Um, uh, you know, like

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

Earlier when the power went out for three and a half hours, I used the time to edit a podcast I'd recorded with a friend more than a month ago and had been sitting on. Most of the time when I record a podcast it is only me. I sit down, talk about five different bands, and then stop. After I cut out the large gaps of silence where was thinking about what to say about the next song the entire thing is maybe five minutes. I do a little bit of editing to cut out any egregious moments of awkwardness or long pauses, but for the most part I just make sure it sounds good and start to edit in the music.

This time, though, it had been so long since we'd recorded and we were a good six minutes over the normal length of my podcast, so I decided to go through the entire thing and cut unnecessary stuff as I went. I've gotta tell you, I was not expecting to discover just how stinking much I say, "Um." It's a lot. Like, a lot a lot. If it isn't um there is also a healthy peppering of "Uh," "you know," and the occasional "like." It's pretty awful.

I knew I filled in gaps with those annoying words, but going through a half an hour's worth of my speech over the course of several hours just threw a magnifying glass on exactly why I do it. When I talk my mind wanders ahead of my mouth and I get side-tracked. The "Um" fills the gap between the time I realize my brain has gotten off course and when I get it back on the path. That's pretty clear because the other annoying habit I have that makes for more editing work is leaving significant gaps in between words.

If I'm going to be recording and editing more talk-centric episodes of my podcast I really should learn to stop trying to fill in these gaps. My first idea was shock collar based but I'm not sure if that would help keep my brain on the right track. I'd likely just be thinking about getting shocked the whole time.

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