With the horrific virus taking over the world, we all find ourselves locked in our homes, working and feeding children, ignoring house plants, and failing at grocery shopping, i.e. living without eggs. We still have coffee, so I keep going and try to avoid complaining too much. But what I’m definitely short of, more than ever, is time.
For months, when writing my second book, I kept thinking I should probably do something other than just write books. Writing books does nothing to attract readers. Anyone who’s done any indie publishing, knows this. To build an audience, you have to produce content and connect with people. This, for a writer, often means doing more writing. Writing blog posts, guest posts, articles, query letters…
Years ago, I used to do blogging, in my native tongue Finnish. I quite enjoyed it, describing the weird and wonderful things about New Zealand to my fellow Finns. I had a few readers, not all of whom I shared genetic material with. Some, I hadn’t even met. It felt pretty wonderful. But planning and producing the blog posts was a lot of work, that became unmanageable around the time we had our first child. And later, when I fell in love with screenwriting, and after that, novel writing, there was definitely no time for that. See, to be able to sit down at the computer, undisturbed, is rare. So rare in fact, that time like that is best spent writing books.
Now, I’m exploring a new way of communicating. Podcasts. I’d heard of them before, and sort of understood the concept. But it didn’t appeal to me. It felt like radio, except outdated. I thought, why would anyone listen to old radio? But then, after baby number two, I had to start moving again, to create some kind of routine that was doable with a baby. I started walking, with the baby. And if it was important to me before, in these lockdown days I walk like my life depends on it. Which it kind of does. And I’ve discovered, the only way I can make that walk different, every time, is to listen to something different.
I listen to Joanna Penn, Coronavirus NZ podcast, RNZ, Trevor Noah, The Self Publishing Show… And occasionally, try new ones to find something else interesting. It’s hands down the easiest, most relaxing way to absorb new information. Listening to a familiar voice of another human analysing, joking, recapping what’s happened in the world… it keeps me grounded. Unlike reading a news website with big, screaming headlines, I find it soothing. Even with a subject matter as upsetting as covid-19.
I know that producing a podcast on the level of the fore-mentioned professional ones takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a level I can’t reach with my limited time and skills at the moment, but it’s a medium I want to be in, something I want to practice. That’s why I’ve decided to start podcasting instead of just writing. Rather than an alternative, I see it as an extension of writing. Writing, but without the modern stuff – keyboards, fonts, the written alphabet…
To warm myself up, I’ve started podcasting random, meandering blabber for my family and few remaining friends in Finland, in Finnish. I can do this late at night, in the dark, without absorbing blue light that will ruin my sleep. Now that I’ve established how low I can set the bar in terms of technical knowledge, effort and the amount of blunders, I’m ready to tackle this in English. If the global crisis has taught me anything, it’s the life is too short to wait until you’re good enough to do something.
I’ll go as far as to predict that less-than-finessed podcasts will become a major form of communication in the coming months. Even ones that are created slightly out-of-breath, while walking and pushing a pram, which is what I’m eventually hoping to accomplish. I’m not a great multitasker, but there are many lulls during my lockdown days with my hands tied to tasks, but brain not occupied. Anything I do to connect with other humans, without staring at a screen, is a win.
So, if you’re that way inclined, please join me in producing podcasts in an unconventional way. Maybe, mine doesn’t have to be the only subpar one out there 🙂
Stay tuned… All the links will be on this website, and on social media.