Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Mission: First Update

I am one week into this month's mission and I'm happy to report that I am eight for eight on my morning pages! The first week has been a total success, and I am on track to complete this mission successfully as I defined it from the outset. Unrelated to the mission, I am on a 28 day streak of morning pages (because I started last month).

As you know, I am using 750words.com to write my morning pages. If you are interested, you can track my progress here.

The thing that has really helped me get back on track with morning pages is that I'm using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 to dictate my morning pages. In fact, I'm using it to write this blog post! I'm not anti-keyboard, but I find dictation to be a "lower friction" experience than typing on the keyboard. Typing feels like a lot of work in comparison to dictation, and although I have a good muscle memory for the QWERTY keyboard, I am compelled to look down at the keyboard every so often when I type. And it might be a brain wiring issue, or whatever, but I don't lose my train of thought when I dictate as often as I do when I type.

The biggest way that this software makes me more efficient is probably when I am quoting something from off-line (something from a book, a printed magazine or newspaper, and so forth). Let's say that I'm writing a paper and I need to include a paragraph from a book. I look over at the book, and I type three or four words, I look over at the screen, and then I have to waste time finding my place, then I finally find my place, and repeat this process again and again and again and again until I've typed up the whole quote. And no, I can't do more than three or four words at a time, and no, I can't not lose my place. But with dictation, I don't lose my place because the whole time that I am entering text, my left hand is holding the book and my right index finger is keeping place, so I can just speak the words into the computer. Not only does this save a lot of time, but it saves a lot of grief and frustration. A regular person can hold more than four words in their memory and a regular person doesn't constantly lose their place when switching between book and computer screen. Unfortunately, I do, and it's frustrating. Fortunately, this software allows me to get around that pretty well. I love it!