From amateur writer to accomplished author with speech recognition software

For non-fiction writer Joe Holt, penning his first book was a daunting affair – he wrote it by hand and then re-typed it on his computer. This two-year process almost kept him from writing again. That was until he discovered Dragon speech recognition; instead of taking pen to paper again, he began to speak his thoughts. As he continued to master Dragon, Holt drafted two books in just THREE days using nothing more than his voice. Now he’s an accomplished writer of three books with a fourth in production, and he just finished developing a fifth, and continues to do of all this writing using Dragon and his voice. Read Joe’s story.

By Joe Holt
Posted May 23, 2016
Author Joe Holt writes books using Dragon speech recognition software
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I’ve been a writer since I was very young. In fact, long before I wrote my first book I won an employee Valentine’s Day poetry contest while working for Harrah’s Casino in San Diego. I even remember winning a poetry contest in elementary school. The poem was about the peace that I felt as a child when walking through the forest, listening to nature. I have come a long way since then and my transition into becoming a non-fiction writer is something that, believe it or not, happened completely by accident.

It was 2011 and I had just moved to Hawaii to renew my sense of self and purpose when I wrote my first book, “Aloha Joe in Hawaii: ‘A guided journey of self-discovery and Hawaiian adventure’.” At the time, I was writing by hand with pen and paper, which I felt was easier than typing on a computer. It took me a full year to write my first book by hand and another full year to type it on a computer. With that much time invested, I believed that there had to be a better and more efficient way to write.

Soon after, I had just purchased a new computer and heard about this new technology called “voice recognition software.” I was really excited to hear about this and after doing some research, I settled on purchasing Dragon Naturally Speaking. It took me a little time to get the commands down and for the software program to adapt to my voice. To speed this process up, I would read a few books aloud with the software turned on. I still remember when I told my kids about my experience trying the software for the first time. Of course, they just laughed at me because apparently they had already been using this technology for several years at school.

Up until that point, I had been taking notes for a number of years on other topics that I wanted to write about, but since it had taken me so long to type the first book, I couldn’t imagine how long it would take for me to type up all of this new information. But after playing with Nuance’s Dragon Software, I decided to find out just how much faster I could produce my second book. The short answer is: three days.

When I gave the finished book to my editor she was pleasantly surprised. After going through everything that I had “composed” in those three days, she figured out that I had actually created enough material for not one, but TWO books! My second book, published in 2014, was titled: “Stories I Can’t Tell My Kids – Yet.” And the third, “Your Brain is the Key to the Universe: A Comprehensive Guide to Manifesting Your Ideal Reality and World Harmony,” was recently up for a Pulitzer Prize in the General Non-Fiction category this year. It is in this book that I reflected on many current issues and also wrote about my experience using Dragon software.

I really do owe Nuance a debt of gratitude for pushing the research needed to advance this field. I am a disabled Marine veteran and I have had many injuries in my life, including disabilities in my hands, fingers, wrists, and more. Dragon software has allowed me to realize my dreams of becoming a published author.

About Joe Holt:
Joe Holt (aka Aloha Joe) is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, artist, photographer and life coach. He is the author of Aloha Joe in Hawaii: “A guided journey of self-discovery and Hawaiian adventure” (August 5, 2013), Stories I Can’t Tell My Kids – Yet (August 11, 2014), Your Brain is the Key to the Universe (March 4, 2015). Holt’s fourth-coming book, Godfather of Fisherman’s Wharf, is currently in production, and he just finished his fifth book, a fictional children’s story entitled “Gordy the Ferret.” Both were developed using Dragon Naturally Speaking. Click here to learn more about Joe Holt.