Procrastinate? Me?

My good friend Lorraine Mace publishes a regular monthly column in Writing Magazine, and in the latest issue she details her efforts to do without the internet in order to improve productivity.

Writers are great procrastinators. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I’m a writer and there are times when I will do anything to get out of putting pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard.

This is especially true when I’m bogged down in a story and I don’t know where it goes next. I’ve been known to wash the car rather than carry on working, and I NEVER wash the car. Why should I? It goes just as fast with the muck on it.

Unlike Lorraine, I don’t have friends with farms in the wilderness outside Dublin: farms that don’t have internet access. My sister in law has a farm/riding school, but it’s in a residential area on the outskirts of Manchester, and she has full internet access, so it’s hardly the same thing.

Just lately, however, I found my own anti-procrastination device: speech recognition software.

If you are a regular follower of this blog (if not, why not?) you’ll be aware of my recent trials with this program. I’m using it more and more, and right now I’m working on a STAC Mystery which, when it’s finished, will have been 99% produced using speech recognition.

So how does this help with the problem of procrastination?

The simple answer is, it drives me nuts. Even my dog (RIP, Joe) could understand basic words like ‘sit’. He would never have assumed that I was giving him a command to select all the text on the screen.

The software’s capacity for misunderstanding outshines even my wife’s ability to jump to the wrong conclusion, and she is a master (or mistress) of the art.

The upshot of all this is (or ‘these years’ according to the program) I’m plodding along, churning out the words, and constantly pausing to go back and correct errors the machine has made, and this is the equivalent of going out to wash the car when I don’t know which way the plot’s going.

For a crumbling, arthritic old git like me, speech recognition is a theoretical godsend but in practical terms it’s more like the fastest route to insanity.

And it’s not as if I wasn’t heading in that direction before speech recognition…


Lorraine Mace writes children’s books and nonfiction under her real name. Learn more at

She also produces the hard-boiled, DI Paolo Storey, crime fiction. More information at:


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