Taking Dictation: Testing Windows 10 Speech Recognition Software

Edited post

Hello everyone, it’s been a very long time between posts.  To be entirely honest, I only decided to do this post because I am trying out speech recognition software. My Surface Pro has Windows 10 which includes a free Speech Recognition program.

I decided to give dictation a go after reading a number of other blog posts espousing* the benefits of dictating into speech recognition software as a way of improving writing speed and output.  I read a few from The Creative Penn – check out this link for a list of Joanna’s posts on the topic: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/tag/dictation/ .
I’d recommend her YouTube videos on the topic as well.

This blog post is divided into two sections:

  • The first half (i.e. this half) – under the heading ‘Edited’ is the blog post proper. I have done my dictated draft, pasted it into WordPress, and then undertaken a reasonable edit. I expect it is what you are reading now.
  • The second half is my original – the dictated text pre-edit. Whilst I did correct terrible errors as I went (see below), it is still somewhat ‘raw’. It might be useful as an example of output.

At the time I dictated this, I was terribly uncertain as to how it would go. Sitting here doing my editing, I can say right now I am kinda impressed. I understand that before I will see any improvement in speed or accuracy, that the voice recognition software will requires a certain amount of ‘training’ – meaning that I will need to edit as I go.  I expect that editing as I go will slow things down in the short term, but in the long term I hope that windows 10 be accurate enough correctly capture me speaking naturally and without requiring constant self editing.  I figure I will need to give it a few weeks to see well it learns.

Apart from this experiment I’ve been trying to keep focus on my writing, doing my 350 words a day, and (broadly) I have achieved this. I recently started to push this out to 500 words a day.  All up my writing is going OK. The story I’m working on at the moment is up to 30,000 words – all terrible of course – but still sitting there, ready to go all the same.

I haven’t done too much more of the homework set by the Writing Excuses podcast crew, mainly because I found it chewed up more time than I was willing to dedicate to it.  I think the activities they suggest are valuable, but only if doing it doesn’t eat into the time of actually writing something.

I’m going to close off the blog post here – it was just intended to be a practice run after all.  Overall the experience while talking hasn’t been too bad (although it does feel unnatural to write out loud like this). I think my head is firmly in a mindset where I think as I type, and thinking and speaking feels really weird. 

Let me know if you’ve tried speech to text dictation. Have you used free software like the Windows 10 one I’m using, Siri, or perhaps some of the more powerful paid software like Dragon Naturally Speaking?  I’d be interested in your experiences, as if I can get this free program working reasonably well and start seeing the benefits it, I’ll look into buying Dragon.


*I absolutely threw in the word ‘espousing’ in an effort to trip up the software, and was both impressed and also a little miffed that it got it correct first time.

Original (raw speech-to-text dump)

Strictly this is attempt two.
Hello everyone, a long time between the blog posts. To be honest I’m only doing this one is an attempt to try out a speech recognition software. I have read a number of other blog posts, espousing the benefits of dictating writing into speech recognition software as a way of improving overall output. So this is me, giving ago.
The way I see this blog post working is as follows;
– Half the post will show the roar unedited results of my little experiment
– The other half will semi-final edited result.
I am not sure how this will go, and whether I will see any improvement in speed as I understand that voice recognition software requires a certain amount of “training”. And even if some doing this on finding it very hard not to automatically as I go. In the beginning I expect that editing as I go will slow things down in the short term, but in the long term I hope that windows 10 will learn how I speak. Eventually though, it will be important for me to be I was speaking naturally and without self editing. I figure give it a few weeks and see how things go.
What have I been doing recently? Apart from my regular work activities, I’ve been trying to keep focus on my writing, doing my 350 words a day, and recently have tried to push them out of 500 words a day. This going OK, the story I’m working on at the moment is up to 30,000 words space – all terrible of course – but still set down all the same.
I haven’t done too much of the homework set by the writing excuses crew, mainly because I found it chewed up more time and was willing to dedicate to it. I think it’s valuable, but only if a dozen key in the time of actually writing something.
I’m going to close off the ball post here, this was after all it just intended to be a bit of a practice run. Overall hasn’t been too bad although it is still a bit of fresh an unnatural to to write in this matter. I think my head is firmly in a mindset we are I think as I type, and thinking and speaking feels really weird. If
Let me know if you’ve tried speech to text dictation whether the free windows software, siri, or some of the more powerful paid software like a dragon naturally speaking. If I can get this working reasonably and can see the benefits in that, I’ll look at buying that software.


Riding my ponies

Hi folks

Blogging again.

Who the hell do I think I am? Some sort of…blogger?

What arrogance.

The absolute nerve.

I know, I know, but… what can I say? I’m feeling inspired. Who knows how long this will last? Days? Weeks? I’ve got to ride this pony while it’s running.

So saddle up pardner; we’re going Word Rustling.

Continue reading

Know Idea? Where the hell do you get ideas from?

Generating story ideas…

You know, I remember being good at this. It wasn’t that long ago even (I think). But today, when trying to come up with 5 story ideas… Christ, it was hard as hell.

I recall reading somewhere that creativity is a muscle, and if you don’t exercise it, you lose form. It gets harder. A few years ago, I was doing this every week, every day even. Every Friday Fiction or TerribleMinds writing prompt was like a creative bench-press or bicep curl (or squat – don’t skip leg day kids).

But its been so long that… today it felt like that part of my brain had completely atrophied.


So why am I talking about ideas? Two reasons:

  1. I recently joined a writers group – just a casual thing with some good mates who are all ‘authorly inclined’. So, needless to say, 2 days in, I’m inspired. Is authorly a word?  Meh, it is now.
  2. As part of the writers group, we listened to Writing Excuses Season 10 Episode 1: Seriously, where do you get your ideas?

Check it out, its a few years old now, and its brief (15 minutes).

And it has homework.

Write down five different story ideas in 150 words or less. Generate these ideas from these five sources:

  1. From an interview or conversation you’ve had
  2. From research you’ve done (reading science news, military history, etc)
  3. From observation (go for a walk!)
  4. From a piece of media (watch a movie)
  5. From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)

This exercise might not generate the very best ideas you’ve ever had, but it will definitely flex your idea muscles in new ways.

From Writing Excuses Season 10 Episode 1.

So, here is my homework. Five ideas I belted out while eating a salad at lunch. Feel free to let me know what you think. Continue reading

Little things

A quick update. Some little things. A few pictures I did with the kids recently. Word count update – about 850 words – I got a little enthusiastic, so went past my 350 goal.

The pictures are interesting, as they came out ok (I’m satisfied anyway), were fun to do (the kids were drawing too), and they forcibly reminded me of my mortality. I realised while drawing that I couldn’t see the pictures while they were close – an optometrist confirmed I need multi-focal lenses in my glasses. So I am indeed old.

Not much to say about the writing. It’s a weird, ugly, and quite possibly offensive idea I’ve been carrying for a while; one I suspect would be deeply unpublishable even if written by a skilled and experienced writer. Still, I can’t get it out of my head, and I guess its better to get it out and down, than let it fester in the back of my mind for any longer. At least if I abandon this one I wont feel bad about it.



*quick upate – total words is now 1,420.

Keeping things interesting

Well another day down, and another day where it wasn’t too hard to get the words down.

I did waste about 10 minutes on twitter, but that’s actually not too bad for me. Twitter is a real trap for me (A constantly refreshing distraction from things I should be doing? YES PLEASE!).

Daily word count: 367

Total word count: 18,908

Not far off 19,000 words, which is not far off 20k. I might reward myself with that milestone…maybe I need to factor in a system of rewards – something cool at every 10k perhaps? I’ll think about it. Just something to keep things interesting.

Speaking of keeping things interesting, I’ve been doing a few side projects as well as this writing. I’ve started mucking about with learning how to code with Coding for Dummies – something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I’ve also started plotting out a small project that has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while now – its a writing project, but not this novel. I wont go into that, because I’m not actually sure if I will keep going or not.

But anyway – these are all things for me to do in little bits and chunks so I can achieve something without getting overwhelmed. Or maybe I’ll fail at all of them and feel bad about three things.

Let’s see!



A deep breath before diving



Digital Scrachpad Doodle – by KT

So, back again.


I didn’t write last on the last two nights. I had forgotten that Thursday was Nerd Night, and I had a great time playing a new PS4 game (Drawn to Death – interesting little game with seriously immature humour which happens to be spot on for this 41-going-on-15 individual).  I didn’t write last night because I was dosed up on painkillers (hurt my shoulder lifting my daughter up because I’m also 41-going-on-85).

But tonight…

Daily word count: 431

Total word count: 18,541

So not a bad amount, and I pumped it out pretty quick. It didn’t hurt as much getting the words down this time, and was in a far better headspace than I have been for weeks.

I’ve got a few good tips, both on this blog and in real life, but something that has helped me recently both getting back into writing and actually getting things done at work has been doodling. Not drawing, just doodling.

I’ve been watching a few YouTube videos and found this spacey artist (Peter Draws) on whose art is as mesmerising as his weird videos (here is ‘How to Doodle‘). Anyway, I did the above today which is kind of a ‘digital scrachpad’ – in that I coloured a layer in multiple bright colours, then placed a black layer over the top, and then doodled the above using the eraser tool (and the 4 way symmetry tool). It’s kinda silly and really simple, but the repetition of shapes and patterns is as relaxing as hell, and I gotta really recommend it if you need to change gears. The aim isn’t to get a masterpiece, just to make some marks on paper (physical or digital.

After I did this doodle I set it up for my kids, and they played with it too. Fun for the whole family 🙂

Anyway, lets hope I see you tomorrow night with another update! Maybe I’ll write. Maybe I’ll doodle some more. Maybe both.




Breaking, not broken

20 days off.


Now, I did plan for those first…7 days. Yay!

But then…Busy period at work. Then social engagements. Then Gastro. For 3 days of spewing and feeling awful, then 3 more days of general malaise. Not conductive for planning or writing. As I recovered, I watched TV.

And after I got better, I kept watching TV instead of writing. Stranger Things and Daredevil are very good – to watch. Not so good for the word count.

To be honest, I really enjoyed the time watching TV – it was great to get back into some good stories outside of a book. And it was good to sit down in the same room as my wife, instead of us both sitting alone. Kinda got the impression it was good for the marriage too separate interests are necessary, but you need to do SOME things together.

And so here we are – 20 days off writing, and time to get back into it.

Only I’ve left it too late tonight and I don’t think I’ll get much done. Oh well. Current plan is to write down my planning, and start working on shifting my plan from Scapple to Scrivener then reordering into something sensible.

So I expect to have a word count tomorrow. If I get a few words tonight, I will update this post. If not…its no big deal 🙂

Back into it baby!