On Sunday October 2nd I launched a new Podcast: Sound Bites (follow link for episode list). These are short audio stories from my surroundings.
The format is entirely different to my current podcast Breadcrumbs. Each episode is only 30-60 seconds in length and contains no narration.
This is my project for the second month of my Daily Challenge. As with my last challenge, I wanted to dive into something I'm interested in but know little about with the goal of learning something on multiple levels.
Where in September the goal was to learn basic perspective drawing techniques and explore the possibility of sketching in my iPad Pro, this month I'm learning the basics of sound design and improving my recording and editing skills.
With these dailies it has never been the goal to put out perfekt work. That's impossible to do in a day for something I've never done before. Rather they tell the honest story of someone who's learning by doing – and often by failing as well.
We are wowed by those who are world class at something, but often forget they've put in their 10,000 hours. What I'm doing here is the story seldom told – showing what may be the first 10-15 of those hours.
A Premature End
This month I didn't make it to those 15 hours. I have discontinued my daily prematurely, ending on episode 20.
A good friend of mine once said:
Principles are great until they work against you.
Now that probably shouldn't be the motto to live your life by, but it helps me question the things I hold on to. The primary reason for giving up on my daily is that my current workload has been starting to affect my health.
I was tempted see Sound Bites through till the end of the month on principle alone, but that would be working against me. October has never been my best month healthwise and the twofold responsibility of work (I still have a day job) and studies (Masters started in September) taxed me further.
I never understood the people who compensate for stress and poor sleep by taking medication. However, last week I found myself downing a pill when I woke up with a headache after a poor nights rest. That gave me pause.
The most important checklist in my life kicked in and I have been sleeping much better since. I had been driven by my to do list and have given myself permission to just let some things go for now (fixing up this website being one of them).
What I learnt
Another one of the things to go is Sound Bites. Looking back there is a good and bad side to this choice of daily.
- it's fun hearing everyday sounds augmented
- gives a new awareness of surroundings
- cutting a short audio-story together is fun (provided the material is good)
- it really is a great way to learn about recoding, sound design, and editing
- requires two steps: recoding & editing
- it isn't a contained task (eg. simply 10min)
- it affects the rest of the day (taking recorder)
- lacks obvious daily improvements/skills learnt
- dosen't really go far enough to teach sound design (never got to music)
The cons list is in stark contrast to the September Daily of drawing every day. There I had a single task that was contained by a rough 10 minute time limit and I could see my skills improve quickly. Sound Bites was not only more work but also less rewarding.
Taking it slower this past week has already reaped great rewards and given me a clarity over some big decision coming up. I'm going to take the rest of the month off from dailies and will be back in November.