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Dictate and Transcribe Audio to Crush Writer's Block

By: Brittany Corners | Published: September 29, 2015


Writer’s block is like insomnia: The more you think about it and struggle with it, the more stubborn and paralyzing it becomes. All the coffee in the world won’t get the ideas flowing again when you know what you want to say, but the words simply aren’t coming, at least to your pen or keyboard.

Try dictating your story into a recording device or your smartphone. Start by describing scenery or telling a character’s backstory just to get talking. Online services can transcribe audio for you quickly and cost-effectively so that you can edit the text into something immediately useful or mine it for ideas later.

Change of Scenery

When you step away from the computer and take in the fresh air of a park or stimulating smells and sounds of a sidewalk cafe with your recorder in hand, two things can happen to help with writer’s block. The change in scenery stimulates your senses to create new ideas and impressions for your story. New surroundings also provide golden opportunities to listen for turns of phrase and interesting observations. When you transcribe audio of these captured snippets, the text can inspire character creation and realistic dialogue.


Another great thing about dictating your story is that you don’t have to be sitting still to do it. New research indicates that long hours of sitting at a computer cause myriad physical problems. Inactivity may stifle the creative flow as well. Get up and move.

Take your recording device on a walk or hike, and describe what you see and hear. Consider what your characters would do in this setting. The oxygen and exercise will recharge your brain and body. Try dictating your story while driving if driving is relaxing for you.

Creative Flow

A final benefit of dictating ideas and phrases is the ability to capture elusive or spontaneous creative thoughts. Tell them to your phone as they arise instead of scrambling for a pen or hoping to remember them later.

Along the same lines, tell your already-written story to your device. Consider the tradition of oral storytelling. Even if a storyteller has told her tale a thousand times, she embellishes and elaborates for each new audience. By dictating the familiar parts of your story, you may come up with new directions or better wording – or even a happy ending. Use services that transcribe audio to make dictation part of your regular writing routine.

Dictation releases creative paralysis. The story you tell your recording device may not be perfect, but it will be words and ideas that you can work with and shape. Use to transcribe audio storytelling into text, and save your creative time for writing and editing.

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