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Some days you get the bear

…and sometimes the bear gets you, right? So yesterday I guess the furry critter came out on top. Normally a do-over wouldn’t be something you could count on in a situation of that nature, but hey, we’re only talking about writing here.

Also, I’m only using this title because I really, really enjoyed rereading Lawrence Block’s anthology of the same name recently.

Today was better. My wife had spent the night at her mother’s, see, because that was convenient–but it meant when I woke up early this morning I was alone with the kids. Which also meant I didn’t feel free to go outside and wander around with a voice recorder. Cool! A chance to do better than I did in a similar situation yesterday.

Only this time I was more awake-ful. So I dug out my AlphaSmart Neo. I’ve written about it before, but the main thing is this: it’s a complete little word processor with a very small screen. Kind of a full-sized keyboard, if you’re not too picky about what those words mean. But anyway, it’s almost impossible to do editing on the thing–no mouse or touchpad, by the way–because the screen doesn’t show a lot of text at a time.

I’ve taken things a step farther and downloaded additional fonts for the Neo, including one that claims to be Klingon. This font, I can’t read. It’s just weird symbols on a small screen. Which makes the Neo very very similar in concept to the voice recorder: all I can do is keep going. So that’s what I did this morning. I just kept going.

The upshot of this is that I got some writing done, not via dictation but via a somewhat similar process, and that felt pretty good. I typed away for a little over an hour, and got a bunch of words. Some of them were misspelled of course. Overall, though, the text was cleaner than what I get via dictation and transcription. Not sure why, but I don’t make a lot of typos when I’m watching a story in my brain.

The Neo and the Olympus voice recorder even feel kind of similar. Not just the similarity in writing process: the plastics they’re made of feel as if they’re relics of the same near-forgotten age. By which I mean somewhere in the 1970s to 1980s.

Now, the Neo is kind of old. So that’s okay. (I have two, just in case something happens to one of them, because they’re so cool.) The Olympus on the other hand is brand-new, has a USB dingus, and also takes SD cards. So, not so ancient overall–just in appearance and feel. But what the heck; I like it too.

The only hitch, here? I actually know exactly how many words I got on the Neo, because it will tell me that if I ask. But I guess I’m not going to give you the number yet. Because I wouldn’t be able to with dictation. Besides, the count may be wrong…once I get the text onto a larger screen and fix typos, I’ll have a somewhat more accurate picture.

On the bright side, it is slightly cumbersome to get the words onto a screen. I have to hook up what looks like a printer cable (anybody remember printer cables?) and press “send” on the Neo. If I don’t press that, the Neo actually works as a keyboard. When I do press it, it sends whatever is in the file one character at a time, as if it were a keyboard. So I can view that as conceptually being very similar to dictation and transcription, right? But…with transcription, I give you guys the initial word count from the transcribed file, not the word count after I’ve fixed everything. Because while fixing things, I sometimes add or subtract words. Actually I always do that. And I imagine I’ll do the same thing with the text I typed in the Neo. But if I give you the word count now, what do I do tomorrow?

Oh, what the heck. It was 1139 words. You’re welcome.

Have fun out there!

Yesterday’s dictation count: 0 words
Time spent dictating: 0 minutes
Week to date: 1139 words (via the Neo)
Total words since 1/22/18: 8620

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