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On to the next phase

July 1, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen: I have no more interviews to transcribe. As of right now, every interview I have recorded for this project has been converted to text. It’s time to move on. There are still a lot of interviews I’d like to do, which means a lot more transcribing as well, but my focus has shifted.

The next step in the process is organizing this mountain of content. I have approximately 250,000 words to sift through. There was a time when I was organizing everything as I transcribed it, but I gave up on that long ago because it was just not efficient (it slowed down both the transcribing and organizing processes at once), and the parts I did organize were sorted into an outline quite different from the one I’m working with now.

But I feel much better about this step than I did about the transcribing. It’s now the third time (at least) that I’ll be seeing this stuff (first when I heard it originally, and then again when I transcribed it), so of course it’s not as fresh. But the nice thing about this part of the game is that it’s just copying and pasting into different parts of an outline, and that means I don’t need audio. I can do it on a train without bothering people. I can do it with my girlfriend sleeping next to me. I can do it with music playing or the TV on or a roommate shouting to me from another room. I am unstoppable.

(My laptop’s headphone jack, however, is quite stoppable. It hasn’t worked properly in a long while, which is why I haven’t been able to just wear headphones and transcribe anywhere noisy [like a coffee shop or with music playing] or anywhere I couldn’t make noise [e.g. Amtrak’s quiet car].)

The other fortunate thing is my recent discovery of Scrivener, which I mentioned in my last post. With 28 days remaining on my free trial, I’m already on board with buying the full version. The actual word processing element leaves a bit to be desired (at least as far as I’ve gotten with it), but I can always just export it to Word when I’m ready to polish it up. For my current needs, I’ve found its various organizational tools—from outlining to a virtual corkboard—are incredibly useful. And that’s just the stuff I’ve found with very limited tinkering. This almost feels like cheating.

Now, if I could only get myself a mouse, I’d really be cooking with gas.

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