Voice transcription to free creative expression when you can’t write (+ 4 tips to access flow)

woman smiling while sitting, phone in front of her, voice transcription

There may be many reasons why you can’t write at the moment…

  • You don’t have time.
  • You’re not inspired.
  • You’re in the shower.
  • Your pens ran out of ink.
  • You’re on a work computer without access to a private document.
  • You’re out of practice–it’s been so long you don’t know how to start.
  • Your cat, dog, or other pet is asleep in your lap (or laying across your keyboard).
  • You have an upper body injury or condition that prevents you from being able to write.

Your reasons could be perfectly valid.  Luckily, there are other methods to express yourself creatively when you’re not up to writing.

One such method is voice transcription.

Voice transcription is well suited for multiple purposes.

It shines the most when you have something to say but don’t have the time to capture it. This way, you won’t have as much to clean up when you’re editing the transcription.

It also works when you don’t quite know what you’re going to say and have time to weed the transcription to uncover the jewel.

It’s great for first drafts. You might even try poetry, or brain dumps when you want to talk through ideas. Or simply a memo to remember an idea later.

Two successful ways I’ve used voice transcription:

Google documents through phone (it can’t be accessed through the computer).

The app Otter.ai, which lets you both record your voice and see the transcription.

Both are free.  Otter has a paid version.  There are also tons of other voice-to-text apps out there.

Tips for using voice transcription to access resonance and flow through your words

  1. Listen to the quality of your voice’s sound.

You may start off a bit shaky or creaky when you start speaking with doubt.  As you grow more certain, you’ll be able to hear your levels of confidence rise and your voice sound smoother and fuller. 

When you hear the strength in your voice, this is an indicator you’re speaking more from your heart / gut / inner wisdom.

  1. Pay attention to your body when you speak for how you feel.  

    You might feel the sensation of speaking from higher in your body, like your face or throat.  This contrasts with speaking from the belly and chest.

    Also be open to feelings of contraction and expansion. 

The sense of expansion and speaking from a resonant lower place in your body are both signs of accessing your deeper truth.

  1. Make use of hand gestures as you’re speaking.

    By watching your hands move, you can gain insight through movement and metaphor for what you’re trying to say.

    Use your hands to shape your ideas in the air as you speak. You might find that you get stuck less often while you’re talking when you move your hands. Hand gestures can help you transition more seamlessly from one idea to the next. 

    Read more about this in the book The Extended Mind by Annie Murphy Paul.
  1. Engage your senses; don’t just watch the words appear on the screen. 

    Take in the sights around you and make use of the environment as inspiration.  Let yourself walk around the room, sway, or make circles with your body as you talk.

I’ve had times when using voice transcription provided such ease in cutting through excuses and challenges around writing, it almost felt like cheating. 

But why take the harder route when there’s a simpler one available?  Voice transcription might become a welcome addition to your regular writing habits.

Have you used voice transcription when you’re struggling to write or just as an addition to writing longhand or typing? 

I’d love to hear what has worked for you, what apps you use, or what your challenges are with using voice transcription instead of writing.