I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not all that tech savvy. I’d like to think that once upon a time I was pretty up to date on things, but more often than not, I’m asking my nine year old for help in using my phone, Kindle or computer. I could probably turn on one of their game systems if I had to, but how to actually work one- clueless! Same way with the TV. I don’t even attempt to use the remote, because it’s a little more than my pea brain can handle. It’s much easier to walk over and hit the button and much faster in my book.
My laptop is tenish years old and I can’t say that I really desire a new one. I’m kind of partial to it. We work well together and honestly, I’ll probably cry when it finally goes down. I know it’s a computer and easily replaceable, but it was also a gift that still means a whole lot to me. I had wanted to get back into writing, but at the time, the only computer my husband and I had, was a desktop. On top of it being old and slow, we also had to share it, which wasn’t all that handy when I had the urge to write and he was online playing a game or surfing the net. Unfortunately, buying another computer wasn’t in the budget with a new baby in the house. In conversation one day, I mentioned my dream of writing to my mom and told her that I was even considering going back to school to take some creative writing classes. My mom is one of those people that no matter how far fetched mine or my sisters ideas are, she always encourages them. I’m sure when I told her I wanted to write, she never thought it would produce anything more than a girls ramblings, but that didn’t stop her from going out and buying me a laptop so that I could give it a try. Top of the line for it’s time, I’m sure she could have put the money she spent to good use on something else. But that’s just how my mom is- she’s always put what my sister and I wanted before her own needs and it was her gift of a laptop that made my dream of becoming a writer happen. So, yeah, I love that thing, even though, it’s dated and the battery no longer charges and must be plugged in to work.
But getting back to my less than being up to date on technology. I’m slightly embarrassed- okay maybe I’m really not- to say that I didn’t have an up to date Word program on my laptop until recently. My laptop came with Microsoft Works, which is a discontinued, smaller, and less expensive program that offered fewer features than Microsoft Office. It had all the basics, which was fine with me because all I needed it to do was type words. I didn’t need all that fancy smancy stuff. Or did I? Actually I didn’t, at least not yet. All of my writing up until this year was done on Microsoft Works. That’s right, I used the basic of basics to write my debut book. There was no track changes, or find and replace. I didn’t have that nifty number down at the bottom to tell me how many words I’d written and I won’t even get into the file formats. When I took an editing workshop, I had to do most of the lessons during my lunch break or after work, so that I could use my work PC because it had the most updated Word program. Yeah, I was using it at work, but not at home and while I did see how much easier it made writing, I guess I’m too much like my momma at times. I just couldn’t break down and buy myself a new program when there seemed to be something else that could always use that bit of money.
However, when I recieved that elated email from Crimson Romance saying they wanted to acquire Drive Me Sane, I knew I was going to have to break down and drop some dough. How I ever did without a decent word program, I don’t know. Okay, there is no way I could have done without it, because track changes was a necessity in working with an editor during the editing process.
Book complete and ready to launch , I began transversing the world of marketing and realized that my less than stellar knowledge of technology went much further than electronics. When I started this blog, I had no clue what I was doing, but being a no-name and knowing that I wasn’t going to make much off my royalties, I was determined not to fork out money to have someone design a page for me. I’ve learned the basics, but there are some things that I haven’t yet mastered and would like to do. I’m considering a facelift if/when I do publish another book and will probably look into hiring a service to help me with that.
Thanks to Whitney, at Shooting Star’s Reviews, who encouraged me to learn how to make those nifty banners and teasers for a promotional spot on her page. And then when I joined a virtual book party, I was introduced to Hootsuite, which allows you to set up tweets and messages that are automatically sent out at predetermined times. So, I’ve learned a few things and while I still find myself Googling stuff that I see other’s talking about, I’m becoming more comfortable with all the different resources that make being a writer, marketer, etc, easier.
I mentioned my birthday a couple weeks ago. My hubby and boys got me concert tickets to see Tyler Farr and Brantley Gilbert. We celebrated with my mom and sister a few days later. They went in together and got me a box full of Bath and Body Works goodies along with Dragon. No, not that beautiful mythological creature you see above, but the speech recognition software. I had mentioned to my sister that I’d like to have it. I’ve heard other authors say they use it, so I had already checked it out. Mostly I wanted it for the text to speech capabilities. I use a free version I downloaded for proofreading purposes, but the computer generated voices are a bit annoying and don’t flow like a humans. It also doesn’t have a dictation function, which I thought might come in handy.
I honestly haven’t had time to use it much. I took the online tutorial, but with NaNoWriMo going on, I’ve been slaving away each night on that and don’t want to waste time with a new program that I have no idea how to use. It’s definitely going to take some time getting acquainted. I’ve always been on the receiving end of dictations and can transcribe, but actually being the one to dictate is a whole new ballgame. I doubt I will ever use the social medial, email and web surfing functions, but who knows. I’m learning new things every day.
So, do any of you Dragon? Do you like or dislike it? Have any tips or tricks that might be beneficial?