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Journaling for Creativity.

Journaling media options: Recording sound, pt1

This post forms part of a serialisation eventually building into a complete reference on Journaling for Creativity and the writer's notebook. One that will demonstrate how to journal in order to improve creativity and effectiveness of artists, writers or anyone needing to be creative.

Introduction Contents What Media Options are There Recording Sound, Pt1

Journaling for Creativity: Recording sound


Recording sounds and audio entries

Keeping a collection of sound recordings is no longer a stack of doomed tapes with fading labels. The contents of which are displayed as short cryptic descriptions that with the passage of time eventually change into un-breakable ciphers.

Indeed, technology has now allowed sound to become a valuable resource when journaling for creativity; a resource which can be banked in a digital depository and when needed withdrawn instantly and used to enhance your art, creativity and writing.

This ease of use evolved with technology and the ability to make digitised sound files. The previous cost-effective medium was magnetic audio tape, and it was more economical to buy the longest tape to get the maximum recording time. However, reviewing a specific recording was a tedious process, involving listening to sections of tape whilst rewinding and fast forwarding, trying to find, often vainly, an elusive entry. That is, if you were originally canny enough to write a comprehensive index on the can/cassette/cartridge.

The modern solution

Modern computers, mobile phones, cameras and Dictaphones record sound directly to MP3 or other digital formats. These can be stored in your creativity journal in date order and with meaningful titles. They can be easily; located, duplicated, joined, edited and played in whole or part. They can be tagged with searchable words, and enormous amounts of them can be stored in a modern computer.

The most important aspect is probably the ease of searching for that old entry. Very short recordings can each have their own descriptively named file. Files may be played instantaneously with a couple of clicks and the part that is playing easily selected, and reselected, from an indicator bar. No longer are old recordings lost to a heap, never to be played again.

Audio journal entries may be reviewed easily by loading them into a personal music player and then listened to during the daily commute, housework, exercise, over lunch or whilst resting.

A little problem

Cantante A small problem with recording an audio journal entry is that you will have to overcome the difficulty of listening to your own voice. Most people dislike their voice when hearing it played back to them. Don't let this bother you, after a while you will accept how your voice sounds and start listening to your words and your emotions.

It is surprisingly difficult to talk aloud and confide to an inanimate object and you will have to conquer the reluctance to talk to the microphone. It will take some effort and a small meander outside your comfort zone before you will be able to overcome being self-conscious and feelings of embarrassment.

Audio snapshots and panoramas’

As well as dictating audio journal entries, you can also record "snapshots" of sounds and treat them in just the same way you would photographs. Recordings of a young girls tinkling laugh, a neighbours screaming row, water running in a brook, bird-song in the morning, ancient motors chugging or the home crowd's roar, will all bring back the emotions of that moment when played later. Just remember to make a placeholder entry in your notebook.

Neat tip: Longer sound samples can also be recorded of the ambient sounds of the places or events in your project, an audio equivalent of the panoramic photograph. Then, when you are writing scenes set in those locations, play them back at a low level on continuous loop and take your creative-mind back to those locations.

Of course, you don't wait until you have a location in mind before rushing off to record a specific sample. Whilst waiting at an airport or train station, click the record button. When reading in the park, click that button then move over to the children's area and click again. Sporting events, legal trials, restaurants, shopping malls, weddings, funerals, hospitals, hotel lobbies, even swimming pools. All the places you pass through whilst living your life can be captured and kept safe until needed. Others may require a special trip or a journaling date to a special location in order to record it. Some sound samples may be found online, so if you can’t afford a trip to the jungles of Borneo, thanks to the internet all is not lost.



Please join us in the next post, when we talk about the advantages and issues with using the following devices when journaling for creativity, what makes them good, bad or unique when making an audio journal entry or sound sample;


Smart phones


Mobile microphones

And maybe surprisingly,

Answering machines.

Photo credit 1: Sound, by Jason Corey.
Photo credit 2: Cantante, by Julian Rodriguez Orihuela.
"Journaling media options: Recording sound, pt1" by Andy Shackcloth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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