I have been thinking lately about alternative ways you can tell your life story or history. You don’t necessarily need to write your story. In this blog, I want to talk about another way to get your history/story written.
How many of you suffer from the blank page syndrome? You know what I mean. As you begin a new project, you look down at a blank page (or an empty computer screen) and just don’t know where to start. And as a result you do nothing — quit — and that’s the end of your project.
If you, like so many others suffer from this syndrome, one solution you can use to avoid this and start getting your story told/written is to record it.
Just start talking about your life. I know it might not be as easy as it sounds but just bear with me as I discuss how you can make this happen. Using this method will require an extra step before your story is into the computer. You will need to get your audio file transcribed, and we’ll talk about this later.
Interview Yourself or have someone Interview You
You will need to get yourself a recording device. There is really only one rule: make sure your recorder is digital! Do not use a tape cassette recorder! I don’t even know if you can still buy a cassette recorder, or cassette tapes, but if you still have one don’t use it.
I just did a search on Amazon.com looking for digital recorders and found many priced as low as $20 up to $200. Which one you choose all depends on your budget, but you can find them for a relatively low price. Walmart is also a good place to find inexpensive ones. I am not going to recommend one brand over another because it doesn’t really matter which one you use; just make sure it is digital.
Because I interview many people I use a Marantz Professional PMD661 MKII Handheld Broadcast Recorder, which costs almost $600. But remember you do not need one anywhere this good.
There are many small battery operated recorders available that come with a USB cable that can transfer the digital file to your computer so that your story is available to be transcribed.
Another way to record your story is using an app on a smart phone — either iPhone or Android. There are many recording apps you can download, for free or very inexpensively. Look into this as an alternative to purchasing a separate recording device.
Once you have your audio history in your computer, you will need to have this audio file transcribed. Someone needs to type the audio to create an electronic document that can be read. Finding professional transcription services is not that hard. However, if you decide to transcribe your history yourself, you will should invest in transcription software and a foot pedal. This will make the job go much more smoothly.
I recommend Express Scribe Pro Transcription Kit with USB Foot Pedal & USB Transcription Headset https://www.amazon.com/Express-Scribe-Transcription-Pedal-Headset/dp/B0186C4CWU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1494611272&sr=8-2&keywords=express+scribe+pro+transcription+software+with+usb+foot+pedal. You can user this link to examine this great transcription product you can purchase on Amazon for $109. The foot pedal is used to start and stop the audio making the typing much easier. The foot pedal allows you to back the audio up making it easier to stay on track while you type. The headset is connected so you can listen to the audio as you type. You can find this software for free as a download, but you will want the foot pedal. This package deal on Amazon is a really good way to go.
However, if you want to avoid the hassle of typing, or you are not a good typist, you might want look for someone who can do it for you. Upwork, www.upwork.com is a company where you can find people who can do the transcription for you. This company is an international marketplace where people can find professionals to do work for them.
Once your audio file is typed, and you have your story written out, unfortunately this is only the beginning. You will still need to transform the transcript into a readable narrative that will be interesting for your family to read. And that discussion is for another blog!
Using the audio recorder eliminates the need to write, either on paper or using a word processor (MS Word, Pages and others) on your computer. Remember if you write long hand on paper you will still need to have the manuscript typed. Maybe a grandchild can type this into your computer using a word processing program.