My favoured medium of expression is the written word, there is a comfort to it, an anonymity, no one needs to know the hours spent crafting a few sentences, like a masquerade ball, people only see the output, the facade.
When Robbie encouraged me to give Anchor a go, I was more than a little reluctant, I didn’t like the idea. But I am cultivating a habit of questioning and challenge that doubting voice in the back of my head. I have done this by using one of my most powerful personal development tools, instead of seeing this as a goal, something to succeed at, I see it as an experiment, where any result is a success.
Regardless of outcome, I know I will gain something from this, I will learn and grow.
Like videoing your golf swing
When I was getting golf lessons, my instructor explained how my head moved during my swing. I thought about it, sure, perhaps I’m not as still as Ernie Els and it’s something I can work at, but it can’t be that bad.
It was that bad.
My instructor showed me a video of my swing and I saw how much my head moved, it must have moved at least 30cm, the bigger surprise was that I didn’t have whiplash after every swing. The instructor could have told me 100 times that my head moved too much and it would not have been as effective as seeing it once.
In a similar vain, I found listening to myself was amazing, not in the “I am amazing” sense, rather in the “Wow, I’m not” sense. After hearing my interview on James Miller’s Lifeology, I was struck by the number of “umms” and other needless utterances that have crept(?) into my speech.
I am not nearly as clear and coherent as I thought I was. The classic mask of self-denial. But this was great news, I could work at being better.
It took a little while to get used to navigating the app. They want the same app to be used by listeners and broadcasters alike, while keeping it simple. This means the app is perhaps not quite as intuitive as I would have like, this does not mean it is complicated, more that it took me a few goes to get things working.
My First Recordings
I didn’t want it to be full of incoherent umms and other ramblings. For comfort, I grabbed my book and decided to read a chapter. I realise it may be a while before I will get an Audible version recorded, so I thought, why not re-use and re-purpose the content.
I started recording it with my in-ear earphones that have a built-in microphone. The beauty of Anchor is that you can give it a go without needing to purchase expensive equipment. I started getting into a rhythm, it felt good. I was reading about the Compound Effect. I glanced down and then noted 10 seconds left of recording time, 9, 8, 7… I was not done yet!
Key lesson learnt. Recordings are limited to 5 minute segments.
It turns out that most chapters in my book take me about 10 minutes to read. The 5 minute segment restriction appeared to be a frustrating limitation. While I considered this, I gave it another go and read about the birth of Reaching Aspiration, which although just over 5 minutes, cut off at a suitable point and I had completed my first broadcast.
My Next Recording
After a while, I figured out that I could combine segments to make an episode, this allows me to overcome the 5 minute limitation. I just had to find suitable junctures to pause.
I re-recorded the Compound Effect, this time in two segments which could be added together to make an episode. I listened to it and heard a subtle, but noticeable, beat in the background. This was due to the weak point, where the microphone is in my earphones. Once again, frustrating, but strangely, I found I was enjoying the whole experience, I wanted to be better.
Buying some equipment
I used the “beating” noise factor, that I am frequently on Skype for my day job (working remotely) and have friends and family all over the globe, to justify buying some equipment. After some basic research I decided to get a decent microphone and headphones:
I have so far really enjoyed using the Microphone. The headphones have found a handy spot in a drawer, although I am happy with the quality. Its more that the microphone good enough that using a the bluetooth speaker connected to my laptop has not been an issue yet.
Of course, having a decent USB microphone doesn’t mean much added convenience if you have to upload it via a phone app. On investigating this, I learnt that I could record longer segments and then upload them through a web page. This page also allowed me to record longer segments, which would be sliced automatically (only for me to combine later).
What’s the plan?
I am still experimenting and would welcome any ideas you may have. For now, I plan to record a few chapters from my book and, as I grow more comfortable, I plan to interview friends and family. With a simple question, something along the lines of – What is the one thing they wished they had learnt earlier that would have made them a better adult?
The result – have a listen: