Gadgets for writers don’t always have to involve getting words directly onto paper or a computer screen. Another useful tool that you might like to consider introducing to your workflow is a digital voice recorder, which will allow you to record speech, conversations and whatever else you’d like at the touch of a button.
A digital voice recorder is an obvious tool for journalists and other writers who need a reliable way of recording interviews, meetings and other events for later reference, but it can also be extremely useful in several other ways.
To start with, a digital voice recorder can be used to record voice memos when you don’t have the opportunity or inclination to jot things down in an old-school notebook. Although many smartphones allow you to record voice memos, the resulting audio files can be quite large, and having a dedicated device in your pocket to use specifically for the purpose is a good way of keeping all of your notes in one place without worrying too much about storage space.
Those of you who drive on a regular basis can take voice memos whilst on the move by using an external clip microphone on your seatbelt, which would make it possible for you to turn your passive driving time into active thinking time. You could work through plot problems, brainstorm blog and article ideas and record your ruminations simply by speaking aloud. Of course, a similar approach could be taken when you are working out or carrying out simple chores.
When the habit of thinking aloud has been established, you might even want to go further and consider actually dictating some of your work. Decades ago, quite a few writers would lean back, close their eyes and dictate the first drafts of their work to a secretary, who would then return with a transcribed version in manuscript form. You may not want to get a secretary to do that, but you could experiment with dictating your work using a digital voice recorder, and then running the resulting audio files through reliable dictation software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Dictating your work is a subject in itself, so those of you who would like to explore it in further detail may want to look at the following books:
If the idea of introducing a digital voice recorder to your working routine is one that appeals to you, then there are plenty to choose from. I would recommend a device with ample storage, long battery life, the ability to record in MP3 format and external microphone compatibility. The Sony PX370 Digital Voice Recorder ticks all of those boxes and more besides, so it one that we recommend highly.
Few writers will use their voice as their primary writing tool, but as a supplementary one it can be extremely useful, and should help to boost your productivity by leaps and bounds.