Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Vital Elements for a Writer…

February 7, 2013

Metacarpus – definition: the five bones between the wrist and the fingers and thumb.

The metacarpus (of the right hand) is the inte...

The metacarpus (of the right hand) is the intermediate part of the hand skeleton that is located between the fingers distally and the carpus which forms the connection to the forearm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I saw today’s word I was a bit stumped as to what to write. Then it occurred to me that our hands, as writers, are essential. Whether we are writing with pen and paper or typing on a keyboard, without our hands we would loose a vital element for our creativity.

Many of us have piles of notebooks or folders on our hard discs – pieces of inspiration, character sketches or plot formats – so if we could not transcribe them in the old fashioned way, how would we? There are a few options although they are probably not in everyone’s financial capabilities!

1. A secretary to type as you dictate – I have to admit I daydreamed a bit here…

2. Invest in new technology. There are voice activated computers now-a-days and a couple of software packages I found  were Dragon Dictate,  Dragon Naturally Speaking or WordQ.

Strangely enough I actually had a conversation about these systems at the weekend with a couple of writer friends, who indeed have purchased them. From what I can gather  you have to spend quite some time enabling the system to recognize your voice. However, once that stage is complete it is all about learning how to ‘enter’ your script. Not only do you have to speak the words but also instruct the system to include all the commas, periods and paragraph breaks. When I asked what happens when someone else enters the room, the TV blares or the telephone rings – both writers announced it was best to switch off the microphone. If not there would be a stream of odd characters flooding the page. So be warned no quick conversations when you are hooked up, unless your conversation can be embedded into your work in progress.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My train of thought then went to the famous and great. Some great artists have lost a vital physical element which impacted on their art. For me it is Beethoven losing his hearing and using vibrations to compose. One write,r whose accomplishment is astounding is Helen Keller. A high fever at nearly two years of age robbed her of her sight and hearing but with great dedication she wrote her autobiography, publishing The Story of My Life (1903) and Midstream: My Later Life (1929) as well as publishing several other books, including The Practice of Optimism (1903, 1915), My Religion (1927), and Teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy: A Tribute by the Foster Child of her Mind (1955).

Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven when composing t...

Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No matter what life throws at us it can be overcome with determination, so scribble and type to your hearts content. Your words are a gift and should be shared.

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