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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 8:02 am 

Joined: February 8th, 2017, 9:03 am
Posts: 135
Location: St. Moritz, Switzerland
:help: For the last couple of hours, I tried to record at least the first page of my section but ended up with not even a second of recording. Every time I finished the page and listened to my recording, I was sure it wasn't good enough, that I didn't give it enough effort and that I could do it much better. So, I deleted what I had and started anew. Of course, I wasn't happy with the new recording, either, so I did it again...and again...and again...and grew more and more frustrated, tense and unable to relax and enjoy my work. At the end, I feared I was absolutely inadequate, that my voice sounded terrible and that I could never break this vicious cycle. I got stuck.

Did anyone experience something similar? Does anyone have advice for me on how to put this perfectionism and pedantry aside? What helped you to relax?

Thank you very much!

P.S. It's my first time as a volunteer reader. :mrgreen:

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 8:06 am 
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Oldies but Goldies.
Introducing our "What If I Suck" thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=37

Other than this: NOBODY on here likes the sound of their own voice, or how they are reading. If anybody tells you they do, they are lying. Period.

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 8:22 am 

Joined: February 24th, 2013, 7:14 am
Posts: 1593
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Claudia,

There is no escaping dissatisfaction with one's own work. That's what makes us (try to) improve.

I heard that Rome wasn't built in a day. And if one expects to climb Everest without any prior training or experience, one will likely fail if one attempts to...

The only reasonable advice here is, practice!

Take it easy. Recall to your mind your previous experiences with some activities that require some skill. Did you do all of those perfectly on the first try? If yes, well, there is a first time for everything, so now you know that it is not always the case. If no, then try to remember how you felt and what you did to get better.

Don't give up after unfavorable comparison of yourself with some ideal image you have in your mind. Compare yourself with other readers. I found that listening to LV audiobooks helps with that... :wink:

Breathe... Take a walk... Record the weekly poem...

Good luck!

P.S. The approach I found working best for me is to refrain from trying to improve everything at once. Improve different things, gradually. Also, this site is full of helpful folks. Ask specific questions, you'll get plenty of good information, I am sure.

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    reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 9:21 am 
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Oooh, pick me, pick me! YES!

There are a lot of tools in this particular toolbox, many of them well-described in the thread Ava linked to. In addition, I find it helpful to remember that 'Perfect is the enemy of good'. Don't even try to be Good, in fact. Try to be Done. :D Like tovarisch, I'd highly recommend the Weekly Poetry as a place to start, if you don't mind having a go at reading in Engligh. Use the first take, edit it, send it. The pressure is totally off, because there's a dozen other people doing the same thing. It doesn't matter whether you're good or bad, only that you've contributed. If you genuinely manage to achieve Terrible, that's excellent! You're giving others a gift ... think how much better everyone else will sound by comparison. ;)

But, I think once you listen to everyone, including yourself, in the finished project, your perspective will kick in. You won't be terrible after all. You'll sound like you, which is really the whole point. It's crazy to get caught up in sounding better than yourself somehow, because you are where you are. Where you are will shift over time, with practice. But, what's true for me at least, is not that I've gotten miles better (because that's not true, sadly) but I have become much more accepting of Good Enough. To me, it's way more important that I get ten sections done at a Good Enough level, than I produce one mythically-Perfect reading.

Finally, perfect is literally unreachable. The more time you spend trying, the more skills you'll learn to fuss about with your recordings. :lol: So, this is a great experience to be having early on, because it's unlikely to go away 100%. :roll: When you can let go enough to complete sections in the short-term, it'll support you in the long-term too. :9:

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 10:39 am 

Joined: August 17th, 2013, 8:51 am
Posts: 803
Location: Connecticut, US
Welcome Claudia,

I agree with most all the advice given above, but will add a few suggestions.

1. I'm aware of only one being who was perfect. Humans are not, no matter how hard they try. So don't try. Practice is the key to getting "better." :)

2. Do you, or have you in the past, done any reading aloud to children, students, the aged, blind, etc.? If so, pretend that's what you are doing when you record, the only difference is that you are in front of a microphone instead of one or more people. That was how I approached it (having read aloud to a number of nieces and nephews over the years) when I first began, and it has been fairly successful for me. (If you are not comfortable with reading aloud to others, then ignore this advice!) :D

3. When editing, don't be as concerned with how you sound, and concentrate on the items a proof listener will listen for. Repeated words and phrases, unusually long silences, background noise, etc. Again, you'll get better with practice.

You may never get to like hearing your voice, but the more you record and listen to yourself, the more you may get comfortable with hearing/listening to it (although your mileage may vary). In my case, when I began, I cringed when hearing my own voice ... after 4 years of recording I've grown to like my voice and reading style, which is why it hasn't changed much in the last 2-3 years. And I'm not lying! Period. :)

No matter what advice you take from others, the best advice I can give is relax, don't get stressed, and have fun with it. After all, it's volunteer work, and the results aren't a matter of life and death, nor do you have a supervisor breathing down your neck as you might in a paying job. <grin>

Don

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 1:12 pm 

Joined: July 16th, 2013, 5:30 pm
Posts: 832
Location: Memphis
DACSoft wrote:
...You may never get to like hearing your voice, but the more you record and listen to yourself, the more you may get comfortable with hearing/listening to it (although your mileage may vary). In my case, when I began, I cringed when hearing my own voice ... after 4 years of recording I've grown to like my voice and reading style, which is why it hasn't changed much in the last 2-3 years. And I'm not lying! Period. :)


Ouch, has it really been four years? How time flies. :shock:

Quote:
Does anyone have advice for me on how to put this perfectionism and pedantry aside? What helped you to relax?

The community here is what helped me. The sheer encouragement from fellow readers, DPLers (*cough*DACSoft*cough*), and BCers has helped me put aside my perfectionist tendencies. No one is here for perfection, just a love for books and audiobooks. :)

As for what helped me relax? My cup of tea, always happily steaming alongside the flow of words. I'll be honest, sometimes I don't even get around to drinking it, the smell is all I need. :P

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 2:10 pm 

Joined: February 8th, 2017, 9:03 am
Posts: 135
Location: St. Moritz, Switzerland
@Availle @tovarisch @Cori @DACSoft @DrewJ Thanks a million for your precious advice, I appreciate it very much! You've given me a lot to reflect on over the weekend. :9: You are all so right and the only way to learn and improve is to practice and to enjoy reading aloud and telling stories.

I will heed your advice and start with the weekly poem next week. Once the recording is edited and sent, the HUGE first step will be done. Again, thank you so much, I don't take your friendliness and support for granted at all and I'm very thankful. <3

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 6:51 pm 

Joined: April 1st, 2011, 5:36 pm
Posts: 6424
Location: Kelsingra
Just one other tip, in addition to the above - I find I relax more reading children's fairy tales and short stories. I imagine reading to a wide-eyed group of 5 year olds who can't read themselves! They are eager to hear the story, and not too critical about the reading technique! ;)

There's usually a couple of fairy tale collections running in the Short Works forum, so after you've had a couple of goes with the poems and want to try something longer, maybe have a go at a fairy tale or two!

That's how I got started anyway!

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 7:09 pm 

Joined: August 28th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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After more than 80 volunteer and 50+ professional audiobooks, I'm still not happy with even one minute of one recording. One thing I have stopped doing is listening to myself (which isn't really possible when you're starting out). Even after 11 years, if I listen to my own recording I only hear the faults. Bottom line: editing makes you crazy. At least it makes me crazy. And listening through headphones makes you really, really crazy.

Have someone you trust listen to your recording, and give some honest feedback. Don't trust yourself, because you can't objectively assess yourself; and don't pay attention to listener reviews (I never read them).

Whenever I complete a book I know deep down it could have been better, but on the day I did it it was the best I could do. As long as I do that, I just try to make the next one better.

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Post Posted:: September 8th, 2017, 7:38 pm 
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Joined: March 15th, 2009, 8:38 pm
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DACSoft wrote:
... after 4 years of recording I've grown to like my voice and reading style, which is why it hasn't changed much in the last 2-3 years. And I'm not lying! Period. :)

Don

Me too! Thanks for writing that, I didn't think I could be the only one. :) If I didn't like my voice and reading style I couldn't do this.

Claudia,
I agree with pretty much what everybody else has said but mostly relax and enjoy yourself. It -is- fun once you jump in and learn to swim. :)

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Post Posted:: September 9th, 2017, 7:22 am 

Joined: February 8th, 2017, 9:03 am
Posts: 135
Location: St. Moritz, Switzerland
@Elizabby @sjmarky @Darvinia :9:

Thank you so much for telling me about your own experiences, for your input and help, it's very, very appreciated! <3

I read a lot on the internet about reading techniques, about how to convey emotions through the voice...about how to "color" a reading with your own experience and feelings, but restricting yourself at the same time, in order to let the author's words speak through you. I think I tend to "overact" quickly, when I try to emphasise something; or when I try to give a character a special voice. It's such a huge discrepancy between the things I've read and learned about audiobook narration and the things I can actually apply and consciously use. There is this saying that one should reach for the stars and learn from the best - and that's what I'm doing right now! I find it extremely interesting to hear about the things that helped you at the beginning and about your experiences and 'magic tricks' that help you along the way, I do absorb everything like a sponge. :mrgreen:

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Post Posted:: September 10th, 2017, 6:53 pm 

Joined: December 26th, 2009, 10:07 pm
Posts: 5532
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Hi Claudia

As all the people who have above on this thread have suggested, the most important thing is to have fun in the recording process. Nothing could be less enjoyable than striving for some arbitrary standard of perfection - if such a thing exists at all. If it is apparent to the listener that you are enjoying telling the story, they will be carried along by your enthusiasm.

I have just listened to your one minute test recording and thought that your voice was delightful and your delivery was very expressive. I look forward to hearing something more substantial from you.

Cheers

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Post Posted:: September 10th, 2017, 10:00 pm 
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Quote:
I find it extremely interesting to hear about the things that helped you at the beginning and about your experiences and 'magic tricks' that help you along the way, I do absorb everything like a sponge.


Nothing wrong with aiming high but if you hadn't started walking till you could run 100metres in 10 secs you'd still be crawling
I've heard performers say they always aimed at 1 member of the audiience, just start reading to a friend who wants someone to save her from morming TV programs :D

Anne

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Post Posted:: September 15th, 2017, 7:46 am 
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And then there's Ira Glass ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ResTHKVxf4

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Post Posted:: September 16th, 2017, 4:26 pm 

Joined: February 8th, 2017, 9:03 am
Posts: 135
Location: St. Moritz, Switzerland
annise wrote:

Nothing wrong with aiming high but if you hadn't started walking till you could run 100metres in 10 secs you'd still be crawling
I've heard performers say they always aimed at 1 member of the audiience, just start reading to a friend who wants someone to save her from morming TV programs :D

Anne


Goodness, I'm sorry that I expressed myself so badly. My words must have made you think I was conceited. No, I do not aim high, I'm just eager to learn from you all (and I think you ALL are great!) - because I'm fully aware of the fact that narrating is an art. As for me, I don't even have the skills to avoid making mouth noises while reading a short poem; and I know how horrible and disgusting people find them. I'm afraid I'm not yet qualified to become a reader for Librivox.

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