What if? What if I had said yes to that opportunity? What if I had been willing to take that risk? Those questions plague most of us. Right now, I'm at a fork. Like the song by the Clash, should I stay or should I go? Should I stay, mired in my routine... or should I go off in a new direction with a couple of friends?
Currently, I have a fragmented life. My writing has left me stuck on the side of the road, in a ditch. My teaching has shifted to working with graduate students, like it does every summer. My college teaching is easy, and reenergizes me, so it's in no way problematic. There's things in my personal life that need smoothing over. Here's where the stay or go part comes in...
A couple of friends have an idea of taking a simple, once-a-year storytelling event, and expanding upon it. They're talking about something (a platform? a website? something that can be subscribed to, for sure) that would be a leap for all three of us. However, my mind is already whirling.
On this platform/website, we could have podcasts. Vodcasts. Themed sets of storytelling sessions. Mini workshops. The possibilities are endless. I have a dear friend who lost her daughter, son-in-law and baby granddaughter in a horrific way, due to postpartum psychosis. I could chat with her in a vodcast, and shed some light on that form of mental illness. I'm adopted. My half-sister is adopted. I know people who are birth parents. I have a friend who adopted two handsome young boys. A vodcast/podcast (or two... or three) could focus on different adoption perspectives. Also, I'd love the chance to share some of the great writing ideas other people have gifted to me. My brain is getting dizzy... but sometimes, dizzy is good.
Yes, it would require extra work. And yes, it would require all three of us to dive into waters of unknown depth. There's so many things we'd have to learn. We'd stumble. But what if this endeavor evolves into something magical? What if? What if I say no... and years later, I wonder? And regret.
I have a writing friend, Renee Roberson. She is obsessed with true crime stories. She frothed at the mouth and pinched herself, thinking it was too good to be true when she got to go to MurderCon, a writing conference that focused on crime. (Her favorite workshop session was "Buried Bodies." That sounds like the perfect class to attend right before bedtime ;) Renee has a lulling, hypnotic voice, writing talent oozing out of her ears, and she had a dream.
What if she started her own podcast? Would she have an audience? She had no experience doing podcasts. Would she fall flat on her face?
Thankfully, Renee took the leap. Her podcast, Missing in the Carolinas, is incredible. Her love of true crime, combined with her writing talent and her wonderful voice, converged in a phenomenal way.
I am not thinking that if Renee can do it, so can I, because my knowledge of technology is 157% less than hers. (Yes, I know a little about math, and that is not an incorrect percentage.) However, I look at the leap she made, the courage she had... and perhaps I can jump into something new--as long as I can hold hands with a couple of other newbies.
How about you? Did you have the chance to dream big? If so, how did it end up?
About-to-make-the-move Sioux wants to know.
Sioux Roslawski is middle school teacher, a National Writing Project teacher-consultant, a freelance writer, and the uber proud author of Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story. In her spare time, she rescues dogs for Love a Golden. You can see more of Sioux by checking out her blog.
Sioux--This is the loveliest post ever. I've had a crap week (and Covid, to boot) and this really cheered me up as I was wandering around my house this week saying I'm never going to make any more progress on the podcast with all my deadlines and day job pressure! I think this sounds like an amazing venture with your friends. It sounds like you'd have no problem putting a content strategy in place, and don't be intimated by the tech. I'm still intimidated by it, which is why I finally bit the bullet for someone else to design my podcast website and I’m slowly trying to talk myself into doing more videos for MIC. Do it! It will be more rewarding than you all think.
I took a risk once and submitted my first professional piece. Then I did it again, and again, . . . I think every time I submit something it is a risk and I'm not a risk taker. But I am a published writer. That's what comes from taking that leap.ReplyDelete
I did take another risk once when I took on a writing job I wasn't sure I was ready for. It was much harder than I expected. The editor was a real pain and practically rewrote my entire piece. That editor hadn't really communicated want they needed but I was paid well and I won't work for that person again. A lesson, I guess.
Thanks for sharing. That was a risk, too.
Renee--The cherry on top of this idea? One of my trio has a daughter who sets up OTTs (I found out today THAT is what they're called) so she will take care of the tech... or at least get us started.ReplyDelete
Give yourself a break. Maybe you just need to catch your breath... and then keep slogging forward (said Sioux, who has been catching her breath for months). Getting help to design your website sounds like a wonderful idea. You had the idea for Missing in the Carolinas, you got to a certain point with YOUR tech knowledge, and now you've outgrown it. You've got the research talent. The writing talent. The vocal talent. Let somebody who has the tech/design talent do what they do best... so you can do what you do best.
Even though I have been MIA from the Butt Kickers for quite some time, I still care about y'all. Stop wandering. Light somewhere (a couch with a blanket. A chair with a good book. A desk with a novel-in-the-making sitting on top of it.) Get your chin up. Do what you need to do to rejuvenate/re-energize... and keep on keepin' on (as Gladys Knight and the Pips sang ;)
Andrea--I tried to email you, thinking you probably would not come back here, but I couldn't manage to send you a message. Yes, a lesson learned. Good for you--that you recognized what you will and what you won't put up with when it comes to editors.
Being a published writer is a heady thing, isn't it? Congratulations. And thanks for leaving a comment.
I saw on your profile you enjoy reading nonfiction cat books. You've probably already read this, but in case you haven't--Willie Morris' book "My Cat Spit McGee" is a good one. It's been decades since I read it, and it's not quite as poignant as his dog one (My Dog Skip) but it's worth the read (I think).
Sioux, In 2010, a friend and I decided on a whim to start a small publishing house. We were the very epitome of the Fool in a tarot deck, believe me. Every day some new problem/mistake/challenge/opportunity presented itself. When we retired the press eleven years later, we'd published some NYT bestselling authors, published a major award-winning novel, and had more fun than we could possibly have expected. Clearly, then, I'm encouraging you to take that leap. I hope your adventure is as rewarding as ours was.ReplyDelete
Deborah-Zenha--The list of things you accomplished... AND it was fun? How luck you and your friend were.ReplyDelete
I'm posting again on Monday, and delving a bit deeper, since I know a little more. It's a done deal, I think. The three of us are all in. We just have to dip our toes in... and then take a dive (and hopefully not belly-flop).
Thanks for the comment and the encouragement.
Sioux, your new platform/website sounds awesome, and I think you should go for it! Sixteen years ago I had a dream of forming an ezine and community for women writers. I was freelancing full-time and didn't have to think twice. I made the leap. There wasn't a lot online back then, so it was fairly easy to get noticed and garner an audience. I've learned so much over the years, but the most important tip I can share with you is to incorporate a revenue stream or two right out the gate. The number one reason websites and journals fold is not having that in place. You will be spending a lot of time in the beginning, more time than you can ever imagine, working on the site, tech, content, marketing, outreach, subscriptions, growing, etc., so having that in place, plus some kind of financial cushion, will help until you can grow your audience. The other thing I'd encourage you to do, just because there is so much out there online already, is really drill down who your audience is and target a niche. You mentioned various vodcasts you want to do, and I'd encourage you to come up with a unifying theme. I didn't do that, and instead focused on creating a brand, which is a must, too, and I targeted a broader niche, but it's so broad that it limits the opportunities and engagement. Some things to consider. I think anything creative you are excited about is worth giving a shot! It sounds like you have great support with your partners, and that's the best part! Working with others creatively to achieve your dreams.ReplyDelete
What an amazing opportunity to work with friends and build a platform. I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to see your column tomorrow.
Angela--I honed in your "drill down" advice. Like, I love dogs and dog rescue... I love to zentangle... I love series like Ozark and Better Call Saul. I love Chuck Palahniuk books. However, those have nothing to do with women over 30. So, I'll keep my side interests outside of the OTT.ReplyDelete
Maybe you should consider teaching a class about how you built what you built. (Or maybe you already did?)
Sue--I am quickly learning what I don't know... and it's a lot. ;) I started a shared doc for all three of us, and it's full of MY questions. Questions jotted down so I don't forget when it's time to ask them/research them.
Time will tell...
You are on to something that will make a difference in peoples' lives. Happy you took on this project.ReplyDelete