How productive is dictation?

I’m a librarian and I like data. So, of course, I had to devise some sort of method of tracking how many words per minute I was speaking so that I can track my progress in a tangible way. I used a NANO progress tracker spreadsheet as the base (because I just didn’t have time to deal with formatting lines and colors to make it pretty), deleted all of the graphs and formulas, trimmed down the columns, and put my own stuff in it.

I believe I mentioned that the Philips DVT2700 had a voice activation feature and that its microphone was picking up the car engine, so the voice activation never actually paused recording. This left me with a lot of dead air. When I downloaded Audacity I discovered that in one 40 minute session had 27 minutes of dead air. So for the first 10 or 12 recordings I subtracted 15 minutes from the final run time. After that, I tried manually recording and pausing instead of relying on the voice activation feature.


The stats: 11/30/2016-12/21/2016

Sessions: 26

Total Time Recorded: 7 hours, 51 minutes, 46 seconds.

Total Words Recorded: 25,865 words

Average minutes per session: 18 minutes (I had several short sessions of less than 10 minutes due to bad weather where I was trying to not die).

Average words per session: 995

Average words per day: 1,724

Average words per minute: 55 wpm (I type at ~60, last I checked… years ago).


What did I get out of these words? In the first seven sessions I worked through the important beats of a short story outline that is ready for a first draft and I’ve brainstormed the major turning points of a novel, and the beginning and ending of two sequels, that are ready for outlining. On December 6th I started work on Holly Lisle’s free “Writing Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck” class and completed through Week 2. Then the weather turned foul, then I got sick and was pretty much sick until January 9th.

I have actually dictated the first and second “acts” of those flash fiction stories too. The first drafts that were transcribed aren’t the best but they are much better than I anticipated.


I’m feeling pretty good about this dictation thing. The numbers are looking decent and I just might be able to make this work!


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