Over editing

What the hell is over editing??? When we begin, we think and speak more quickly than is “natural” for the audio space. This is generally a trap for new players.

Guilty again. My first episode, recorded, edited and then forwarded to Rich for a listen. He very politely suggested that it was a little bit staccato. I waited a day, re-listened. It was choppy, it was like a machine gun delivery. Nothing like the flow of natural speech. So back to the recorder and a redo. I’m sure the second editing wasn’t that much better but it was better.

I’ll be covering continual improvement in an upcoming post. Removing the actions leading to over editing was my first area of continual improvement.

As with all these things, we can be pendulum like in our reactions. Too long a gap between sentences can also become excessive gaps between phrases. We can also run out of breath in odd places in our speech. These are things requiring an edit. As are things like coughs and sneezes.

Umms and ahs are a different matter. Here the art of editing kicks in. As a rule of thumb, remove all the umms and ahs. In reality, these can be left in occasionally. If your guest is on a stream of consciousness roll or just being very passionate about their area of expertise, then interrupting the flow to remove these “glitches” can be destructive of their flow.

This is, of course, a matter of choice. Some guests expect to be polished up in the editing process, others are fine to be “natural” and finding the balance comes with time.

We can assume, as a general rule, we will over edit to begin with. Be aware of this and consciously decide to allow what feels like excess gaps between sentences. Fix any “unnatural” gaps within sentences and then stop editing.

A good way to build a rule of thumb is to grab a text, newspaper, blog post, novel, it really doesn’t matter. Record yourself reading it. Now go to the gaps and check how long they actually are in your editor. There should be a timeline , usually along the top but it may be on along the bottom. Measure your gaps. There you have your rule of thumb for gaps in your audio files.

Another way to do this is to “secretly” record a conversation. Then follow the same exercise. Do the umms and ahs detract from the conversation? Are they a natural part of speech? Decisions must be made. Welcome to editing!


  • Over editing is a trap for new players
  • Observe, record, listen
  • Setup a rule of thumb for the gaps in natural speech
  • Be gentle with yourself, you will get better at editing