A Writer’s Tool Box: Voice Dictation Software & Where To Begin Your Memoir

Recently I received several emails asking about voice dictation software, methods or tools for organizing thoughts on writing a memoir.

Many people begin a memoir by speaking their ideas into voice memos on the iPhone, writing in a journal or joining a memoir writing course for inspiring writing prompts, structure and story-telling skills.

I don’t use voice dictation software but I do use voice memos on the iPhone to:

  • tell myself stories
  • explore images, metaphors and ideas
  • read out loud, edit, revise scenes and chapters

Listening helps me edit and hear what’s authentic.

Here’s a New York Times article on dictation software: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-dictation-software/.

To begin accessing and organizing your memoir: : 

1. Sit down. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Allow yourself to go inside. Breathe and write an intention in your notebook like:

I allow myself to explore ideas for my memoir. 

2. Create a list: The Major Changes In My Life – moments of change from childhood to adulthood and what age you were when those changes occurred.

3. Set the timer again for another 25 minutes. Choose one moment – a scene – that has the most tension or conflict. A key moment of vulnerability. Where are you? What time of year is it? What do you see, hear, smell, taste or touch in that scene? Start with one scene, one image in mind, as if you’re seeing the movie of your life. Images help us access story. Story is born from a specific place and time. What are you yearning for in that scene? What do you want? 

We start with a small picture frame around a precious moment; one scene. A memoir is a series of scenes and summaries on the page.

Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep showing up to write.

I look forward to supporting you.

Jennifer Schelter

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