20 January 2016 - 6:15 pm

Creative Writing Group discussion recordings

Everyone speak up! (Picture: Shure microphone via Wikipedia)

Everyone speak up!
(Picture: Shure microphone via Wikipedia)

Sometimes, people can’t make it to the CWG when we’re discussing topics they are interested in. I get requests for notes for these sessions, or have catch-up discussions with people if they particularly want the info and are willing to come meet up with me another time. It’s never as good as being there, though!

In the interests of making things easy for people, and also for fun, I decided to try recording one of our meetings and see how it came out. I let everyone know at the beginning of the meeting that it was being recorded and destined to be put on the internet (so, object now or forever be heard online). I also asked people not to talk over each other, as can often happen in our slightly-chaotic meetings.

I’m a n00b when it comes to digital audio things, so it was a bit of an experiment. As it happens, it all worked pretty well. The people at the meetings I’ve recorded (3 so far!) were more decorous than usual, and the discussions went fairly smoothly. It was recorded using my laptop’s built-in mic and Quicktime, and picked everyone in the group fairly well, except a couple of the quieter, deeper voices. I think you can make everyone out, though.

Since then, I’ve figured out how to compress the files (the original recording was about 1.8GB) and convert them into a more friendly format. I haven’t edited them, as we don’t tend to get downtime in our meetings and they’ll make more sense if everything is there, so the recordings are around 1.5-1.75 hours long each.

Right now, I have 3 recordings sorted out. I’ll be posting them up soon and linking them up with the CWG meeting schedule, for easy reference. We were unfortunately unable to record December’s meeting due to some technical hitches (now fixed!), but I’ll be aiming to continue the pattern going forward.

I should note that the discussions tend to be rambling, adult in content, and involve some swearing. I tend to let the group discuss what interests them, so some tangents are tolerated, while others are curtailed in the hopes of keeping on-topic and getting through everything we’re there to tackle. I try to foster confidence and an easy exchange of ideas, and try not to shut anyone down if I don’t have to. It’s a balancing act, and tricky because a lot of the group love to talk, particularly about writing.

Feedback is welcome on these sessions! Is there anything we missed? How was my facilitation? Did you find it useful?

Future sessions will include further refinement of the process, such as using a proper external mic. Posts coming up soon with the audio attached!

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