Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Transcribing Sucks

I have two freelance articles due on 15 April, and it seems that no matter how great the interviews, transcribing the tapes always kills my inspiration. Yes, I could approach these pieces differently. Some freelancers conduct their interviews via e-mail, and some hire people to transcribe their audio tapes. Neither of these strategies interest me because I don't want to compromise the experience of seeing my subjects in their natural environment, nor do I want to trim my income. So, instead I hunch forward, one hand hovering above the keyboard while the other presses play-- then stop, drop the tape recorder-- type a few phrases... play-stop-type-play-stop-type-- "What the fuck did he say?"-- rewind-- play-stop-type ad nausaem. And yet, phone or e-mail interviews will never suffice, because there's a certain magic when I visit someone's workplace and see them boast about their accomplishments. But that doesn't change the fact that transcribing is the #2 reason I refuse to pursue freelancing fulltime (#1 being the uncertainty of how much work I'd have at any given time). I'm quite content to accept every job that floats my way, and it's always a pleasure and an honour to immortalize someone in print. But I'm not one of those people who gets off on seeing his name in the masthead, and nonfiction will never pluck my novel from the centre of my universe. But I've procrastinated enough for today; time to press play again.


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