Progress – August 13, 2018

For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling myself that “this weekend I’ll get to go upload audio.” Well, this last weekend was when it came true.

When I upload an audiobook, I like to go sit at Starbucks. First off, coffee = yes, please! Second, I don’t often go to Starbucks (I usually go to Barnes & Noble which is a cafe serving Starbucks coffee. It never quite tastes the same. I have yet to have a drink at B&N that tastes exactly like Starbucks — and I prefer the way B&N does it, so double yes please to books and coffee). So a trip to Starbucks is actually a break from my usual routine and and therefore a treat. Thirdly, killer Internet! I can upload the files much faster than anywhere else I’ve found so far.

Now, I just sit back and wait for my files to be approved. Fingers crossed on that one. I’m a little worried. Plus, I didn’t do my final listen through on this book (another worry). After spending 6+ years trying to record this book and trashing so many rotten versions, I just can’t listen it to once more. You know, this book is the whole reason I threw in the towel and bought myself a Whisper Room; I despised the sound I was getting, not to mention having to wake up at 2 a.m. on the weekends to record so I didn’t have noisy neighbors, cars, birds, cat fights, barking dogs, owls, crickets, etc. in the background of my recording. When I had the rain and wind in the middle of the night, plus I was a wreck for several days afterwards from a strange sleep schedule, I decided trying to have my own homemade studio was not what I wanted to do. I wanted it to be quick and simple: a good recording, quick editing, done and released to the world.

Quest for the Three Books audiobook cover small

Yeah, let me tell you, even with the Whisper Room, it’s a journey I’m not sure I’ve ever been prepared for or one that I will ever be successful at. And I feel this way every time I release a new audio. I never feel like it’s good enough. I know there are still flaws in this, which is why I had to let it go. If I went through it again (and I can say this as a fact from where I’ve re-listened to parts of it in trying to find something I wanted to use as a sample), I would ditch all the audio again and re-record it over again. No matter how careful I was when I was going through it, I was always going to hear something that needed fixed. You get the loud clicks out of an audio and all the small ones come jumping back at you.

To make this all worse, I started playing around with Izotope’s RX6 program again. Since I’m assuming most of you have no clue what this is, it’s basically a program to help repair audio. I really like their de-clicking feature, but the last time I looked at it, I hadn’t moved to Adobe Audition yet. It did terrible things to my audio back then. I did use a plug-in version (a lite program verses a stand-alone full version) of the de-clicker on Fractured Echo. But when I ran The Last Ant through it, the audio began to sound mechanical. Now that I’m using Adobe Audition, I thought I’d look at it again.

I really thought about running every chapter back through RX6.

I didn’t. When I was playing around with it, I found that it mishandled my RMS levels (one of the many industry standard variables you have to get your audio into a precise range for) and Adobe Audition couldn’t fix it enough to get it back. Other of these variables, there’s some room for maneuvering. RMS is not one of them. It’s either off or on. Audition has the best tool for hitting the mark on  RMS, but RX6 was throwing it off and I couldn’t get all the variables back into alignment afterward. So, I left the audio as it was.

If you think this is all confusing, imagine me who has been working at this for 7+ years and still only has about half of the understanding that I need. (Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule (which by the way I hate in presentation, but believe that there is something to it)).

So, needless to say, audio has taken over my life this week. I hate it when I get so into the finishing of a project that I literally become obsessed with it. There is a reason my friends call me “Bulldog” and it’s something I’m working on, but there was no one around to break my death grip this weekend (and even Loki is smarter than try yammering at me when I’m like this), so words got sacrificed for the sake of audio.

I also spend Sunday rearranging my booth (again).

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I had ordered some new equipment last March and thought I’d be putting it in by May. I had to wait for the audio to be completed for Quest for the Three Books first. Here we are at August – calculations were a little off.  And what did I quickly discover? That I wish I’d been able to find the 4″x4″ Whisper Room. I am very glad that I have the one I do. I got it used and paid significantly less that I would have for a new one. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Now I’m debating what to record next. I actually have I’m with Cupid recorded and my test sample from my new setup sounds a lot like the results I was getting for Quest, so I might try it and see what happens. I’ve gone through the first section of audio already. I did mention that I was a bit obsessed this weekend, right? Plus, I’d already had editing started on it — RX6 worked wonders and made my job there easier. (I am so going to regret not putting Quest through it, but it wasn’t a tool back when I started this final take.) But I don’t know what to go to next. Part of me says to do something small, like For Sale, Call Loki, partially because I know there are people out there wanting it (oh, you lovely little Loki fans!), and also so I can get use to using RX6 with Audition and maybe work out some of the other issues I’d like to handle. I am not a perfectionist, but sometimes I play one in my adventures. (grin)

So shoot me if I believe in constant and never-ending improvement! If I have a fatal flaw, it’s that one, even above being a bulldog.

Adrian and I did go to the local fair, so I got away for a little while on Saturday. We had lunch to support the Music Boosters and got some ice cream, which we took home to eat while watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. Adrian won’t let me binge watch it nearly enough, so my break was short.

Earlier I said that words had been sacrificed for words. Yes, they took a backseat, but I still didn’t do too badly, especially after writing this post, which ended up being much longer than I had anticipated. I’m going to shut up now so we can look at the numbers.

(Truth be told: it’s been a long day today and I’m ready to crash. I moved a lot of furniture in and out of my booth today to get to the simple setup I have here. It wore me out!)

Fiction words written last week:  4,338 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2.092 words.

Weekly word goal reached for 3 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  10,843 words

Writing year to date total: 197,180 words

Drawing/painting last week: No painting this week

Audio: I spent 10 hours recording and editing audio, as well as tinkering with the program and trying things out. This did not include time rearranging my booth or watching several how-to videos, and probably even some extra time where I was working on things, but didn’t think to record the time. I have been focused on audio since Friday, and any moment that I told myself I really needed to get words done, I chopped those out so I could get back to the audio.

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