How To Find Time To Write

Short of having your dog write for you, you might be asking yourself how to find time to write… and you’ll be surprised to find out that I was able to find more time to write while walking this little cutie!

How to find time to write

I’ve written about how to write faster here before, because as bloggers and writers it’s so important for us to know how save time writing.

Today I’m going to be talking about a new system that I’ve developed for myself to be a more prolific writer.

While I love dictating text on my computer, I realized that it was very similar to writing with a keyboard. I still had to be at my desk, with all of the distractions that come with my shiny computer.

The solution I’m about to share with you today takes you to out of your office and away from your computer, helping you focus on the content you want to create!

How To Find Time To Write – My System

Links to the programs mentioned in the video: Evernote idea gardens, Dragon Recorder App, MacSpeech Scribe.

How To Find Time To Write Using Transcription

Here’s what my new writing routine looks like:

  1. Keep Track of Your Writing Ideas: We all hate approaching a blank page or document, but wouldn’t that be case for recording yourself, too? Well that’s where my good friend Evernote comes in, and that’s where I keep all of my blog post and content ideas, in an Evernote notebook that is also available anywhere on my iPhone.
  2. Start Recording Your Thoughts On Audio: First I started out by getting a free app for my iPhone called Dragon Recorder App. You could also use any recording device that lets you save .wav files and upload them to your computer. Make sure to dictate in complete sentences, using the keywords “period, comma, exclamation mark, new paragraph” so that the transcription software will return something other than a long string of words.During my twice-daily dog walks, I take out my iPhone and start dictating and recording my blog posts. In fact, this particular blog post is being dictated right now from the beautiful park with my dog Millie. Yes, this is my sneaky answer to how to find time to write.
  3. Run Your Recordings Through Transcription Software: So that’s the first half of the process, the next part is getting my .wav files into the MacSpeech Scribe program. Don’t be confused by the name scribe, there are a ton of different programs with the same name, so follow this link to make sure we’re talking about the same one.I prefer to record a couple of pieces of writing throughout the day and in the evening I transfer those over to my computer for transcription.

    I run them through MacSpeech scribe and then copy the output text into my text editor of choice Scrivener.

  4. Take Your Transcribed Text and Edit It: If you’ve ever used any dictation software before, then you know the text that comes out the other end is not always perfect.The software does get better the more you use it, and you can train it to understand the way that you pronounce certain words. But there might still be a couple of things that don’t get transcribed properly, especially if there’s background noise or wind blowing to distort the sound.

So that’s my new process for writing blog posts, and I’m also using it to write my upcoming book.

Not On a Mac? What Other Tools Could You Use?

So do you actually need an iPhone to use this time saving system? No you don’t, you as long as you have a system that will allow you to record an audio file, then you can just upload to that file and run through a transcription program.

Not a Mac? Here’s The PC Equivalent: The counterpart of MacSpeech Scribe for the PC is by the same company, and it’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Why Dictating While You Walk Helps You Be More Creative (Or Side Effects Of Finding More Time To Write)

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time at the computer every day, and it can be hard on your body to sit for hours without any exercise.

Going for a walk is not only good for the body, but it also helps generate new ideas and boost your creativity. You’re not in the same old environment, and you’re giving yourself new brain food.

You’re also pumping your lungs full of fresh air, and there’s something to be said for moving to kickstart your creativity.

No More Asking Yourself How To Find Time To Write… Just Do It.

I hope you enjoyed learning about my new system for writing more prolifically.

Some of my best ideas have have come to me while I was taking a walk, or taking a shower… but I don’t recommend using your iPhone to dictate in the shower!

Let me know in the comments below how to find time to write other than through dictation, I know we’re all so good at finding ways that work for us as individuals!

31 Comments

  1. Mary W on December 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Love this idea! I have a lofty goal of restarting both of my blogs in the New Year, but finding time to write is hard. I spend so much time in the car because my boyfriend lives 40 minutes away, this would be a great way to use that time! Thanks Nath :)



    • Nathalie Lussier on December 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Way to go Mary!! It’s awesome that you’ve got a chunk of time ready to be repurposed too, and yay on driving to see your boyfriend! :)



  2. Chivon on December 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Love this tip! I use evernote to log my ideas too and have also used my phone to record a few notes but never went the extra step of transcribing them. Definitely a huge time saver since I usually get my best ideas when I’m away from the computer too. Thanks for this walk through Nathalie!



  3. Nelly Odessa on December 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Love these tips, and actually loving all of your videos Nathalie. <3 I'm currently working on several writing projects: two books, a newsletter, a blog post, and content for a new mini-challenge. I've been thinking about giving dictating and transcription software a try, and might just do that (didn't realize that I actually have to dictate punctuation, so thank you for that tip).



    • Nathalie Lussier on December 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Awesome Chivon!! Love that you’re already halfway there, now it’s just the transcription part. :)

      Nelly – wonderful! And yes, you get used to dictating with “exclamation mark” and “new paragraph” fairly quickly. Sometimes I’m talking to someone and my brain wants to add a period, hehe.



  4. Rommy Kirby on December 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you so much Nathalie! This looks like something I can really use because I get so bogged down when I'm typing AND I need to get out more. This looks so freeing, I can talk a blog so easily!



    • Rommy Kirby on December 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      One Q though – why not use the built in software recorder on your iphone instead of Dragon Recorder. I'm already on Evernote.



    • Aimee Prezzano - Simple Living for Busy People on December 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Evernote does have a recorder, if you have Siri! Check it out!



    • Nathalie Lussier on December 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      You absolutely can – I just started this way because I was researching solutions for transcription and that was the first app I tried and I got used to it. And it's a good idea to do it via Evernote too as Aimee Prezzano mentioned… the only thing is it needs to be a .wav file (not mp3) and that you can get to the file easily on your computer.

      Different flows totally work!



  5. Leslie on December 19, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I like this! I’ve done a bunch of detailed interviews for blogs and I recently sent them to a professional transcriptionist as an early step in writing a book. I’m writing a book about international careers. I’ve spent most of the past 7 years living and working in China and Chile, and I’m compiling my stories and advice as a resource for people interested in doing something similar.

    I’ve also been writing articles on a number of topics for various blogs, and I’d love to do more of it.

    I agree with you: separating the idea-gathering and editing phases is so important. Brainstorming requires divergent thinking, and editing is convergent thinking. My article on this topic is up on Forbes today: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/12/19/the-secret-to-creativity-and-productivity/ :)



  6. Aimee's Simple Living for Busy People on December 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Ah!

    Thank you SO much for this techy tip on how to set this up…….I can’t wait to implement it……And I *totally* agree that I like to segment the processes (stay creative when I am creative, stay editing when I am editing….

    I write a weekly newsletter but really want to start regularly pitching for guest posts so I have to get writing!

    Thanks for sharing, Nath!



  7. Jenna Dalton on December 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    This is great! I actually am often coming up with all sorts of ideas when I workout so I know the whole moving = being more creative thing is true.

    Some of my best ideas and insights have come while I’ve been working out and now I’ll be able to record it all.

    Thanks Nathalie!



  8. Simone on December 20, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Just what I needed. No walking for me though with a broken leg! Lots of time to dictate and write though ;-) Thanks Nathalie.



  9. Emily on December 20, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Love this video! I just started using evernote and it is life changing! I have used voice recorder but never the transcription software, but I am going to try that out! I am working on a business training program for people in my industry (hair and makeup) looking to start their own freelance businesses. Your resources are helpful!



  10. Heather Thorkelson on December 20, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Natalie, this is hilarious because it’s pretty much EXACTLY what I do except that I haven’t started using a transcription service until…drum roll….yesterday! I was recording all my ideas and blog posts onto my iPhone voice memo app and then transcribing them myself, editing as I went. But now I’m super excited about incorporating transcription software and streamlining the process even more. In fact, when I started doing this yesterday not only did I record/transcribe two blog posts but then I got on a roll and made THREE video blog posts. I think I’m like you in the sense that I love getting my ideas out and into the world. Thanks for a great post! Nice to know my systems are sound. :)



  11. Alison Monday on December 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I might have to go on walks without the dog, or use earbuds with a microphone. My 100 pound bullmastiff occasionally requires two hands. :)

    But seriously, great idea! Being able to talk through your article and then edit it is a great way to be more personal. Thanks Nathalie!



  12. Nancy Gilliam on December 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Love it!
    Thanks Nathalie!



  13. Natalie Sisson on December 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Love this Nathalie Lussier – I've been getting far more creative with my use of audio and transcriptions but love the idea of walking and dictating my blog posts.



  14. Angie on December 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Really awesome tips! I have to try this. I would be doing it for a report I’m trying to finish up, blog posts and future reports. Thanks!



  15. Jayne on January 23, 2013 at 4:09 am

    I love this and totally needed this post today! As I was reading your blog I was committed to writing! I was resisting it! lol I am trying to write copy for my new website and I second guess it all! Thanks! I am downloading these apps today!



  16. Jayne Jewell on January 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I am obsessed with Nathalie Lussier blog. Love this post about finding time to write.



  17. Jayne on January 23, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Hi Natalie, Diving into your system for writing now. Does the dragon app transcribe your files as well? If so why do you use mac scibe?
    Thank you!



  18. Melissa on March 20, 2014 at 2:43 am

    This is awesome – I’m always finding I have great conversations with myself but when it comes time to write I forget all the good points I made! It just makes sense that I should be recording and turning it into written content :)



  19. Beverly on August 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Love this! I just told my running coach yesterday that if I could write while running I would have the best content ever and more of it! I get my best ideas while running. Sometimes I will even pick an topic to think about while running and at least come up with a basic outline. I just struggle with remembering it all and by the time I sit down to actually write I feel like I’m doing double the work. Wonder if this will work while moving at 7 mph? Thanks for a great post!



    • Nathalie Lussier on August 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      I get my best ideas while running/walking/moving too! So glad this was useful. :)



  20. Taylor on September 7, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Hi Nathalie
    Great article and very helpful. I’m curious what kind of case you use for your iphone. I have a lifeworks case and I find it impedes the sound when recording or on calls.
    thanks



  21. Nadine on October 20, 2014 at 11:13 am

    If I didn’t have my notes app on my phone .. I think my mind would melt. Not only does that tip help with my writing & titles, it calms my everyday life too. Good info!



  22. Tamara on February 5, 2015 at 7:35 am

    I have three kids and spend a lot of time driving them places. I’ve been using Voice Recorder on my iPhone to capture blog posts for awhile now. Some of my best thinking and writing happens while driving! I wasn’t aware of the transcription software you mentioned, so have been transcribing by hand. Thanks for the great tips!



  23. Annette on March 9, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Natalie

    I wrote/dictated a blog post on Evernote just last week and found it cut my time in half rather than writing a post.

    I’m downloading the Dragon Ap as I type and will also check out the Mac Speech scribe too, thanks for the tips!

    Annette



  24. nayar ali on April 22, 2015 at 5:28 am

    I love this advice, as its something that i do myself and is working for me too!
    I started using Dragon dictation, as i love the sound of my own voice haha Just kidding. I had a lot of redundant moments where i could be doing productive work so i figured why not use those times to dictate my blog posts, so thats what i do.
    Thanks for the info Natalie.
    Nayar



  25. Kelly Garrett on October 21, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Oooh, a book. Congrats! Can’t wait to read that one. I’ve tried dictating a few times. Have to get more comfortable with it because there were a lot of long pauses and ummms while I tried to find the right words.