Category Archives: Podcast

Write While True Episode 19: Prompt Your Morning Pages

If you are just coming to this podcast on this episode, I have to tell you that I talk about Morning Pages a lot. It was the subject of Episode 1. Listen to that for the full description of what they are or read the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which is where I was introduced to the idea.

The main thing to know is that I start each morning by writing three pages of long hand writing in an automatic stream of consciousness style. I never show them to anyone and they aren’t meant to be published. The point is to train my brain to generate text on demand.

If you read the entire thing, I would have a couple of sentences in a row here and there that make some sense, but overall, it’s not well-structured in any way. My pages tend to stray from topic to topic because I’m not considering the entire text.

This is the breakthrough I had today.


My New Podcast Generating Workflow

In Accessibility First in Podcasts, I wrote that since my podcasts are scripted, I don’t have to work hard to get a transcript.

But I found that writing a script was both hard and resulted in a podcast that sounded written. Even if I memorize and perform it well, it didn’t sound like my spoken “voice”.

So, I decided to

  1. Start with a rough outline
  2. Make a recording of a lot of extemporaneous speaking on the subject
  3. Make a transcription of the recording using Whisper from OpenAI
  4. Edit the transcription into a coherent story, but try to preserve the phrasing
  5. Practice it
  6. Make a recording that basically follows the script. It’s ok to make mistakes, rephrase, or veer off.
  7. Edit the recording to remove mistakes and reduce overly long pauses
  8. Listen to the recording and fix the script so it’s now a transcript.

The key thing is step #4 which helps me make a script that sounds like me talking (not writing).

Write While True Episode 18: Taking My Own Advice

I thought it would be a good idea to re-listen to all of my podcasts from season one. Each of them is only about 10 minutes and there are only 15 episodes, so it doesn’t take too long.

This had two effects.

First I realized they weren’t as bad as I thought, which made me feel better about restarting.

The second thing is that I started to hear the advice almost as if it was coming from a third party because I had recorded these so long ago. I had dropped many of these practices during my break, so it was almost like hearing from a different person. But that person was making podcasts and I wasn’t, so I decided to listen to him.


Write While True Episode 17: Make Art with Friends

I thought about things that were going well, where I had a lot of output, like my programming projects. One thing I realized that helps a lot is that I am proud of that work. Doing it is a self-esteem builder, and I have a lot of confidence that I can meet my own standards.

I’ve been programming for a long time, so this isn’t much of a surprise. All during that time I challenged myself by doing bigger projects and learning new things.

While learning new things and working on bigger and bigger projects helped me improve, it wasn’t the most important factor.

What helped me the most was the people I worked with.


Write While True Episode 16: Try and a Teacher Will Appear

I did season one of this podcast a couple of years ago.

I did 15 episodes. They were about some of the basics of building up a writing habit, and then I stopped. In this season, I am going to explore how to restart projects in the context of restarting this one.

I want to talk about one of the lessons I’ve learned.


Write While True Episode 15: Combine Identities

I made this podcast, but I wanted to self-host, so I learned how to do that with s3 and wrote my own way to get analytics. So, Podcasting leads to programming. And then I wrote up a blog about that program (so it led back to writing) and now I am telling you about it on this podcast. Round and round it goes.

The more times I go around the circle, the easier it becomes to write or podcast or program about one of the other things I’m doing. The content for this podcast is mostly taken from a blog post I made in February. Back then I just said that I should come up with some way to combine programming and writing more. This podcast was the result of that thinking.


Write While True Episode 14: Spaced Repetition

Last week I encouraged you to collect general knowledge. Viking trade routes, anime, Rothko paintings, architecture, typography, bluegrass standards — where ever your interests lead you.

For these kinds of things, it may be hard to write a note though. You could certainly write down something, but it’s unlikely that you’ll develop a few paragraphs of a coherent thought about lots of random things.

James Webb Young said to use index cards for that. That would certainly work, but I recommend using spaced-repetition card software instead.


Write While True Episode 12: Keep a Topic List

In the past, when I set goals to write more frequently, I was always stopped by not having ideas ready for what to write about. Or when I got one, I didn’t have a systematic way of collecting them. I would sit down to write, but getting started on a new piece was too difficult.

My ONE thing is make it so that when I sit down to write I have a checklist to work from.


Write While True Episode 11: Quantity and Quality

I know that a lot of my episodes are variations on the theme of quantity. In episode one, I asked you to write morning pages every day. In episode 4, I asked you to make a schedule where you write multiple days a week. I’ve talked about the importance of producing many first drafts. In episode 8, I said you should lower your bar and just last week I shared my personal “why”, which is all about playing the infinite game because it’s fun. The title of this podcast is a play on the idea of the infinite game.