Dictation: The Best Trick I Have Found for Writing Faster or Under Deadline

I’m posting this well before National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I know many of you are already thinking of it, and ramping up!

National Novel Writing Month is just plain difficult. Here’s how I made it easier on myself, and maybe it will work for you, too.

As mentioned, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Depending on your genre, you may actually be shy of a novel at the required 50,000 words a month (most books in my genre are more like 80,000 plus), but still! That’s such a huge chunk of a novel that, really, who’s counting?

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo

But speaking of counting, one must write 1667 words per day to reach the goal. For those of us who take one day a week off, make that 1923+ words per day, depending on when you start.

Starting November 10th? Make that 2500+ / day, and so on.

Any way you slice it, that’s a TON!

So how is to be done? In my opinion, there’s only one way. It may or may not be for you, but it has been a game-changer for me: I go for autumn walks and speak my book.


Somehow the light this day was super ennobling…which is perfect. Because you will feel noble as you get away from your keyboard for some fresh air!

See how much fun I’m having, walking around talking to myself, offending those outdoor enthusiasts who sneer at my inability to unplug and enjoy nature? This could be you, too.


I dictate to a digital recorder like this hooked to headphones, then bring the audio file into Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows and let it transcribe my ramblings into a beautiful Word document–okay no. This makes one really messy first draft.  But it’s still out there!

Note: Yes, you can use Dragon Dictation on Mac, iPad, or iPhone, but keep in mind that most mobile dictation apps require an internet connection, and that can be flaky when you’re on the move.

IMG_7201 aThis is how I did it last year, my first successful time finishing my NaNoWriMo goal, after years of failed attempts. Without this trick, I wouldn’t have accomplished my goal. I haven’t tried to publish last year’s novel yet, and may never, but it was awesome practice.

The main reason this works for me is that even with the learning curve, you can speak faster than you can type, most likely.

So, while I can’t promise you will reach your deadline or NaNoWriMo goal this way, it is the only way I’ve found to do so.

Here’s more info and a few resources for anyone who’s interested:

My post summarizing my NaNoWriMo win last year (anyone who finishes the goal is a winner!):
NaNoWriMo Dropout? Me Too x 4! 5 Ways I Succeeded This Year
More free description of how I do this: 
How I Wrote 6000 Words in 6 Miles By Going on a Writing Walkabout



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