Writers have often been given the advice that if they’re running into writer’s block, that they should change their perspective. This can mean any one of a number of things:
- If you’re reading the newspaper trying to get ideas, watch TV or turn on the radio.
- If you’re in the study room, go to another room, or even take a walk outside. If you’re outside, go to the library.
- If you’re typing on the computer, pull out a pencil and notepad.
You get the idea. Another option that has worked well for me in the past, especially when I’m trying to capture my natural voice, is voice recording. This is great for some types of blogs, and it’s often easier to capture ideas on a voice recorder.
In fact, most of this entry was done on my PalmOne Treo 650, through a combination of voice recording and some cryptic notetaking. The rough edtion was punched into the native mini-keyboard. To save time, I left out most of the vowels. Here’s an example of what I typed in, errors and all:
this works very well for me. One example of this tchnq is to chg rms. Or turn on the tv, or rdo dpndng on wht yr dng rt nw. Or if yr wrtng on paper, start typng. Or recording yr vce. As I’m wrtng ths, I’m at my fve chnse bfft. I didn’t wnt to lse the idea, so I plld out my treo.
You can probably decipher most of it, but basically I’m saying that I was at my fave Chinese buffet and got the idea for this post, and a couple of others. So as not to bother other diners, I didn’t do any recording until I was outside. The redundancy of text and voice helps me when I’m procrastinating later on in the day: two reminders that I must finish the blog entry.
Any voice recorder will do, provided that you have an easy way to replay your recordings over and over while transcribing. When I ran my print magazine, I always had several mini-dictation type recorders on hand for my interviewers. I also kept 2 in my car so that while I was out doing distribution or ad sales, or even just driving (not recommended), I wouldn’t lose a great idea.
While I still have a box of recorders, I’m much preferring using Ryan Rife’s free SoundRec program on my Treo 650. While spare on features, it turns my Treo into a reasonable sound recorder, which, surprisingly, is not a native function. In fact, when I read the PalmOne site’s specs for the Treo 650, I saw no mention of being able to easily record voice memos despite the device having a microphone. SoundRec makes it simple. Although, to my disappointment, the Treo doesn’t have a high enough signal-to-noise ratio to warrant using the recordings for podcasts. (For that, I use my low-hum desktop computer with a microphone and the OpenSource Audacity recording software.)
Still, this recording technique, along with a bit of text, helps me jog my memory later, when I actually sit down to post the final version of the blog entry. Overall, I get writing done than when I work without it.
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