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  • Danielle Hayden

Friday Frustrations: My Aural Aversion

I'm no Diane Sawyer, but I've conducted my fair share of interviews over the past couple of years. With my subjects' permission, I usually record these exchanges and take abbreviated notes as backup. In a few cases, however, I've had to rely solely on notetaking, speedily scrawling words down to capture quotes verbatim (while trying not to jeopardize any sense of legibility.) These notes also account for some pauses in dialogue, as I have to catch up to what the person had said before posing another question. I think what may be even worse than a completely handwritten interview though is a recorded one where I'm subsequently have to listen to myself speak. One frustrating thing about being a writer, then, has nothing to do with writing at all.


I cringe every time I play back the audio, praying that I can stop the recording soon so my fucking ears will stop bleeding from the embarrassment of it all. It would be one thing if it were only the occasional awkwardness with phrasing or interjection. These things can be improved upon with time. But it's not just that. It's my whole tone of voice; a timbre so off-putting that I'm surprised no one has stopped the interview after my first question. I'm being a little hyperbolic here, but I really do hate the sound of myself speaking. Apparently I'm not the only one who struggles, and there are scientific reasons for this dissatisfaction, but that eases my discomfort only slightly.


A fitting meme

After I put myself through this enough times, I started outsourcing transcription jobs. That way, I could send some other unsuspecting soul the audio file and she could send me back the text of the interview. After working with a few people, I found someone I really like. When I'm on a time crunch or money is tight, I can't always ask her, but she's great and she spares me from having to play, listen, pause, rewind; play, listen, pause, repeat and sit there wondering why I wasn't born with a better larynx.


There are way bigger things in the world to complain about, but I felt like bitching about this one tonight. Anyone else feel like their voice sucks?

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