Category Archives: Podcast

Write While True Episode 43: Accountability Groups

There’s a hole in this process, and we need to fill that right now. This only works if you’re doing the lead activities consistently, and if they really do build up to the end goal. It’s true that working on the book is intrinsically fun and interesting. And if that’s all that happened, I’d probably be okay with it, but I really do want a book in the end.


Write While True Episode 42: Keeping Score

As I mentioned in the past two episodes, I’m trying to write a short book, and I want to share the process as I’m going through it. For example, to help me structure my time, I’m using the book The Four Disciplines of Execution.

In the last episode, I shared how I’m applying the second discipline. I defined an activity that I could do every day and a lead measure, a metric of that activity, that I could have as a goal for every week.

The idea is that if I constantly achieve this lead measure, I believe that the larger goal will be achieved. My weekly goal is to spend at least one hour a day on five different days working on the book. It’s a goal that resets every week. That way, a bad week doesn’t derail me. Every Monday, I have a chance to try to win that week. But I have to remember to do it. Keeping this lead measure top of mind is what the third discipline is about. And that’s what I want to talk about next.


Write While True Episode 41: The Lead Measure

My wildly important goal is to publish a fifty page book on a topic in my industry by the end of 2024. I defined it using the SMART goal format (S. M. A. R. T.), which means it’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This is a good way to define goals, but the issue with SMART goals is that even though you can easily tell if you have reached them, they don’t drive day-to-day activities. That’s where the 2nd of the four disciplines comes in.


Transcripts for a Self-hosted Podcast

The latest Apple iOS update included an update to the Apple Podcasts app that added support for transcripts. They claim that they will auto-generate transcripts, but they allow you to provide your own. I have always provided a transcript for my episodes because I believe in accessibility. It’s also good for SEO, and my process starts from a script, so editing it to the transcript has never been a problem.

But, those transcripts are just text that I post on a web page. For the Podcast app, it’s much better to have a .srt file, which is a text file with the transcript and time codes. It looks like this:

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:15,060
I'm Lou Franco, and this is Episode 40 of Write While True.

00:00:15,060 --> 00:00:18,960
Write While True is an infinite loop, and that's because I think of writing as an

00:00:18,960 --> 00:00:19,960
infinite game.

00:00:19,960 --> 00:00:24,520
A game I play for fun and to get better at it, like a game of catch.

This is a little harder to make manually, so I use whisper from OpenAI. Whisper can create the .srt file directly, and since the format is still text, I can make any corrections I need to. Whisper doesn’t make many mistakes, though, which is surprising because I have a New York accent that sometimes confounds AI.

From there, I just post the .srt file in S3 in the same bucket as my mp3. The Blubrry PowerPress plugin, which generates my podcast feed, lets me provide a URL to a transcript file.

Finally, to get Apple to use it, you need to login to your Podcast Connect account and go the the “Availability” section of your podcast and turn on the option that allows you to provide your own transcripts.

Write While True Episode 40: Let’s Write a Pamphlet

For season four, which I’m starting right now, my plan is to take you through my process as I try to write a short, focused book. I expect it to be about 50 pages. I call this kind of book a pamphlet.


Announcing Season Four of Write While True

I have been planning out season four of the Write While True podcast. Here is a recap of the first three seasons

  • Season One (Episodes 1- 15): Theme: The basics of a writing practice. Topics include first drafts, editing sweeps, keeping a schedule, and note taking.
  • Season Two (Episodes 16 – 27): Theme: Not quitting. Topics include Stopping vs. Quitting, using your imperfections to generate work, and planning a break.
  • Season Three (Episodes 28 – 39): Theme: The tools and materials of writing. Topics include complex sentences, words of the day, content-free sentences, and zombie nouns.

The theme of Season Four is writing a pamphlet (i.e. a short book). It will be 13 episodes to coincide with the first 13 weeks of the year. At the end I hope to have actually written a pamphlet and also to have explained the process I am using to do it. All episodes of Write While True end with a writing exercise. If you follow along with this season, I hope that you will also have a pamphlet to publish.

The first episode will be available this Sunday, January 7.

Write While True Episode 39: Dark and Light

The white pastel can draw white on top of the charcoal, so now I can make white marks, which can also be smudged and mixed. It’s giving me a range of values I couldn’t get before. Throwing white highlights onto a dark drawing is a way of directing attention and makes it more interesting.

Black and white, on a drawing, are the extreme values. If I try to apply this idea to writing, it should also be a juxtaposition of opposite extremes.


Write While True Episode 38: Content-free Sentences

I’m reading a book by Stanley Fish called How to Write a Sentence. I found this book by Googling that exact question because I wanted to find anything that might be a fit for what I’m podcasting about this season.


Self-Hosting a Podcast: 2.5 Years Later

It’s been 2.5 years since I started working on a podcast and decided to self-host using the Blubrry WordPress Plugin and S3. Here are my original reasons and current thinking:

  • I want the episodes to be available indefinitely, even if I stop making new ones“: This worked out great since I took a break for 2 years between episode 15 and 16. It would have felt bad paying a bill for something I wasn’t actively doing.
  • I don’t want to pay for just hosting“: The key is “just hosting”. I think there are potentially a lot of things I (as an amateur podcaster) might like to pay for, but I didn’t see anyone offering something I cared about.
  • I don’t care about analytics“: This is the main downside to self-hosting. I rolled my own analytics, but I’m not 100% sure they are correct. The problem is that to get anyone else to do your analytics, you have to send listeners to their URLs, which I am unwilling to do—partly because of the privacy leakage, but mostly because I value my URLs too much. I haven’t found this, but I’d like service I could upload weblogs to and get useful podcast-oriented analytics from.
  • “I have the skills and desire to learn how to self-host“: I don’t think you should self-host unless this is true for you.

Two years later, I can say that my system is easy to use and never requires any intervention to keep running. I never think about the reliability of S3 or Blubrry. My analytics scripts have needed tweaking, but that has mostly settled down.

Write While True Episode 37: The Passive Voice Was Used

Today I want to talk about one of the rules that’s in Strunk and White. It’s actually in almost every book about writing, which is to use the active voice and to prefer it over the passive voice.