5 Voice Tools That Will Help You Write Better — Without a Keyboard

by | Feb 4, 2014

Writers are constantly looking for the best software to manage their creations.

People experiment and switch off between writing tools that add more features and some that declutter the workspace to promote creativity.

However, while the average person types at 50 to 80 words per minute, that same person produces 110 to 150 words per minute when speaking. Why not consider a writing tool that keeps your hands off the keyboard and puts your voice to work? (Click to tweet this idea.)

Let’s explore five tools that let you manage your ideas and write full articles and stories without even touching a keyboard.

Windows Speech Recognition

Ideas can pop into your head at any time, whether you’re doing the laundry or eating lunch. Take advantage of them!

Start writing at a faster rate, with more freedom to move around and complete other tasks by using Windows Speech Recognition software. This  software is surprisingly accurate and it picks up on your own personal speaking subtleties. Newer Windows computers come with the Windows Speech Recognition software included.

Dragon Speech Recognition

Dragon Speech Recognition is the top speech recognition option for Mac users. It’s not free like Windows Speech Recognition, but it blows any other dictation software out of the water. Narrate your book into the microphone and watch it magically appear on screen. A PC version is also available.


It’s no secret that writers find inspiration in different locations. A handy notebook or camera works wonders for writers on the move.

However, these pieces of inspiration take a little more work to transfer into actual writing. Pictures and drawings are not words, so they need to be efficiently transferred into words. Log all your photos and sketches in Evernote and spend a period of time every week describing them. You could easily place one of these descriptions in a story or article.

In addition, Evernote offers a speech-to-text feature, which comes in handy when you’re on the move and need to jot down an idea, talk out a chapter, or run through lines of dialogue.

Download the application and include the widget on your homescreen to get a one-click capture of your thoughts. Go back to your computer later and export this piece of material to the word processor of your choice.


Optical character recognition is a form of software that scans hardcopy documents and converts them into editable documents for Microsoft Word and other processors. You may not be able to write a novel with OmniPage or other OCR software, but how many times have you held a hard copy document with no way to digitize it?

Cut out magazine articles and paste quotes or segments directly into your computer. Maybe you wrote a story back in the day and the only copy you have is the one folded into a time capsule. Dust off that story and convert it into a document for editing.


Livescribe is about as state-of-the-art as any writer can get right now. The Livescribe 3 pen allows you to jot down notes with a real pen that transmits ink to the page while still capturing a digital version of the text on your iPad or iPhone. You can then convert your notes into editable text to plug right into your article or story.

In essence you get four versions of your notes in one swoop: written on the notepad, written on the application, converted to type and you can also record your voice while writing for quick reference. The only problem with Livescribe? It doesn’t work on Androids yet.

The world is filled with places and opportunities that offer inspiration and motivation. Cut down on the process of transferring handwritten notes to your computer. Write faster and multitask by moving beyond the keyboard.

Are there any other ways to write more efficiently than with a keyboard?