I think I've discovered the key to allow car commuters extra writing time each day. Sure we've all heard of the pocket tape recorder, but how often does that tape recorder transcribe all of your notes for you? Yes, there are digital transcription kits you can buy. And, I'm guessing if I owned a Mac, there is probably "an app" for dictation. But this combination that I've come up with seems to work for me. Now the trick is to keep the kiddos quiet enough when I'm driving the soccer-mom mobile around all day so that my dictations aren't filled with, "He's hitting me." and "He took my juice."
First, download Evernote for your desktop. If you haven't tried Evernote yet, you should. In this program, you can create "notebooks" to hold digital notes, pdf files, and more. When you're surfing the web, you can highlight particularly intersting passages. Press the little green elephant in your browser bar, and the text from the webpage along with a link is automatically sent to Evernote for storage. Receive a great e-mail that you want to save? Forward it to Evernote and it will be filed. You can snap photos and send them to Evernote. Personally, it's been the perfect tool for me in researching my novel - and Christmas gifts to give this year - and keeping everything organized.
You can tag all of your "notes" with keywords so that if you remember a recipe you saved for Crab Bisque but have no idea where you filed it (hopefully in your "recipes" notebook), you can search by keyword "bisque" and it will pull up any tagged messages.
Here's where this gets even more useful. I just signed up for Jott. They have a week-long free trial and then the most basic service is $3.95/month. With this $3.95, you get unlimited 15-second voice-to-text conversions. These dictations are transcribed by Jott and can be sent to your Jott notes. You can also send text messages to friends, reply to e-mails while driving, dictate appointments to your Google Calendar, update your blog, update your Facebook status, sends tweets - all just by calling the Jott phone number and speaking into your phone. You can also take this one step further and download the free Jott app for your iPhone. Then you don't even have to call Jott. You just dictate into your Jott app and tell it where you'd like the jott to go.
I set up the Evernote e-mail address as a contact in Jott. You can also e-mail notes directly to Evernote for filing. I can dictate an e-mail to Jott and it will automatically be placed in my designated Evernote notebook.
I just dictated this message "Now, I'm trying this with Evernote to see if this will work. I'm telling a story about a small boy and his dog who were walking down the road one day. The sun was shinning brightly, and everyone was happy. And, my son is on the floor watching me. " Five minutes later, it appeared in my Evernote files as a digital file. You'll see that "shining" is misspelled, but aside from that, it worked perfectly.
I can speak roughly 50 words in 15 seconds. I was speaking at a normal pace so that the Jott technology wouldn't get confused. If you purchase the Pro-edition of Jott you get unlimited 30 second dictations. So, for a commuter, it would only take 17 dictations to meet their daily NaNoWriMo quota. Get home, open up your Evernote, copy and paste your text into a new document, clean up the punctuation and/or spelling errors if there are any, and you're done writing for the day.
*Just a note, I don't know anyone at Evernote or Jott - and they don't give me money, free services, or even candy. I just like the way their stuff works!