I Got Into a Fight With Speech Recognition Software – Weekly Blog Post #2

My girlfriend is in the bathroom dying her hair. All she can hear from the living room is me shouting at… Well, no one! How embarrassing! Okay, okay. I bet you’re asking now, how did this happen? How did I get into the situation where, on Friday night, I’m sitting on my own shouting at my computer?!

First, let’s answer the most basic question:

What is Speech Recognition?

Speech recognition is a feature built into computers and phones which converts your voice into commands that your computer/phone can understand.

It’s really handy for writers, because it allows you to talk instead of type. It’s a quicker method of getting work done!

Anyway! This isn’t a response post, so let’s get back on subject. As my client base is picking up, I decided to turn to speech recognition to be able to write faster, but it didn’t work for me! When I set-it up, Windows said to me it worked best with a British accent, so I was feeling pretty confident it was the way forward. I plugged my microphone in, I completed the training prompt, I opened Word and started talking…

Spelling error, spelling error, spelling error, spelling error.

It’s okay, the software learns! That’s how speech recognition sells itself. So, I completed more training. I went through correcting every mistake by speaking commands instead of using the keyboard, but still, after an hour I had written about a paragraph. On keyboard, I can normally write so much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about speech recognition and this isn’t a post where I say, “Hey! Don’t use it! It doesn’t work!” I know it takes training; I know it’s an investment. Yet for me, last night, it was just frustrating. I can already picture my girlfriend in the bathroom wincing as I got more and more annoyed at it.

Though for freelance writing, I don’t think typing on a keyboard can cut it. I really don’t. To be successful at it, you have to be fast. The keyboard restricts me, it hurts my hands, it’s a one-way ticket to carpal tunnel. So I’ll keep training the speech recognition software, I’ll start talking like a radio presenter and in a few months, my friend’s won’t have any trouble understanding me because my best friend will have become my computer. In the meantime, it’s more cringing for my girlfriend as I suffer through it.

Here’s an experiment of how bad I’ve got it. I’m going to say,

“I want to get better and quicker at freelancing, so I’m using speech recognition.”

I’m not going to correct anything. Here we go:

I would get better and quicker 3¢@these in speech recognition

Right?! One sentence, which admittedly didn’t turn out that bad. I’ve seen worse and I’ve learned some pretty interesting rhymes. I can correct that pretty easily. But if I’m working through paragraphs and paragraphs. To me, it just isn’t worth it.

So that’s how I spent my Friday night, in 2020, amidst the pandemic. Not getting on with speech recognition software! In the end, I went back to typing. I do hope to train it, I do. I have to slow down before I get faster.

And that can be applied to anything, right? Life is a learning curve and nobody is good at anything overnight. The speech recognition isn’t good at understanding you in one go, just as I didn’t get into freelancing after one sitting. I still struggle with it now. I’m getting clients, I have a hit list of articles waiting to be done, but I am also in my writing course, I’m also trying to write a novel. Time management isn’t easy. On the one side, I don’t want to disappoint my clients, but on the other side I don’t want my novel to escape me.

I’m pretty sure I touched upon that in my last blog, where I said you need a decent schedule. My clients take priority, they’re paying customers, but when I’m off work: an hour of freelance, an hour of my novel, an hour of my course. That’s the dream.

Yet if I burn myself out, then all of a sudden, my hobby becomes a chore. Another issue we touched upon in the last blog post. You gotta take breaks.

Speech recognition, I need you!

I can listen to music, talk to my computer like I’m talking to an old chum, freak out my girlfriend and make bags of cash! Perfect!

It’s so amazing, I’ve been learning more and more every single day since I launched my career seriously. I thought I knew the ropes of freelancing, I thought I had to sit at a computer, type tons and that was it. Essentially, it is. Yet like any other job, you have to balance time, you have to know how to be efficient and you need to be able to produce high quality content. So, what’s changed since my last blog post? I’ve been trying to do just that. Writing is one thing, but writing fast is another.

And that’s why I hope these blog posts help. I’m not spending a lot of time on them. I’m not correcting them. I’m giving an avenue for my customers to see I’m actually a bad writer–

I’m human, I mean. A well piece is crafted, like a work of art. But as you earn experience you learn to craft pieces more quickly. It takes practice. This, for me, is practice. It’s a way to talk to you guys, to allow you to make fun of my failures and to bless my successes.

I’m sorry typo in this article. I’m not correcting you today. Nor am I correcting the wrong use of grammar that no doubt crept its way int.

This is a human article written by a human being. Straight from my brain and into yours.

I hope you enjoyed!

Hang on, this blog post is only 982 words before this point!

Yeah, you got it: word count is important in blog posts. Google mark anything less than 300 words light on content and so that’s bad for SEO. Yet, 900 words for a blog post...it’s still a little short!

And just like that, we’ve discovered another difficulty in writing! Word counts!

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not exploring that this week. But come back next week and we’ll dive in to why word count is important! We’ll also catch-up on whatever successes and difficulties I may face in the upcoming 7-days.

(Here’s hoping for more of the former, eh)

See you then! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by email if you want notifications sent directly to you!

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