one is way more of an experiment, because I’m a fast typist with no wrist issues right now (knock on wood) but since I want to keep my nice, healthy wrists and fingers, why not learn dictation software? Well, first off, because the kind I opted for is a fairly significant expense, but Christmas comes once a year and so I treated myself. Secondly, there’s the whole “putting your ideas out there verbally instead of typing them down” issue, but that’s another one I think I can get over with planning. The third issue? Speaking punctuation.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE punctuation. I have a deep and abiding admiration for em dashes, ellipses, and commas. It’s the speaking them out loud that’s taking some getting used to. And I love reading out loud! Part and parcel of having a small child is getting used to reading books out loud, but… I mean, say it with me now: “Open quote-The owl and the pussycat went to see—undo—select ‘see’—spell that—s-e-a—in a beautiful pea green boat-period-close quote.” It doesn’t exactly sound mellifluous.

For this one, I’ve got to keep in mind that training my brain will take time. Training the software takes time. Getting used to speaking in a new syntax takes time, all hours I could be spending on things I’m better at, but I promised myself I’d learn it (and I paid for the darn software) and so learn it I shall.

What are you experimenting with in your writing in the new year? Have any tricks or tips for me when it comes to dictation software? I’m all ears! Happy writing, friends.