Over the summer, I decided that I wanted to set some goals for myself about producing regular content to share with colleagues and “followers” on social media. One of the things I really like about the people I engage with via podcasts, newsletters, blogs, and other online formats is their consistency as well as the amount of content they produce. At that time, I was not blogging regularly and, although I was promoting a new book and releasing weekly podcast episodes produced through my work, I didn’t feel like I had formats to share some of the behind-the-scenes experiences of academia.
So I decided to start writing a weekly newsletter to help keep my writing muscles warm and to produce a weekly podcast on the side that would allow me to discuss some topics beyond the scope of my first podcast.
I admit, it was a little much, but I have a tendency to jump into things with both feet. I’m definitely a go big or go home kind of person.
But that’s not to say I wasn’t also nervous.
Once you start something like a podcast or newsletter, you really need to commit to producing regular content. I thought long and hard about whether I was ready to give my time in that way before I took the leap. I also thought long and hard about whether I had enough to say to fill those spaces with relevant and helpful information. Would my content be interesting and worthwhile enough for people to commit their time to reading or listening to it?
Part of what convinced me to start was when I thought about the future. I asked myself if whether a year from now I wanted to have 52 essays written, or none? Would I want to have 52 podcast episodes produced, or none?
When I put it to myself that way, the choice became easier.
I think we have a tendency to get in our own way. We overthink our projects and creative endeavors and talk ourselves out of them because we don’t think we have the capacity to keep up with the work. We worry more about the sacrifices than the potential positive outcomes. We make things bigger than they are. We make ourselves smaller than we are.
But the truth is, as I’ve written before, these things won’t get done unless we do them. We have more capacity for creating work — and creative work — than we think we do.
Since I’ve started, I haven’t missed a deadline yet. The podcast I produce is now also releasing two episodes a week. That means that I’m now putting out content, at minimum, four times a week: three podcast episodes between two shows and a weekly newsletter.
I’ve learned three important things through this process:
- These things are doable. I may be pushing against the limits of my creative capacity, but it’s been incredibly generative for me. I’m also having a lot of fun doing it.
- Producing content begets more content. When you share your ideas, people engage with them. They ask questions. They share stories. They give you ideas for more things that you want to talk about and share.
- Creativity is a lifestyle. It’s also a mindset and a way of framing your own identity as someone who produces things to share with other people.
Whether it’s blog posts, podcasts, tweets or something entirely different, what you regularly produce is definitely a commitment worth making.
To think on:
- In what areas of your work are you afraid of your (in)capacity to produce?
- What are you producing regularly? Where can I find your ideas?