Digital Voice Recorders – A Freelance Writer’s Best Friend

| March 25, 2008

Next to voice recognition software, the freelance writer’s best friend is a digital voice recorder. The combination of the two tools can significantly increase a freelance writer’s productivity.

Digital voice recorders are little devices that have come to replace the old fashioned tape recorder. The beauty of a digital voice recorder is that they are small enough so that a writer can carry it at all times (I’ve taken to wearing mine around my neck like a necklace). They are convenient and simple to use.
Writers, who are visionaries by nature, can use their creativity when it comes to exploring the many ways in which a digital voice recorder can be helpful in a writing career. Here are a few instances:

Digital Voice Recorder Uses:

  1. Document interviews. It will catch and record every spoken word. No more guesswork.
  2. Capture that great idea (which usually presents itself when you’re driving and unable to write it down only to forget it once you’ve reached your destination)
  3. Multi tasking. The next best novel can be dictated while sitting in a mile long traffic jam
  4. Total recall of fine details. Describe the details of an event into the digital voice recorder while it happens. No need to wait until you get home when the details of recollection begin to get fuzzy.
  5. Record driving directions. You’re in a town away from home with no GPS or Mapquest. A local town person offers simple directions that include 15 left turns and 18 right turns and 3 stop signs to reach your destination. A digital voice recorder will come in handy.


The one two punch

Coupled with voice recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a freelance writer’s productivity can increase two; three and four fold with a digital voice recorder. It’s not about working harder; it’s about working smarter.

A real life scenario

You finally arrive home after unbelievable traffic and before you begin the evening cooking, cleaning, homework, etc, take the digital voice recorder and attach it to your computer. Download all that you dictated while sitting in traffic. While it’s downloading, you continue on with your evening chores.

You check the computer to click on the “Voice Recognition” option in your digital voice recorder’s software (once all of the dictation is downloaded). The software brings up Dragon NaturallySpeaking and begins to transcribe your hour or so of dictation while you go back to cooking dinner, homework, etc.

After the evening flurry of activity is over, you check the computer to save the transcribed file. Once it’s there on the computer, all you have to do is edit your dictation as you see fit.

The digital voice recorder coupled with voice recognition software can make a big difference in your writing productivity. You can become a one-person writing phenom.

Writer’s Tip:

There are several voice recognition software packages on the market just as there are several Digital Voice recorders. I happen to use the combination of Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Sony ICD-P520 and it works for me. Do your homework to find the combination that will work for you.

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Category: Freelance, Suite 101, Tools, Writing

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (5)

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  1. Seth says:

    Vista / Win 7 may not be able to parse the digital file on the PC, but you could use the audio out from a digital recorder hooked up to the microphone input on your PC.

    Start the windows speech recognition program, then hit play on your voice recorder and it should pick up the stream and convert it.

  2. Robert Bennett says:

    Does anyone know if Vista’s Speech Recognition software can transcribe from what I’ve recorded onto a digital voice recorder? I know Dragon hs the capability but it seem superfluous to have both programs installe on m PC. Please respond to my email: rbennett[at]enablingwords[dot]com

    Thanks

    Robert

    • Felicia says:

      Robert, Vista’s Speech Recognition software cannot transcribe from digital devices.

      I’ve found each software program to have its pros and cons. One of Vista’s cons is the inability to transcribe from digital voice recorders.

  3. FreelanceFolder says:

    One tip is to look for a recorder that has an option to save recordings as MP3 files. This is more common recently, but some recorders only have proprietary file formats that can make using/sharing a recording more difficult. MP3’s make for easier downloads to your computer and uploads to podcasting sites or your blog to make it easy to share interviews, testimonials etc.

    The sound quality of an MP3 may be lower than other formats, but the files are much smaller, and almost everyone can play them. Other files require specific software to edit them, or players to listen to files.

    As I said above, recording client testimonials is a great use of a digital voice recorder for freelancers. Translate them to text as above and post both on your site for powerful, believable recommendations form clients.

    FreelanceFolders last blog post..Open Thread: How Can We Improve FreelanceFolder?

  4. brettbum says:

    I use a cheaper Sony voice recorder, but still get some great results with it powering Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 (I originally purchased it to work with version 9, and it worked fine then too.)

    brettbums last blog post..Dragon Naturally Speaking 10.1 Supporting Windows Vista 64-Bit OS Due to launch 3-25-09!