As I am in the middle of working out some tech issues and considering some new systems, I began thinking of some of the today’s options now available for communication of all types—be it stories, directions, etc. While new technology can be tricky and often frustrating–getting thoughts and words into text writing has become far easier. Those who are not resistant to new technology will discover greater efficiency and convenience from what it’s now available. I have listed just a few of the programs now available.
Voice to Text
Anyone who bought a “Voice to Text” program in the early 2000s or late ’90s will remember speaking into a microphone over and over again and never quite getting the correct output on the word processor. This was incredibly frustrating and led many to simply give up on the technology forever. Great strides have been made since then, not only in the technology for computers, but in cell phones and even in automated phone systems. While they certainly aren’t foolproof, with a bit of patience they do work, making us wonder how we ever got along before! There are advanced systems out there such as Dragon and others which are made specifically for this purpose, so while you might get by with your computer or cell phone alone, it’s definitely worth looking into more advanced or case-specific technology. Voice to Text allows for ideas to flow out of our minds and onto the paper without the need for typing. A huge time saver and a great way to get ideas out quickly.
Great writers know that research is a powerful tool but can quickly become overwhelming. Saving a handwritten note here, a newspaper clipping there, some photos on the hard drive, etc. often leads to a confusing mess and can take a considerable amount of time to clean up. This is where Evernote comes in. It is a way to store and organize notes and research into an easily accessible application. How easy to access? Well, you can access it from anywhere as it syncs from computers to cell phones to iPads and more. It’s an incredibly simple application and can easily be downloaded onto a smartphone. There are free options as well as paid premium options, but either way it’s much easier than covering our desks with various notes and information!
Grammarly is a huge step forward from spell check. It is far more powerful tool. It’s an awesome and simple to use application that loads into a web browser or computer and makes it simple and efficient to fix not only spelling errors but also errors in grammar, syntax and more. It will even recommend better ways of saying something and gives you access to tools to find stronger words to replace those which are weaker. I use it myself and simply love how easy and effective it is. Even for non-writers, it’s extremely useful! My vote: don’t write without it! Also, don’t forget the read-aloud button function on Word or other word processing programs. Our fingers do not always hit the right keys. Read aloud gives us the opportunity to hear what we think is in our text. Errors which our eyes tend to miss since we know what we meant. (I just ran Grammarly over this blog post—removing many commas and typos, which I did not catch previously)
It’s easy to forget that social media is, in fact, a technology, as well as a tool which writers and other business individuals can and should take full advantage of. Not only is it an excellent research tool; it is also an incredibly powerful avenue for networking and learning which can seriously boost a writer’s context, understanding, and appreciation for specific topics and ideas. Using it to network with fellow writers, join writing groups like “Talking Fiction”, or look for interesting things to help provide new ideas or polish existing ones
We now have a vast array of tools––I have mentioned only a few. If you have some great tools that I forgot to mention, please share them with me and your fellow readers in the comments below!