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For Writers: Frustration, Pauses, & Momentum

Frustrated while writing?

From Neurosciencenews.com:

People can unlock their creative potential and reach new heights of achievement by embracing irritation and using it as a tool to inspire fresh ideas and methods. This assumption can lead to interesting implications for the application of potential strategy-based findings in practice, such as education, industry, and politics, particularly when creativity and innovation are necessary. Nevertheless, creativity tasks are rarely systematically compared, therefore, further research is required in this respect.

While experiencing dissatisfaction can be frustrating, it can also be a strong catalyst for invention and creativity. “To sum up, we must encounter unpleasant consequences, but if we handle them differently and turn them into a motivator for our persistence, we may unleash our creative potential,” said Khalil.

The art of the Pause is why AI won’t take your job?

From Publishers Weekly:

“You won’t be needing your studios any more in a year or two,” said the agent to me. “All my clients are going to be reading in their home studios.” That was three years ago, and lockdown had just started. But I needn’t have worried. Three years down the line, the Strathmore Studios are as busy as ever.

But now, apparently, I should be worrying about computers that can read using text-to-speech or TTS. It won’t be long, I’m told, before most audiobooks are generated by computer.

The lockdown did have an effect, but it wasn’t to remove the need for studios. It was to change the mix of work that we do. Over the last ten years or so it has become standard in the audiobook industry to recruit for lead titles readers who have made a name in film or television. Mid- or back-list books, which require a competent and effective reader but don’t demand the marketing clout of a “name” are indeed increasingly recorded in home studios, but our studios are occupied by authors and high-profile readers, both of whom need the convenience and support of a professional environment.

In the same way, I’m confident that studios like Strathmore will also survive the “threat” from TTS.


I once asked the consummate audiobook reader, the late Andrew Sachs, how he approached reading. “I want the writer to be noticed, not me. It’s like the background music in a film. You shouldn’t notice it, but it should have an effect on you…. I use the pauses to indicate reaction. Audio is a sound medium, not a speech medium.”

Likewise, classical pianist Artur Schnabel was once asked what he thought was his particular skill. “I handle the notes no better than many pianists,” he replied. “But the pauses between the notes–ah, that is where the art resides.” And we all know the phrase “comic timing.”

TTS is almost universal now on devices that readers use for e-books, so given that enlightened publishers routinely unlock the TTS facility, there is far less problem of accessibility than a few years ago. There nevertheless remains a demand for academic audiobooks, and TTS may become the norm for these. But for storytelling and entertainment, I believe, our audiences will always want the added subtleties of human inflection.

Find ways to keep your writing momemtum going

person running on road at daytime
Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

The importance of momentum to a writer can’t be understated.

I need to feel like I’m moving along. A good steady speed that doesn’t compromise quality is possible.

One way I keep the momentum going is to always write new words on a new project every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

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