Taking the Plunge (or Why I Gave up on my Podcast, for now.) 

I decided on a whim about six weeks ago to make a push on my podcast’s Facebook page to invite people to “like” my podcast. I have often said that the value of social media exposure is dubious at best, but I had a real-world experiment here to test that with. I hadn’t recorded a podcast episode in quite some time, and I was overwhelmed to find out that well over 100 of my friends decided that they were going to “like” my page. Look at all the exposure I got overnight! Look at all the people who wanted to actually tune into “who cares if you listen?” The title of my podcast in and of itself is very defensive, an homage to the late Milton Babbitt. Yet without telling you what exactly my listener metrics are, I can tell you that receiving dozens of “likes” for my podcast resulted in basically nobody new listening to the damn thing. So, if the idea was to get myself an endorphin rush, obviously Facebook is the way to go as they have mastered that particular craft. But in terms of creating whatever the hell people call it these days, engagement, listenership, content promotion…completely and utterly useless. 

But that’s not what this blog entry is about. And it’s also not why I stopped recording episodes. When I first started doing the podcast back in August of 2020, I had made a conscious decision to start winding down my law practice, and I needed something—maybe without even knowing it consciously at the time—that would gobble up all of my creative energies, give me something to obsess over, and a place to kind of get lost in my thoughts while dealing with a lot of annoying and stressful life events. 

In April of this past spring, I took a job with a law firm based out of Montreal, and to make a long job description short, I give people legal advice over the phone and I’m not in charge of billing them. Obviously, the stories and the names involved are completely confidential, so don’t try and coax anything out of me, but in a weird kind of way my job is like doing 7 to 8 podcast episodes a day. I get to have a conversation with someone that I would ordinarily never speak to, get presented a little vignette into their life story, and I try my best to offer some sort of useful feedback that they can walk away with. That’s very satisfying for me, because I don’t have to deal with all of the horrible minutiae that came with clients in private practice: namely begging them for money, being constantly in a battle with the Kafkaesque design of our court system, and fighting with opposing counsel who like to pick fights for the sake of picking fights. No really. These are people that have been groomed and trained in such a way as to be wholly uncooperative and difficult whenever possible. I keep some of these people on his Facebook friends, and I see the obstinate way they argue over things that they know nothing about, and it reminds me that I don’t miss any part of that job. despite tacitly being part of my job description in a former life, I don’t enjoy conflict and I don’t enjoy taking on other peoples’ conflict as my own cause, like some sort of mercenary in battle. 

But see, I’m very happy with what I’m doing during the daytime now, and I find that it mirrors a lot of the things that I enjoyed when I was podcasting. Obviously, there’s a big difference between doing a podcast with people that you seek out and consider interesting, and having random people phone you up and ask for legal advice. But I feel like they’re similar enough that whatever itch was being satiated by the podcast, I’m scratching it well enough during the day. Do I really want to cannibalize sleep after I put the boys in bed, to do something later night that mirrors what I do during the day, and then spend hours upon hours in the following week editing it?  

And so here I am today, dictating blog entries, just for something with a little bit more of a comfortable pace. and I keep thinking about writing a novel, or doing a web comic, or doing some sort of other tangible, creative outlet but really allows me to let my artistic side shine. But I can’t just seem to…get it into gear, if you know what I’m saying. 

A friend of mine—for the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him “Marhad Ferabzadeh”—called me out for giving up on my podcast. He told me it was the first thing he saw in my life where I actually dedicated myself and had diligent focus in trying to put out an episode every week or so, and was consistent in following up with it. And now I gave that up. Of course, that cut deep. What does that say about me? What does that say about my work ethic? Am I just a lazy loser who can’t commit to anything that is worthwhile or meaningful? 

To be sure, I can never discount that possibility. But I’d like to think I’m at the point in my life where I’m past shaming myself for not doing things that I feel at some objective, hustle porn level, I “ought to be doing.” it’s not a healthy way to live, and it’s clearly not helpful to me. Why did I create the podcast when I did in 2020, and not 10 years prior, when podcasts were a big up and coming thing and I objectively had way more free time on my hands without having kids or a wife or a job? Because it spoke to me and it fulfilled a need that I had at the time. It initially started as a journaling exercise that my therapist suggested to me, and the thought of just sitting down and writing my thoughts in a book sounded so exhausting and unpleasant. I asked him if I could record it. He said sure. And then when I decided to start recording it, I figured, “Why don’t I invite somebody along so it’s not just me talking into a friggin broom closet all by myself?” And lo and behold it became a podcast. 

So, when I think about other artistic projects that I could potentially take on—and Lord knows I’ve thought of a dozen—part of me just has to trust that I’m going to get to it when the time is right. I certainly am able to do things to nudge myself in the right direction, and there are often moments where I nudged myself into exercising or cleaning up after myself where I feel objectively better after the fact, and I’m glad that I pushed myself into it. But that’s a much different energy than telling myself to keep going with a project when something is clearly not right about it. If I want to write a novel, I need to find that time that’s right to write a novel. National novel writing month is coming up in November, maybe now is the time to kind of tackle it. But if now is not the right time, then maybe later. Maybe never. And that needs to be OK too. Until I can just learn to be OK sitting in the basement, playing bullet chess without any trophies or accolades besides my name, none of the things I do are ever going to be good enough, and I’m never going to feel like I’m good enough. 

If you want to listen to my back catalogue of podcast episodes, God love ya for it. They’re located here, or most of the online podcast services that you would use.

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