Audio production frustrations

Audio. There are limits on how rapidly I can work through the recording of an audiobook which don’t exist for phases of creation such as writing, editing, cover design, layout, or even editing and assembling the audio itself; most of the creative work I do, if I want to bear down and power through a week or two of sixteen-hour-plus days, I can accomplish amazing things at an astounding pace.

There are only a limited number of hours in the day during which I can record, for a start. Between 9 or 10 in the morning and a little after 11AM, my sister is awake and getting ready for her workday – unpredictably doing noisy things like showering, making breakfast/lunch, and sometimes adding a workout video to the mix. After 1PM most days, the level of traffic (where I mean vehicles with intentionally-loud engines, revving aggressively as they cruise slowly through the neighborhood, alternated with vehicles which have ridiculously-amplified sound systems thumping away as they go by) goes up significantly, adding a lot of pauses waiting for silence to any attempts to record, though not unbearably so. After 3PM on weekdays, between kids getting out of school and more people getting off work, the traffic noise does become nearly-impossible to record through. After about 5PM, and until about 7AM, my wife is home and we’re either doing other things together, usually noisy things, or she’s sleeping (in the room where my recording setup is), and even though the neighborhood goes quiet after a certain point (on nights without any parties), I can’t realistically get any recording done at night. This leaves 3-4 hours a day when I could potentially record.

Interestingly, this corresponds pretty closely to the other major limiting factor on my recording: my voice/quality only holds out (at most) 3-4 hours a day, anyway. Whether I go hoarse, or my mouth becomes exceedingly tacky, or my nose clogs up, I can’t seem to get more than a few short hours of high-quality voice work done on any given day. I haven’t taken the time to experiment with it, but I have the impression that when I do more recording/talking on one day, it reduces the number of good hours I have the next by a corresponding amount. Recording every-other-day seems the best at reducing incidence of sore throat by the end of a week, though it isn’t always possible.

Between these two factors, there are hard limits on the amount of recording I can get through in a given period. In addition are factors such as my irregular sleep schedule (for example, I slept until 1PM yesterday), my wife and/or sister’s days off work (weekends, spring break, sick days), and everything else in life I need to accomplish, not to mention the time lost switching to/from different activities. (The last factor meaning that generally, even if awake, having only 7AM-9AM and 11AM-1PM to record only gives me two and a half or three hours of good work, generally.) In the end, I can’t actually record the theoretical-maximum 20 hours a week; at best I can probably do 12 hours, and 6 to 9 hours a week is more realistic. (Keep in mind an hour of recording translates to at most half an hour of finished audio, after another couple of hours of editing.)

Alternatively, as you may recall, I recently wrote almost 48k words in nine working days, and I once wrote about as much in under 60 hours of continuous, uninterrupted work. Coming to terms with these sorts of limits on my creative work is proving to be difficult. Scheduling the part of publishing a book which requires it to be recorded continues to throw me off, usually by weeks. With the work on Never Let the Right One Go, I’m currently more than a week behind my initial projection for having finished the audiobook and I’ve recorded fewer than half the chapters. For my next book, I’ll try to remember what rate I can actually make progress at, and schedule appropriately.

I’m still on track to get the hardcover flipbook published in time for Phoenix Comicon, and with the numbers I had in Q1, financially, I’m not worried about my business being at a loss for the year – even if zero copies sell, which would probably be both shocking and super-depressing, Modern Evil Press should stay in the black in 2012. If a bunch of them sell, I’ll do a lot better, of course. I still can’t afford that font I want (unless some more art sells in the next week or so), but otherwise everything has come together quite nicely.

Oh, and I’m working out a plan/schedule for podcasting Never Let the Right One Go which may have the first episode going out on the Modern Evil Podcast as early as yesterday. Which doesn’t make any sense. I better bump that up to … today at the earliest. I may put the first episode of Sophia on the Modern Evil Podcast as early as today. (Savvy readers who have been following the project closely may already have listened to chapter 1 of each book, and/or read the first two chapters of each book.) Depends on how the next 14 hours or so go, I suppose.

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

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