Sunday nights are usually my radio editing nights. I love being at the station then, everything is tranquil, a lot of the lights have been shut off and the place seems more muted. I pile all my things in Production 2, my favourite studio to edit in, and pull up whatever sound files I happen to be working with.
The process always feels very meditative to me. I'm going through a conversation between two people and making everything cleaner and sharper, pulling out sections where someone stumbled over their words, or slurped a bit too loudly from their mug. My mic has even picked up people's stomachs grumbling during interviews. At the same time I don't want to take too much out. I leave in most of the "um's" and "uh's." I leave in an author thunking their book down on the table after a particularly satisfying reading. These are the things, the little irregularities in sound, that make the interview sound more natural and human.
I like noticing the way the conversations appear visually as waves, the different ways a word can look depending on how it's pronounced. And I enjoy the balancing act of cutting a particularly tricky bit out of a piece of speech and knitting it back together again. How many seconds of silence does it need to have between when reconnecting to make it sound natural? I listen, and adjust, and listen again.
I was pretty much a complete amateur when I started helping out with Writer's Block. I'd done a bit of sound editing on GarageBand for a Digital Humanities course I took, but other than that it was completely new to me. I still am an amateur with much to learn, and as I learn I try to apply that learning to the show. I listen to podcasts of shows I admire and pay attention to the ways that they structure sound, the complex layers of narrative they've woven together. And I take note of the things I can scavenge for my own use for when I find myself in the studio, headphones clamped over my ears, eyes squinting at the screen, cutting and splicing and adjusting levels, making every writer I interview sound as good as I possibly can.