Thoughts about Self Talk

Even back about 20 years ago we were talking about self talk.  Self talk is that internal dialogue you have perhaps subvocally with yourself throughout the day.  Sometimes the voice in your head can be condemning.  Often it’s very critical.  Unfortunately it’s often very critical of yourself.  And when your self talk is sufficiently critical of you that could sometimes lead to depression or paranoia.

As a person who lives alone, I admit I talk to myself … often and frequently I do so out loud.  And since I have committed myself to writing a book during the next year, I decided to purchase a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking and test whether my talking to myself out loud could be made productive time as it pertains to writing the book.  I said to myself I can capture what I am  saying  as I babble to myself during the day.  And much of that babbling would be potential material for the book.  It would require a lot of editing I’m sure, but it would be better than starting from scratch with a blank sheet of paper.

So I bought Dragon NaturallySpeaking for about 200 dollars.  And I began training it last week.  In fact, I’m writing this blog post with it right now.  For the impatient among you, the Cliff Notes version of my evaluation so far is that it is that I like it very much.  It seems that my speculation about being able to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to type is proving to be true.  I am able to use it to get text onto the page.  I haven’t reached that point yet that I am completely comfortable editing primarily with voice, but I hope to get better at that with practice.

This must make sense because many doctors use this software and this technology to document their conversations with their patients.  It’s the best way to get that information into the patient’s record.  Doctors are certainly not going to sit down at the computer and go to individual records to type in their comments.  However, at the conclusion of a visit with a patient they will pick up a dictating device and speak their notes into that.  So that way they can just be done with it and go on to the next patient.

I intend to use that same strategy myself.  I have ordered a Zoom H4 which is a professional quality digital audio recorder frequently used by musicians and songwriters to capture the sound moment when they’re working together.  I can use the digital audio recorder to capture interviews of people.  And I can use it as a dictating machine when I’m away from my computer because Dragon NaturallySpeaking has a transcription mode which can transcribe from a digital file.  So when I’m riding along in my car, I can simply speak into the digital audio recorder, the zoom H4, and when I return home, I can have Dragon NaturallySpeaking transcribe what I dictated while riding in the car.

I have no idea yet how well Dragon NaturallySpeaking will transcribe the speech of someone who hasn’t created a profile and trained on it, as for instance when I might be interviewing someone and would like for Dragon NaturallySpeaking to transcribe both sides of the interview.  This combination of equipment, coupled with a Calisto Pro wireless headset, offers a unique new creative environment, and I’m eager to experiment with this new environment as well as use it in producing writing throughout this year.

Interestingly, the more you use it the better it gets at recognizing how you say things, so even if you’re not interested in producing a written record of something for publication, you might consider using it just to continue to train it.  In the future when you needed it it would be better equipped to do what you wanted it to do.

So welcome to my journey along the path of talking to your computer.  I still have much to explore about Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but I am very confident that I can use it and I do intend to use it experimentally as I attempt to write more things this way.  Stay tuned.


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