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Alright, so right off the bat I want to say that I’m writing this blog post way differently than I usually do. In fact I’m not writing it at all. You see, earlier this week I read a forum post on the Kindle boards where people were starting to try using Dragon Natural Speech again to write their books. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a program that you can dictate stuff to and whatever you say it will transcribe. The thing is, though, that pretty much everyone sounds a little different and pronounces things differently. I mean, there are so many accents out there. So what you have to do with Dragon is basically train it. That’s right you have to train your Dragon. There are few ways to do that. The first one, and one thing that it makes you do when you first start out, is to read some sample books. Well, not the whole book. Just excerpts. So I read some chapters from Alice in Wonderland, 2001 a space Odyssey, and some business book about computers that was supposed to be funny but really wasn’t. Even after all that, it wasn’t very accurate. And really it still isn’t. The other way is to write things like this and when the program gets something wrong you tell it that you want to ‘train that‘. Doing this brings up this box and it has you say the phrase or word again how you normally would. It’s supposed to learn from this. It’s pretty good in that respect, too, even with the words that aren’t normal words. Like for example in Kayla’s book she has a character named Mathias. I was reading some of her book to train this and it kept thinking I was saying mass yes or math yes. It was kind of frustrating but it only took correcting it one or two times before it learned that Mathias is a word I say and is not a misspelling or such. So anyway, my main reason for training this program… well, my two main reasons, are these. Firstly, I’ve had this thing for almost a year. I got it super super cheap and just never really used it. Secondly, I think it might help using this to write out the beats for my wife’s and my stories. You see, usually what I do is walk around the room and dictate story ideas as they come to Kayla who then types them in. A lot of times I have so many ideas flowing in that I have to pause so that Kayla can catch up with typing. Obviously normal speech and talking is way faster than typing. And doing that takes up both of our time. So I figured if I can get this well-trained and I can learn to use it better, it will make the process a lot faster and easier for both of us. At the moment I don’t think I’ll use it to type my books just because I kind of like that process for some reason. But who knows, it may get to that point. So anyway that was kind of a long intro to this blog post, but now I have a good excuse if anything is wrong in it – I can just blame Dragon.

 

So the main reason I’m writing this blog post isn’t to tell you about training my Dragon, it’s to let you know what I’ve been up to. Looking at my blog, it is hard to believe that it was early November the last time I made a post. It was about video games and was right before we went to Blizzcon. So much stuff has happened since then which is the reason I haven’t been making more posts here. So after that post, we went to California and did the whole Blizzcon thing as well as went to Disney’s California adventure. Both of those were really fun of course. Kayla and I both got to see some of our friends for the first time a long while, which was awesome. When we got back from our long drive we picked up our daughter (who had just turned four two weeks before the trip) and finally headed home. Apparently while she was gone she picked up a bug somewhere (a sick/virus bug I mean) which surfaced the very next day. We tried our best not to get it, but that’s pretty hard because someone her age needs closely taken care of when they have a bad cold or whatever. So of course Kayla ended up getting sick. Then, when she was starting to feel better, I got it. Mine got pretty bad, too. I had a fever and all that good stuff. I was even completely stuck in bed for a couple days. Then, as I was finally starting to get better, Emily, who was almost over it, picked it up again. And that time was even worse than the first. Her fever got up to 104.9. So that was scary. During all the sick stuff we ended up missing Thanksgiving. Which, I guess, wasn’t that big of a deal. We sort of had our own mini – giving afterward. Also, after we were all better, we ended up going to Kayla’s grandparents house and having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (with ham instead of turkey, of course).

 

Aside from all that I’ve had a ton of work to do over on the publishing site and with Kayla’s books. In fact, we should be releasing her next book in about a week. Always exciting. I also worked a bit on a free box set of books during the last couple months. Oh, and I almost forgot… well not really… I’ve started new podcast!

 

As a lot of you reading this might already know, a few months ago I began co-hosting a pretty popular self–publishing podcast called The Self–Publishing Roundtable. Well, about a week and a half ago, Lindsay (the other new host to the show) and I learned that Trish had decided to stop podcasting. So that meant that if Lindsay and I continued on with SPRT there would be no more original hosts left on the show with us. We could’ve definitely done that, but it just seemed sort of weird. I loved being on the show, but it just didn’t seem like two newcomers should continue on with it on their own. So she and I talked and decided that we did want to continue podcasting and thus The Writing Podcast was born. I’m super excited for the new show and how we will have better control over content and schedule. I won’t go much more into it on here as far as what the show is gonna be about and what not. I’ve already made that post on the podcast website. You can check that out by clicking HERE. I will say though that our first show is this Friday, December 19th at 2 PM Mountain time.

 

Because I wanted the sound quality on my end to be better on this podcast I decided to pick up a professional podcasting microphone. And, luckily, it just so happened to be that a microphone exactly like what I needed came up as one of the Amazon Black Friday deals. So I ended up getting a $200 microphone for like $70. That’s actually what I’m using right now to dictate this. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to need to get one of those pop filter things or a shock mount or what not but I do know that his microphone is definitely 100 times better than the one I was using before.

 

Alright, so this post took a lot longer to dictate than it would have for me to just type. This dragon thing is definitely not trained to the point I need it at yet. I have to verbally go back and correct a lot of stuff still. I’m going to keep dedicating some time, though, and see if I can get it to a point where at least dictating story beats is much faster. Oh, one more thing, I’ve been thinking about making some YouTube videos just in order to get a little bit more comfortable being on camera in front of people. I found that even just on the old podcasting show I would sometimes get nervous at the thought. Which is silly, because I’m nothing like that in person. It’s weird, I get sort of rigid on camera and just not myself. I’m not sure yet if I’m really gonna make any videos, but I’m seriously considering it. Even if they’re just nothing and no one watches them. That’s fine. That’s not the point at all. I just don’t know if I’ll have the time though. Kayla and I both have some big plans for the new year and they leave very little time to add more stuff on top. More on that later. 🙂

 

Okay, first post written with Dragon completed. Now to go back and read it and see just how badly the editing was!

 

As always, thanks for reading.