Back in January was taking care of Maggie two weekdays a week and needed to be able to write for one of my blogging gigs, as such I started using Dragon NaturallySpeaking thinking that if I couldn’t sit at a keyboard and type that I’d at least be able to dictate. I was wrong.
What I first realized was that Dragon NaturallySpeaking required me to be in a set location with my setup. If I moved my head around a lot with a stationary meh microphone the recognition quality went down.
If you’re attempting to parent, that probably means you’re not going to be sitting still for more than a minute at a time.
Besides that, every squeal from my baby would result in either the next word missing or being incorrect. Background human noise didn’t work so well. So I thought I’d try with a bluetooth noise cancelling headset I had. No.
Besides that it didn’t drown out babbling from Maggie, it also was a blinking target on the side of my head that attracted a baby monster intent on ripping off the headset.
Quite simply, there was no way I could figure with actively watching a baby to properly give her the attention she needed and blog for my gig, so I abandoned that idea and moved on to writing when she slept.
Unfortunately it takes a few minutes to get into writing mode for me. I have to sit down, get started, organize thoughts, make a layout, and what was happening was that at some point during the ramp-up there would be a distraction, a cat, or a wakeup.
When you don’t know if you can write for 30 minutes or two hours you don’t know what you can accomplish. What this lead to was a significant number of shorter than expected pieces, and many things that would have been breaking news turning into “hey this happened yesterday.”
The only option was to work at night, after people were asleep, and alternating days when I didn’t have her. I gave up on Dragon, mostly because talking in the middle of the night when your computer is 12 feet from the bed and your sleeping wife didn’t work for me.
Trying it on the laptop it was ok, but the laptop’s screen size and speed was an annoying factor. Dragon would catch everything, but you could watch it type out from 20 words back sometimes and I kept waiting for it to catch up. Due to the processor requirements, it seemed the laptop was unable to be a decent target.
In the end, I found no way to work with baby without either massive incorrectly gathered audio (due mostly to baby and my inability to give Dragon the time it neded,) or feeling that I was letting baby or the readers of what I was writing down.
I don’t have a tech solution. It could have been a great one if I could have kept muting the audio (my headset didn’t have it, I think this one would have fared better,) and wandered around trusting Dragon and my overburdened laptop to handle it, but I eventually decided to just not bother writing when Maggie was up and playing.
I think it probably can be done, but it takes shifting gears and serious post editing, or maybe just a mute option on the headset, so for all the blogger who manage taking care of a kid full time and blogging during their waking hours, you’re either a much better multitasker than I am, or I judge you harshly for your putting baby second.