Don’t Just Write — Record Yourself

There’s so much to be learned from audible thought.

There’s really so much to be learned from audible thought.

We’re writers, so we write. This provides time to edit our thoughts and feelings. I owe no-one an immediate answer and hate the sound of my own voice when I have to speak in public. So, I write.

But I talk to myself a lot. I live alone and always catch myself doing it. I never used to remember what me and myself talked about, but then I started recording.

Recording has been beneficial for several reasons:

  1. I keep track of my mood and symptoms
  2. I get more detail from my dreams
  3. I am more open and honest when I have to immediately produce thought
  4. I have retrieved so many new ideas for writing from listening back to them.

Mood / Symptom Tracking

I was taking new medication and wanted to keep a record of changes in mood, thoughts and ideas throughout the day to keep a handle on my symptoms. Every night before bed I would switch the red button to record and try to pretend it wasn’t there. It was very “Captain’s Log”. I’m not ashamed to admit that. (Just wish I had Shatner’s natural acting talent.)

I listened back to those recordings, and the amount I’d forgotten I’d said was incredible. I couldn’t believe it; recording what was essentially free association was helping me remember so many more aspects to situations. I was grounding myself.

More Dream Detail

Which is why it became so hilarious when I started recording my dreams. I thought I remembered a lot of my dreams — at least enough to scribble down some notes and write them out later. Nope.

After waking up, get that recorder out and start talking, because I have never laughed harder than hearing my semi-conscious, yawning audio files where I try to understand what the hell just happened to me. Plus you capture the little details. Would I have remembered the snake with the human head? No. Is that a useful thing to remember? Probably also no. Indulge me.

The Unrelenting Honesty

When I write, it’s always selective. Not only do we have to stay on topic, but we have to provide meaningful work that isn’t always about us. When I talk, alone, everything is of equal importance and nothing is kept private. Discovering feelings and thoughts throughout the weeks, I’d posit that I haven’t been listening to myself in a very long time.

Extra Ideas

Everyone wants more ideas. You’d be surprised what you’re skipping by not recording every moment of your life. But save recording every moment of your life (that would be an insane project) this is the next best thing.

Take it from someone who genuinely hates listening to themselves faff through an idea — private recording has been truly helpful for me.

It might be for you too.