The writing tool New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson can’t live without? The Olympus DS-3500 Professional Dictation System.
Anderson, who has written more than 120 books over the span of his career to date, appreciates the system’s push-button design, takes full advantage of its workflow efficiencies and credits his dictation style of writing with his productivity. The DS-3500’s Olympus Dictation Management Systems Software (ODMS) also allows Anderson to work seamlessly with transcriptionists, who often serve as his first line of editors – they can point out of something he’s written is unclear. And, of course, being a bestselling author, security is of the essence.
The DS-3500 has him covered.
When envisioning a writer’s life, one often draws up visions of the creative working industriously, often exasperatedly, at his or her keyboard, either typing furiously or staring at a blank screen or piece of paper.
Perhaps it’s a time before the advent of the computer, where an author types a few lines before ripping the page from his typewriter, crumpling the sheet and throwing it to a mountain of bad ideas that fell before it next to his desk. Even today, most professional writers are chained to the desk and the keyboard.
But for Kevin J. Anderson, the number-one international bestselling author of more than 120 books, the technique is completely different.
Anderson talks it out. And he’s nowhere near his desk when he does it.
Instead, Anderson, best known for his Dune novels (coauthored with Brian Herbert), his Star Wars and X-Files novels and comics, began dictating his stories nearly 25 years ago and does his best work while hiking the mountains of Colorado where he and his wife, Rebecca Moesta, (also a New York Times bestselling writer) live.
“I consider myself a story-teller,” said Anderson. “I immerse myself in the narrative as if I’m telling the story around a campfire, and the way I write adds color. By being surrounded by great input – waterfalls, bears, rattlesnakes, streams and having all the smells, sounds, sights adds richness that an office doesn’t allow.”
Anderson, like many writers, would have epiphanies about characters, plot twists and narrative details when he least expected them.
“I have my best ideas when walking and mulling about a character or plot and I’d have a brilliant idea,” said Anderson, “but by the time I’d get home, I’d have forgotten it.”
So, in 1990, he began carrying a recorder with him to first take notes for himself. Eventually, dictation became a habit.
“You have to learn how to do it [dictate] and how to use it [the dictation device]. You have to learn how to write with a recorder,” said Anderson, who gives lectures about his technique to aspiring writers across the U.S. “Dictating is actually a lot more straightforward than typing. Consider the steps involved in typing prose at a keyboard: First, you think of the sentence you want to write, think of the words, the letters, and then you have to move your fingers across a randomly arranged keyboard to create the sentence. That takes a lot of time. But when I dictate, I just think of the sentence and it comes out of my mouth.”
Dictating, says Anderson, who uses an Olympus DS-3500 as the main tool in his writer’s toolbox, allows him to write more quickly than some of his peers. He once wrote 830 pages in 47 days and is one of the most productive working writers today.
In fact, Anderson has four books due by the end of January 2014. One is due next month. But he isn’t concerned.
“I’m not at all worried,” said Anderson. “The weather is getting nice outside and I can hike and write all day.”