From Thought to Paper with Speech-to-Text
One of the hardest parts of writing is just getting started. Changing personal and specific internal, and sometimes abstract thoughts into something someone else can understand is extremely challenging. If our kids are struggling with writing, why not use their default method of communication to get things started? With Speech-To-Text, they can!
Most phones and computers will do Speech-To-Text now. On iPhone, the default Notes app will listen to your voice and convert it to text. Almost any app that allows text entry, on any mobile device, will offer an option to use the microphone to record your voice and convert it to text. If you’re on a desktop computer with a microphone, this website works pretty well, https://dictation.io/speech, and Google Docs has built-in speech-to-text capabilities under ‘Tools > Voice Typing’.
It’s important to remember that creating documents with dictation is a very different process than starting a document with writing. Allow the spoken dictation to be free flowing. Just start talking, don’t worry about punctuation, spelling or sentence structure. If you think better when you move, try taking a walk or doing some work around the house. If you think of something, record it right away rather than trying to hold onto it until you can write it down. Speak as if you are talking to a friend, or actually record yourself talking to a friend! That can really help keep the thoughts flowing. Let the words flow naturally, with all of your own personality, passion and expression!
Once that’s done, then worry about the editing. Spoken and written communication are very different experiences, so they require very different structures. Use the dictation as a guide. Edit out the ‘umms’, look out for times when you used the same sentence length or repeated yourself. Those typically aren’t a problem when in a conversation, but they are for someone reading. Vary your sentence lengths, remember how you FELT when you spoke the words, and find ways to show that feeling to your reader. Feel free to move sentences and paragraphs around so they tie together better. Conversations have a very different flow than reading, so the finished written product will have substantially changed from what was first recorded.
Remember, the goal isn’t to be a great writer, the goal is to learn how to get ideas on paper.