Does it sound too simple?

Seemingly simple things can prove to be utterly frustrating.

Having published Ulcerative Colitis – When the bottom drops out of your world I wanted to make it available as an audio book. It’s a simple process – record myself reading it, do a little post-processing then upload it. Simple.

Or not.


I spent a long time setting up my room as a make-shift studio. Minimising noise and reverberation was the order of the day. I did everything I knew to make sure I had the optimal recording environment.

At last I was ready. Hitting record I began to read. After two chapters I took a break to see how the recording sounded.

What a disappointment! It sounded awful and would certainly be rejected by the audio-book quality control. There was no point in continuing – I’d done the best I could and it wasn’t good enough.

I was sure my efforts should have yielded a much better result. Of course there were things I could have done to reduce the room noise further, but I was now approaching the point of diminishing returns. It would have taken a lot more effort or expense to deaden the room more than I had done already.

There were now two options before me:

  • give up.
  • take some advice.

There are people that need to hear the message of the book – that’s why I’d written it. In fact, I had already received requests for it to be made available as an audio-book and I had promised it would be done. Having recorded music with similar kit and much better results I concluded there must be something simple that I’d missed. Now was not the time to give up.

I contacted the friend who had recorded my music in the past. I explained the situation and he quickly came back with a couple of simple things to check and experiment with; listen carefully, turn the volume down and get closer to the mic.

Well, do you know what? I did just that and the results were much better. Not perfect, but that’s to be expected – this is my home, not a professional studio!

There are many things in life that we can do on our own, and we can probably make a reasonably good go at them. As the Pareto 80/20 principle suggests, we can get most of the way there with minimal effort. It’s achieving that last 20% that will talk 80% of the time. It is entirely disproportionate. That’s where getting help comes in.

Perhaps the best thing you could do to benefit your relationship is turn down your volume, listen carefully and get a little closer….

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