From Reviewing to Recording: A How To Guide For Creativity in 2024 by Kate O’Brien

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Kate O'Brien

Kate O'Brien

Introducing Your Book or Mine? a new book club podcast that I have co-created and will co-host alongside fellow book lover Seán Powney. We will discuss different books, ranging from classics to modern reads. There will be something for everyone to enjoy. 

Follow us on Instagram @yourbookorminepod to join the book club!

You can listen to our monthly episodes on Spotify.

As the launch date approaches, I have created a guide for anyone who wishes to explore creative outlets in 2024. If you have ideas, but don’t know where to start, keep reading.

Let’s start with how to write reviews. You can start with a pen and paper.

Before you write any review, ask yourself why am I writing? What do I want to say? Who is this for?

When you know what you want to say, and more importantly why you want to say it, putting pen to paper becomes much easier. Did a book move you? Have you been unable to forget a movie? If you have creative thoughts that you’re eager to express, that is reason enough to write that review.

If you’re struggling to begin, start with the basics.

What is the title? Is it a book, a poem, or a movie?

Who wrote it? Who published it? When was it published? What was it about?

Start with the basics, then you can write in detail about things you enjoyed or perhaps things you hated. If you’re talking about a book, you can explore characters, or discuss the author’s style. For example, if you’re reviewing a classic by Charles Dickens, you might discuss his vividly descriptive writing style. If you’re discussing a movie, you might explore different techniques that were used and what you thought of them. For example, Dutch angles are used in Die Hard which adds tension to certain scenes.

With each review you write, you will feel more confident about expressing your opinions. In time, you will naturally develop your own writing style. You may choose to write in a fun, casual way, or you can heavily research to create a more academic piece. It’s up to you, that’s the fun part!

When it comes to publishing reviews, this can be trickier.

I used WordPress to create Katelovesliterature.com. It is a website that allows users to build their own websites. There are similar platforms that you may prefer. I found using WordPress easy as I chose templates that I liked and I personalised it from there.

A website isn’t essential. You can use other forms of social media. I think creating a public Instagram account is the easiest thing to do. It’s free and easy to follow the steps in the app. Once your profile is ready, you can post your reviews whenever you want, or you can use Instagram to highlight your website, for example, see how I use @katelovesliterature.

Creating a Podcast 

Creating a podcast is more challenging because you will need equipment.

You will need a device for recording, preferably a desktop. A microphone, some use their devices to record (phones/laptops etc.), but for better sound quality it is preferable to use a microphone. Editing software. It’s important to edit the audio files so that you’re happy with the quality. Editing also ensures that the podcast is entertaining for listeners.

Some people choose not to edit, but I think unedited content only works well in live environments. When it comes to ensuring high quality audio, editing out noises that may have occurred during recording, adding some intro music etc., is a no brainer. There are many ways to edit that are beginner friendly.

My favourite app to use for editing is CapCut. I use it on my phone or laptop. Seán, my co-host, prefers Audacity, which he uses on his laptop.

It’s important to consider that creating a podcast can cost money. Speaking from experience, we already owned desktops and laptops, and we’ve been using programmes such as CapCut and Audacity for a while now due to other work we do, so the only items we needed to purchase were microphones.

As a team, we discussed our budget. The decision to buy new microphones was made because we really want this new venture of ours to be the best it can possibly be. If you’re thinking about creating a podcast, sitting down to budget is essential, especially if you need to purchase more than one piece of equipment.

To keep this guide beginner friendly, I’ve outlined four key things to consider when creating a podcast.

Repetition: Am I repeating myself too much? Will listeners get tired of hearing the same thing over and over?

Interruptions: Do you have a co-host? Are you talking over each other or interrupting each other? This can make the audio hard to listen to and hard to follow.

Noises: Are there distracting noises in the audio? For example, does a phone go off? Does a dog bark? These are sounds that are unpleasant for listeners as they interrupt the flow of the conversation. If these interruptions cannot be edited out, you will need to record this section again. The new recording needs to then be edited into the original file.

Clarity: Is what you’re talking about clear? Can you follow your own conversation when you listen to it? Do you think others will be able to follow along in their own homes? If you’re presenting information, have you done so correctly? If you’re confused or unclear when listening to the audio then you may need to record again, as clarity is the most important thing to consider when you’re creating a podcast. Listeners need to be able to clearly understand what you’re saying when they tune in so they can enjoy your podcast.

With these tips in mind, have fun and enjoy the creative process, as it can be wonderful.

(c) Kate O’Brien

Your Book or Mine? launches on January 26th 2024 on Spotify.

About the author

Kate O’Brien is a literary reviewer, an editorial assistant, and an interviewer of authors. She has wanted to create a literary podcast for a while, and she is delighted that she has found the perfect person to collaborate with. She is looking forward to the launch of Your Book or Mine? Coming to Spotify on January 26th 2024.

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