Sitting down may be as bad for you as smoking. We would all like to spend less time sitting down and more time moving, right? And if you are writing a book, you are probably already worrying about what’s going to become of your bum (or is that just me?)
Some might insist that writing is a sedentary occupation. But advances in technology mean it doesn’t have to be. With a few tips, you can write your first draft while you are walking, gardening or having coffee with a friend.
The techniques below work for the first draft, but not for subsequent ones. At some point, we must sit down and work with our words. Even so, we can loosen up our ideas about where we sit. Change it up. Go down to the river, off to the park, over to friends.
Structure First: Stop your Brain Dump Turning into an Ideas Graveyard
I am cautious about the value of a ‘brain dump’. I dumped 50,000 words onto the page in 50 days once, and it was just too messy for me to ever assemble into a book. Since I want you to write your book quickly (so you can get started on the next one), I’m a massive advocate of getting your book structure and your chapter structure clear in your head before you start writing. Once you have done that, feel free to riff away as much as you like for your first draft. If you are walking, jot down the outline of what you want to say written in dot point form and take it with you.
Voice to Text: The Price of this Priceless Feature Falls to Zero
Google Docs has an excellent voice-to-text feature. Download the Google Docs app for your smartphone; you then have a typist in your pocket.
The function is intelligent; once you finish your sentence it will auto-correct mistakes at the beginning so don’t worry about correcting it as you go. Chat away to the flowers or talk into your headset as you walk. Most people will just assume you are on a phone call (where the other person doesn’t get a word in) so you won’t even be branded as the local lunatic. The feature handles Australian accents, which I guess means it’s good with most accents. I’m not sure how it would go if you start to huff and puff during your walk or run. (Let me know.)
Rev.com: Even When It’s Not Perfect, It’s Great
I recommend this app to all my clients (and no, I do not have shares in this company.) I find the service is fast, reasonably accurate and incredibly cheap. Transcription is backbreaking work – harder than cutting sugar cane or picking strawberries. To get it done for a US dollar per minute makes me happy even if it sometimes falls a little short in quality. Transcripts up to 30 minutes are sent back to you within 12 hours.
To get the best results, make sure there is no background noise such as traffic. Our ears are great at screening out background sounds, but the microphone picks it all up. Also, whenever two people are speaking at the same time, the result is zilch.
A New Twist on Catching up for Coffee with a Friend
Have you got a buddy who wants to see you get your book published? They can help you. Buy them a coffee and find a dead quiet corner of the café. Or even better, get a takeaway and go to the park. Now get them to interview you, using either Rev or Google Docs voice to text. Give them the questions but let them ad lib if they want to.
Be sure to stick to a time limit, such as an hour. As soon as your time is up, switch focus to your buddy. Can you help them with a project? Or just ask them lots of questions about how they are. It’s a fun exchange, and they may be fascinated to find out more about your ideas.
Writer Refresh: Change the Way You Write to Have More Fun Writing
You can exercise and write at the same time. Movement fires up our mind and often makes us more reflective and creative. Doing an enjoyable activity while you write doubles your productivity, and writing while exercising makes it more fun. Do you need a little more fun in your life? How about you walk your book.
P.S. Want more? You might like: Why your best ideas are like tricky little leprechauns