For me now, at this point in my life, writing and thinking are co-continuous. I type between 55-60 words per minute – the speed of thought.
Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2023/04/22/301-2314-speed-of-thought/
Speed of Thought
When I woke up this morning I had today’s script all written and edited. I’d even completed what I call ‘the word count edit’. The final pass that shapes the text, so when spoken, it will fit inside of 5 mins and 1 seconds. But with clearer eyes in the pale morning light, I wasn’t feeling it.
Late last year I made an episode about stepping away from noise. I promised myself that I would be the sort of person in 2023 who steps away from things that are meaning-less and towards things that are meaning-full.
All the episodes I’ve made so far this year have been, to me at least, meaning-full. The episode I’d written for today wasn’t necessarily meaning-less, but it definitely wasn’t full of meaning. It was objectively just a thing I wrote.
This is the 228th episode of permanently moved. I’ve been writing, recording and editing this show weekly since 2018. It was (I think) around episode 100 that Huw Lemmey asked me “when do you think ‘columnist brain’ kicks in?” I’m sure you know what that phrase implies: When will I say something provocative, have a contrarian take, or write some drivel just because I’m on a deadline.
I don’t think I’m there just yet. This show only requires one good idea a week. Good ideas aren’t hard to come by. It’s the execution that’s hard. Which is why, today’s episode instead of being a show I’m not stoked about is a creative reprise of an old good idea. One I had 228 episodes ago.
Why not make the show in one hour?
I am as a type I’m sensing a seat of the pants adrenaline rush.
Ever since the early days of this show I’ve always done two or max three takes. One to get the mouth feel, one to record. Maybe a third that’s a different type of spoken performance. But since I have a video version of the show to mess about with – and video takes so much longer to wrangle than audio – this episode is going to be a one take wonder. I need more time at the back end of production.
Despite all the meditation I’ve done, I do still have an inner monologue. I still hear words in my head, but they are the clearest only when I need them – which is when I’m writing. For me, now, at this point in my life, writing and thinking are co-continuous. I type between 55-60 words per minute – the speed of thought.
I hear the words in my head like I’m speaking them. They travel down my arms, through my fingers via the keys and they appear on the screen. Because of the self imposed deadline, I have no time to ponder over phrasing, or be choosy with the words I am thinking.
There is only forward.
It occurs to me as a type that the words you will hear me speak aloud, are essentially, a dramatic reproduction of the unspooling of this train of thought. A thought I had just 15 mins ago. What if I throw away the pedestrian thing and make something more alive, something more meaning-full. What if I made the show inside of one hour?
I will admit, I just checked my word count. We’re 560 words in, just 400 words left to go. I notice I touched back on the inciting incident intorduced 5 paragraphs above. Because I sensed intuitively that I’m about halfway through. I have no idea where this is going, but writing is thinking so I just need to keep writing to find out.
I made an episode – I don’t remember when, there are so many of them now – about how I think of this show as a container or a vessel. 950 words equals 301 seconds. This is a medium I have chosen to master. Sensing I was halfway through comes naturally to me now. The question is, and I know how this works, will another idea come along in the next 40- 50 words to transform the show’s shape from an A/B format – introduction and idea, into a more pleasing 3 act structure?
Perhaps that was it? – a comment on structure as the beginning of the third act.
As I said earlier, writing is thinking. So we just witnessed in real time an example of the structure of thought. The 3rd act (I think) is called the resolution, It’s also supposed to contain a climax. Which is difficult as I’m not particularly in a climactic mood. I’m in a doing mood.
The clock says I’ve been typing for 14 mins. For you the listener this is the 3rd act. But for me it’s still the opening. After this I have to record and edit. This is the nature of this one hour drama we are engaged in.
20 mins of thinking with my fingers will come out as 5 mins of audio. I speak at 4x the speed that I think. I make a mental note to slow down when speaking aloud in daily life.
I wonder now if the authorial voice of this episode will sound any more or less different from my other shows? It is certainly more genuine. Completely unfiltered. I enjoy writing and thinking like this. If you like hearing it, let me know.
This exercise makes me wonder, no.. inspires me to blog more.
My sentences are becoming bitty….
This thought has clearly run out of steam.
Time to record.
The script above is the original script I wrote for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the episode in the edit.
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