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  • Writer's pictureAnnette

A Procrastinator's Journey Out

After a long break due to some technical difficulties with my website, I have finally got it up and running again, so it feels good to be back!

In the interim, I’ve been continuing to facilitate my usual Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) free-writing workshops as well as taking and teaching multiple tai chi and qigong classes. I will post my new classes to this site soon.

Plus, I am happy to report that I finally took the leap to start audio-recording my book, Still Loving Jerusalem: Conversations with My Palestinian and Israeli friends. I’ve recorded about half of the book so far and will go back for more recording sessions in several weeks to continue recording it.

I’ve wanted to record my book ever since it was published, and friends urged me to get it recorded as well, but I procrastinated, not sure which path to take. When I finally got started, I had a bumpy time trying to record at home with a newly bought pricey mic and downloaded Audacity program. After many starts and stops, I quickly realized it wasn’t a good idea at all to try to record from my home.  

You see, I do not have a soundproof room to record in, so nonstop cars, airplanes, sirens, and more sounds could be heard in the background even with all the windows closed tight. Plus, I underestimated the importance of my complete lack of audio editing skills needed when I made little mistakes while reading—which was a lot of the time!

So again, I procrastinated, focusing on the other classes I was teaching and taking, as well as of course, on the wonderful times spent with my family, friends, and newly adopted pup.  But I kept having that reoccurring thought that I needed to put my book on Audible, that I needed to get started recording it. I’ve come to learn that when a thought repeats itself on and off and won’t go away, it is probably more important to me than I care to admit.

The questions that dogged me went something like this: Should I record my own book or should I hire a voice actor? People seem to like authors’ reading their own books, but not if their voices grate on them. I may be getting too old to have a nice, soothing voice for such a long book. Yes, I realize I am being ageist against myself, but is my voice up to the task?  An actor would probably have a more pleasant voice, yet I would need someone who knows how to correctly pronounce both Hebrew and Arabic words. That would greatly reduce the pool of applicants. How would I go about finding an actor with those language skills? When I investigated some of the voice actors’ fees and realized how expensive it would be to hire one on top of the hourly studio fee, I continued procrastinating.

Buoyed by some of my supportive students and friends who insisted people liked books read by the author, I finally decided to record the book myself. But again, I felt frozen, not being able to decide which recording studio to contact to get the wheels in motion, and how to go about voice coaching, which I decided I needed. Plus, did I really want to depart with so much money when I am basically “semi-retired,” (though I don’t feel it with my part time gigs).

Yes, I am worth it!  I am worth investing in myself! I finally decided one fine day. When I felt that deep inside—versus just thinking about it-- I was able to take baby steps toward what I wanted.

Without over-thinking which studio to contact or fretting over the cost anymore, I simply trusted my gut and called a local nonprofit studio that I knew about and admired since they have been supporting new disciplinary artists for decades here in Seattle—the Jack Straw Cultural Center—and told the sessions coordinator what I wanted. He was friendly and understanding and set me up with a super nice and helpful female voice coach for my first session, and then an equally supportive male production engineer who has been recording my sessions in their recording studio ever since.

Reading my book into the professional mic in the recording studio with the headphones on feels fun, even exhilarating. But sometimes my emotions get the better of me when I  have to verbally relive some of the more difficult experiences I went through, and I need to stop to not have my emotions interfere with my narration. But Daniel, the production engineer, simply tells me compassionately when to stop and rerecord whether it be due to emotions, because I misread something or some other glitch, and then we go on recording.

So why am I sharing this all with you now? Yes, I’m letting you know that the recording of the book will soon be available, but what really motivated me to write this after my long website break, is to encourage any other procrastinators out there who keep putting off an important project. This helped me keep going despite numerous setbacks:

Don’t let your doubts and excuses rule you. Don’t overthink things. If you make mistakes at first, that’s just a natural part of the learning curve so let it go and try a different way toward your goal. Trust your gut with your choices going forward. Then take baby steps toward your new direction. When you meet new people to help you reach your goals, respect and appreciate their expertise in what they do. Even if you think of yourself as an introvert, try to relax and truly enjoy this new team effort.

Most importantly, let this sink in deep inside of you: You are worth it!




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