Dragon Naturally Speaking — A Great Tool For Bloggers

Have you ever wished that you could write twice as much in in a single day? Have you ever thought of the number of successful blogs you could have if only you had the time to write enough posts? I have rediscovered a tool that can make you an even more productive blogger. It’s called Dragon NaturallySpeaking and it is speech recognition software.

My history with Dragon

This is not the first time I have tried Dragon NaturallySpeaking. In fact, I tried it about 10 years ago when the technology was still quite new. It’s safe to say that while the potential was impressive, the reality was distinctly underwhelming. I put the software away and didn’t return to it for a while. This year, based on a glowing review from someone I trusted, I decided to give it another try. And I have been blown away. Here’s what my initial tests show.

Putting Dragon to the test

As a professional blogger, I have a pretty good idea how much I can write within 30 minutes or an hour. That’s just writing without editing. When I’m on a roll I can turn out 1,000 words in an hour. My initial tests of Dragon suggest that I can double that. One morning this week I dictated a batch of five articles (totaling 2000 words) in an hour. Accuracy was excellent though I still had a bit of correcting to do at the end. That took 15 minutes, which meant I saved 45 minutes over my usual writing time.

Setup and training

So how does it work? Install it, set up your microphone and spend five minutes reading the test file so that it can make a voice profile for you. Then start dictating. It’s as simple as that, and it’s a great improvement over the version I tried 10 years ago. What’s more, depending on the version you get (I have the cheapest standard version), you can run your entire computer with the software. Even with the version I have, I can format text and perform common program functions in Microsoft Word and in Windows Live Writer. (Note for Mac users: Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a Windows program, but I’m told that MacSpeech uses the same engine and is very good.)

Little niggles

One thing to be aware of is that because the software is designed to command your computer as well is to dictate text, you may sometimes find that you say something that is a command in the program you are working on. For example, with Windows Live Writer, when I say the word ‘blogs’, sometimes the blogs tab will open when what I really wanted was to have the word appear in my text. It’s a small price to pay. And I can train the software to recognize phrases I say often by importing them from the documents I write and by using the additional training files provided. So far, in a week of using it, that has not been necessary.

A productive blogger

What does Dragon NaturallySpeaking mean for me as a blogger? I blog regularly for three blogs and occasionally for a few more. Provided I know what I want to say it means that I can write my posts in half the time, leaving time to work on other projects. This 500+ word post took about 15 minutes to dictate and correct. How’s that for productivity?


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