Transcribing isn’t writing…

unless you’re aiming for a Q&A.

The Q&A is a cheat-article. Honestly, all you need is a clever intro. And then you can pick and choose the interesting answers. (Ask a few provocative questions, and you’re bound to get a few interesting answers. Voila!) In fact, you get more answers than you have space for the Q&A. Not unless your interviewee is the surly type (and even then, you can use the surliness as a character trope.)

So for a Q&A, as you transcribe, you are already “writing.” Instant gratification.

I can write an article with just a few choice quotes; in news, sometimes, that’s all you’ve got. But for a feature? For a profile? It takes some more work.

Transcribing for your regular, narrative article is not as easy, not as quick. Especially if you’re the type, like me, who asks a ton of questions in the hope of understanding what makes a person tick.

Transcribing is actually repeating the entire conversation; it’s slower and not as fun.

At the end of this regurgitation, you don’t have a product as yet.

So yes, we writers dream of mass-produced, affordable, mechanical transcription. The software of our dreams. Our very own personal ‘bot. They still pay people for transcription, you know. It’s still an actual occupation.

That’s my job this fine Araw ng Kagitingan. Lots of transcription (one from a shoot earlier this morning). And God willing, some actual writing.

The heat makes me feel like there’s cotton stuffed in my head, so that if you grab hold of my ears and press, the stuffing will burst in streams of white fluff.

Oh, transcription. C’mon. Make my day.

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