Writing takes a lot of work. Moreover, it can significantly damage your hands if you sit and type in front of the computer all day. Dictation, if done well, can help you both avoid wrist and hand pain and improve your writing efficiency.

There are many ways that you can dictate your academic articles.

Google Docs, for instance, has an inbuilt dictation feature. I do not find it that good yet. Apple also has inbuilt dictation; this can be found in the settings section and made active.

I use DragonDictate. It has been a challenge in recent years since Dragon only makes its software for Microsoft Windows. I am a Mac user. I tried Dragon mobile but did not find it as useful as DragonDictate on my personal computer. To address this issue, I decided to purchase a small Windows laptop: An HP, and then just install two pieces of software for dictation.

I bought DragonDictate Professional.
I use the Sublime text editor to do my dictation.

The small profile of my laptop, combined with the standard microphone and the two pieces of software I noted above, make for a sufficiently good quality dictation experience that I can dictate most of my manuscripts on this device.

In addition to these two pieces of software, I have downloaded and installed Dropbox and saved all my dictation files (usually TXT files) in a shared folder on dropbox. This allows me to access my dictated text on any computer.

To make and meet my targets for the number of words I write/dictate every day, I have also installed code on my sublime text editor that counts the number of words.

In fact, the document you are currently reading is dictated.

There are high-quality manuals available to help you dictate better. Two things work well for me.

When I am writing a manuscript, having an outline of the main points I would like to make is extremely useful in improving the quality of my dictation.

Second, enunciating my words and slowing down are also helpful.

Finally, realizing that the first draft of your dictation will not be the final draft is also liberating. Consider your dictation as version 1.0, and your edits throughout several iterations will make this dictation a substantial manuscript.

In some sense, the point of dictation is what I call “getting over the fence.” As a person who writes for a living, the most challenging part is getting started. That is, there is a psychological defense preventing me from starting the writing process. When I dictate, I can get some words (sometimes not very good words) on the page, and this creates enough momentum to get my writing going and put enough words on the page to have a satisfying workday.