Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Dictation Experiment

I tried the voice recorder last night. I described the current plot of my book and the possible story line for the coming chapters. While I was speaking, ideas seem to flow much better as compared to writing. I discussed about the possible characters and their development and characteristics of some of them. It was a good session and I recorded about 10 minutes of 'notes'. I realized that it was another way to put down my thoughts in electronic form.

So I started thinking of how I should store them. Like written files, I can create individual folders in my computer and store them there. So instead of reading these files, I can just listen to them. A change in paradigm. But in fact most people still read and the audio books are just the audio works of written books. So the novel needs to be written first before being recorded. I have used the voice recorder before specifically reading my Toastmaster speeches and playing them back to hear it and as an aid to remembering.

But as a replacement to the written notes I think it may be a bit difficult. I feel the the voice files are not solid and does not have the concreteness and firmness of the written word. I feel that the spoken word does not have the strength of the written prose. I am starting to change my viewpoint though ever since I joined Toastmaster. In fact the spoken word in a speech for example need to be treated with the same delicateness as a poem. The only difference is that the spoken word is helped by the manner in which the words are spoken. So there is a slight difference although the impact is quite strong especially with great orators.

So I now understand the relevance of podcast in both audio and video. How these methods can be used in facilitating the writing of a novel is the challenge. In fact reading Richard Restak's book, he recommends writing a journal as one mental exercise. So in fact having a voice or audio journal is another way to continue this tradition in another format. Also I am more sensitive to sound these days especially since I am taking guitar lessons since the start of the year and listening to audio books.

In researching on music lessons and it's effect on the brain yesterday, some studies reveal that music lessons improve one's verbal fluency and spatial ability. Of course it makes one sensitive to the auditory sensations. So making use of the voice recording as a tool to help me complete my book offers a less effortful way of working. Together with music lessons, dictation will hopefully make me a better writer. As I wrote previously, it seems to be a better way to think without the pressure of the mechanical act of writing. So I have split the effort of 'writing' into thinking and writing as a mechanical task.

In fact, I can use dictation to develop ideas not only in writing a novel but also in my work. It can act as a brainstorming activity although with myself only. In a way, it feels liberating because the flow of ideas is much better. Getting new ideas, structuring and clarifying thoughts can be achieved by vocalizing them as well as writing them. Since I started with journal writing, dictation or verbalizing my thoughts is much easier and brainstorming can be achieved via the voice as well. Funny but the effect seems to be quite revolutionary although it's really quite a simple concept.

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