When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.
Then I transcribe the tape or have it transcribed by someone. Getting every word right isn’t as important as having something on paper for each sentence that’s been said, because to make radio stories, you edit by the sentence. For some reason in the radio biz we don’t call these transcripts, we call them tape logs.
Then I print out the log and mark it up. Every possible quote I might use, I write a letter next to, A, B, C, etc. As I do this, on a single piece of paper, I make a list for myself of the quotes. So when I’m done, there’s not just the tape log, there’s a piece of paper with tiny handwriting on it, listing the quotes “A - he describes the old house, B - what it was like the moment he came home, C - his sister warned him,” etc. Any quote that’s especially promising gets an asterisk. Any quote I’m sure I cannot tell the story without gets two asterisks.
The point of this is that it gets all this inchoate material—the sound you’ve gathered—into a form where you can see it all on one page. You see all your options. It’s in a form where your brain can start to organize it. Also, writing the list sort of inserts all the quotes into quick-access RAM memory in your head in a helpful way. I find that the important first step to writing anything or editing anything (half of my day each day is editing) is just getting the possible building blocks of the story into your head so you can start thinking about how to manipulate it and cut it and move it. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work
I realized that no matter how much I loved racing or how hard I trained, at some point a race is going to really suck. It is how I reacted to this moment that determined everything. […] Treat pain like an old friend. It’s not that you enjoy suffering, but when you accept it as a moment that signifies that you are pushing yourself and advancing toward your goal, then you have begun to approach pain management from the right direction. […] No longer deny that you can train hard enough to avoid pain during a race or somehow prevent it from coming. Just accept now that it is part of the process and look forward to that moment. I have found the most successful pain strategy for me involves self-talk and a checklist. […] You run down the list, and by the time you get to the end of it, the finish line is a close, encouraging reality.
Your body is not that smart. It will begin to do anything your mind tells it to do, so make sure you continue to treat the entire experience like something that you control. Never lose control of your mind when things get really tough. Endorphins will kick in after a while and suddenly you’re back in the game. Chris McCormack: Embrace The Suck