NaBloWriMo? Anyways, the first of a month of posts

I saw a talk by Ana at View Source Conference last week that reminded me how important blogging is / could be to me, and I decided that instead of NaNoWriMo, I’d see if I could write one blog post every day for a month. I have tried (and both succeeded, and failed, at different times) this challenge before, but if you know my writing, you know that I think failure is nothing unless we assign meaning to it. Without meaning, the failure is just a thing that didn’t happen the way I hoped it would.

So here we are again, working on the blog (or my other blog, which I may update also).

I had intended to write a long piece about my weird trip to the Louvre (where you can eventually see such sure-fire hits as my “LOUVRE feet,” at right), but instead decided to open with the reason I’m going to be writing more now (hopefully).

I enjoy writing, mostly (unless I’m writing a book, which is actual torture designed to ruin lives), so the idea of blogging regularly is not just familiar, it’s downright friendly!

But also, life happens.

And in this month, life is going to happen a lot. I’m currently in Paris (you know, where The Louvre is), and we’re about to hop on a train back to London, and then Saturday, I’m flying back to Sacramento, then Monday, I’m leaving for San Mateo for the Quickbooks Connect Conference (because small business conferences!!!! wooo!), then, the following week, my friend from Australia (the legendary Belinda Hellyeah!) and I are driving to Joshua Tree for a few days (I’m exhausted just writing that all out).

And then I’m back home from the 18th of November through the 8th of December, and then I’m gone for another week – this time, to Orlando for the Mozilla All Hands.

I want and enjoy a life of travel and adventure, so this is all by design, but I guess I’m just disclaiming to say that probably most of everything I write will be written in transit or under duress.

But it’s best left said, rather than unsaid, however imperfectly. Here we go.

Recording the Audiobook of You-Nicorn

Today was a hilarious day. I woke up full of things to do: Super important things. And then I got tired and a little dizzy, and I realized maybe I needed a day off, since mayyyybe I was feeling a little overwhelmed with my new book just being submitted, and my next book’s deadline already looming.

Yeah, I am burnt out.

My rule around when I’m feeling burnt out is that I treat myself like I have the flu. I lay down, watch some mindless inspirational movies, and fix myself a cup of tea.

Because I’m a perpetual motion machine, if I even so much as start reading a book, I’ll dive down a hole and find some way to make that a productive action. I didn’t want to do that, so I decided to force myself to take a break.

In the name of “taking a break,” I was wasting time on Facebook.  I saw that my friend, who has just published her own romance novel, was looking for a recording studio resource. My dear friend Buck, who just released his new album (I have the most incredible friends), responded and said that he knows how to do recording and would happily do it.

Ah ha, I thought! Just what I need on this burnt out day: A NEW PROJECT TO START

No, actually, what I really thought was, “Oh crap! Right! I need to make arrangements to record the audio. But I don’t want to actually find a recording studio or travel to one, or sit around in a studio for 12 hours with a stranger. CRAP! Why did I say I’d do this?” and then I remembered that I actually am excited to work on this, but my overwhelm is telling me that I don’t want to.

But hey, if I was working with a friend, it might not be so bad. And maybe Buck could let me know how to set up a studio in my own home, so I could use my fancy Yeti mic and not bother leaving my haven.

I wrote Buck. He sent me to this golden post. It brilliantly describes how microphones work, and explains that the most important thing with these kind of microphones is containing the echo behind the narrator, not in front of the narrator like one might assume. It suggests using a mattress.

home recording studio kind of
Ah, the glorified pillow fort!

We have a guest bedroom, so I started making plans for how I was going to explain to Russ that I needed to dismantle our guest bedroom so I could make a recording studio in his office (which is in the guest bedroom). After babbling at him for about 20 minutes, he said, “Would the memory foam pads work?”


I had totally forgotten that we basically have piles of sound dampening foam hanging out under our bed in storage. I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER.

Operation: Home Recording Studio was within my grasp.

I lept up and started dragging around our old memory foam mattresses to make a pillow fort… um… a “recording studio,” grabbed the unfortunately squeaky ancient chair, upended the chest at the bottom of the guest bed, and wedged the memory foam slabs between chairs to make a little horseshoe booth.

HEY! It worked pretty dang well.

I recorded a couple test tracks, which made me realize exactly how frustratingly terribly I read. Just listen to this clip:

The recording quality is acceptable, though, and so I’ve embarked on this probably-totally-doable project of recording my book for release on Audible on the same week as You-Nicorn comes out. Hooray!

Stay tuned for what will undoubtedly be some hilarious stories of studio time. Our dogs have not yet learned that “OMG WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP?” means “stop barking, I am recording something important,” so I anticipate some hard conversations with our fluffy animals soon.