Learning something new: Audacity

Ooooffff. The learning curve is a killer.

Being forty-three years old and having to learn something new is not the same thing as being twenty years old and learning something new. The brain is simply not as plastic. The neurons aren’t firing on all cylinders.

Enter podcasting.

Right now, in order to make progress on living my dream of becoming podcasting royalty, I am learning how to use a sound editing software called Audacity.

I used to use Audacity when I worked at the radio station years ago, but I only ever used it to record. I knew how to record, I knew how to export and I knew how to send it to my partner-in-mischief, Jonathan. He would do all the hard stuff, the editing and removing my uhms and ahhhs.

Editing, though, is not recording. Editing is taking several tracks and putting them together to make something that is fun to listen to, relatively balanced and has a killer rhythm. It’s an art with a definite measure of science that I have yet to master.

Yesterday, I got serious about this. Yesterday, I took the artists’ palette of Audacity and started making magic with it. And guess what? Trial and error got me partway there.

Here! Take a listen:

Sure. It’s only the first minute and thirty-nine seconds. But I took three tracks: Jonathan’s voice, the theme music and my own voice and mixed them into some kind of coherent whole. Yeah.

I even managed to export the whole thing into one fabulous little file.

But you know what I did not do?

I did not save the project.

No, really. I have this little one and a half minute mixed sample, but I don’t have the project anymore. Because that is what happens when you are learning something new! Mistakes are made. Lessons are learned. Curses are pronounced. Adrenaline gives way to disappointment.

And then you start again.

Poppy and I stayed up all night last night recording a really great conversation about her Ideal Life Themes and what they mean to her. Okay, not all night, but I didn’t get to bed until 3:00 this morning, when I usually get up at 4:00. She is in the PNW and I am in France. Nine hours separate us. So finding a good time to record is going to be a challenge.

But we did it. Now, I have more material to work with! It’s a really good thing this podcast won’t be coming out until September, because getting good and efficient at editing is going to take some doing.

That said, even though my brain aches a little from new information overload, and I am a little bit tired this morning from pulling an all-nighter, I am genuinely happy to have started developing some new pathways for my neurons. I may not feel smarter this morning, but I do feel a little younger.

A little message from older, wiser me, to younger, less experienced me: SAVE YOUR WORK.

Carry on.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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