One Year of Podcasting

img_1409Get ready for another self-agrandizing post where I describe the success of my podcast.

If you’ve ever listened to The Workshop Podcast, you know the above statement is not true. I don’t mean the podcast is terrible, it’s just not ‘successful.’ I can spend a extended amount of space describing how great my co-host is and how much I enjoy doing it, but I would need to know what success looks like in order to write a post like the one described above.  And yes, I know that success is what you make it and whatever other coined phrase you want to throw at me. Maybe a quote about success from Ford or something.

This post, however, will have nothing to do with success or lack thereof. Instead, I wanted to note a couple lessons I’ve learned from podcasting the last year. I’ve kept it fairly brief as I know you don’t have time to read a 2000 word white paper on the subject.

1. Podcasting is only as fun as you make it. 

If you don’t enjoy your podcast, the process of recording and editing, you will not continue to podcast. If you do not believe in your podcast, you will not continue to podcast. Like anything you do, if you do not enjoy it, you will not continue to do it.

2. Don’t Overbook Yourself

Podcasting amidst a busy schedule can become a drudgery if you let it. The schedules Matt and I have are very likely not as busy as your own might be. Even still, adding the process of recording, editing and posting your podcast to an already busy week can turn your podcast more into a chore than something you enjoy doing. It can zap the fun and even interest out of what you are doing. This also will eventually begin to affect your podcast. If you are no longer interested in your podcast, the podcast will suffer.

3. Pick Topics you are Interested in

Matt and I only choose to discuss topics we are interested in. Although we sometimes delve into some of the most pressing topics in culture, we often steer clear from them. This is largely due to the fact that we simply are not interested in covering something a thousand other people are talking or writing about. If you’re not interested in the topics, you can be disingenuous and typically are boring to listen to. Find what stirs your interest, not what you think the listeners want to hear.

4. Don’t Get Discouraged by Numbers

I honestly can’t tell you how many people listen to The Workshop Podcast. Maybe 5 people. Maybe 50 people. Maybe no one (Although, I’m fairly sure there’s at least 1 listener). It is so easy to become dissappointed that your podcast is not reaching the masses. Let me be honest…your podcast most likely will not have the same listenership as This American Life or even be in the top 100 downloaded podcasts. And that’s ok! As I’ve said several times already: Just enjoy what you create!

5. Love What you Create

I’ve alluded to this throughout the entire post. You must love what you create! Whether its writing, podcasting or whatever you create, you should love it. We tend to place more effort in what we like doing than what we don’t. The result is a product that is enjoyable for the listener. Take pride in what you create because you created it! This can make all the difference between a podcast that is lazily put together week after week and one that is uniquely crafted as your own podcast.

As Matt and I start another year of podcasting, there will be more lessons learned. There will be changes and tweaks to the way we record, the way Matt edits, and possibly the format of the podcast. Use the lessons you have learned to gradually make your podcast better. Learn from mistakes and continue to do what you know is working. Seek to create the best podcast you can. Both you and your listeners will appreciate it.

If you would like to listen to the culmination of a year of the The Workshop Podcast, you can do so on the link below.

The Workshop Podcast

 

Why I Love Podcasts and You Should Too

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When I’m working, I often need something to fill the quietness of the office. For a time, I filled the quietness with music. I’ve just joined the audiobook craze in the last couple of months. While I love both of these, unless you’re constantly discovering new music or have a streamining service (like Spotify), music can grow repetitive and audiobooks can be hit or miss.

Enter podcasts. For the past two and half to three years, podcasts have been an immense source of entertainment for me. They are attractive for several reasons:

  1. Podcasts cover almost any subject you can think of. If there is something you want to know more about or any topic you are interested in, you can find a podcast for that subject.
  2. Podcasts can range from 1 minute or can last several hours. Choosing a podcast can be as simple as finding one that fits in with the amount of time you have. Podcasts can fill your 30 minute commute time, your hour lunch, and some can last the entirety of your day if you desire.
  3. Each podcast has unique formatting. Some podcasts are interview based. Some are story-telling based. Some have a panel of hosts. Each of these formats provide a different ‘feel’ for the listener. Find which format or formats you love and which ones you’re not so fond of.
  4. They’re free. Whether you used Apple Podcasts or some other podcast catcher, you do not have to pay for podcasts. This may be the best thing about them. You can listen and learn and enjoy without affecting your pocketbook.

It’s hard for me to wite these next couple of sentences without sounding “self-promoting,” so here it goes. I have the wonderful experience of being behind the mic of my own podcast, The Workshop Podcast. This has only given me a greater love and appreciation for podcasting. There is the struggle to come up with ideas and to find your own voice (much like writing in fact). Even through the struggle, my co-host Matt and I enjoy having an outlet to discuss things that matter and things that, well, really don’t. We enjoy recording which only makes the experience that much better.

So if you’re on the fence about podcasting or if you’ve never listened to one, I’d encourage you to start listening. They can fit your schedule and provide wonderful alternative to music and audiobooks. If your looking for some suggestions, I’ve listed some of the podcast I listen to below.

The Happy Rant, Clinch: A Podcast of Fiction and Not-Fiction, Cultivated: A podcast about faith and work, Reply All, TED Radio Hour, Gut Check Podcast, Lore, Revisionist History, The Briefing

If you get the chance, give The Workshop Podcast a listen. You can download it on iTunes or you can find it in the link below.

The Workshop Podcast

Love of Place

img_1389In the previous post, I wrote about Place and its importance in our lives. A key to understanding Place is this:

God has divinely ‘placed’ us in our various contexts because He desires us to be there. 

If we take some time to unpack this statement, we would see that God has sovereignly ordained our current location. He has purposely placed us where we are. Meaning: He desires us to be where we are currently. God has placed us in the jobs, local body of believers, the cities, and the neighborhoods we reside in. It is not a mistake.

Unfortunately, I believe that many in my generation have found themselves more and more thinking that where they are not where they are meant to be. I will admit I have also found myself in this frame of mind at one point or another.

Being a father of a small infant in my in-laws house is nothing for anyone to be envious of. There is limited space, my wife and I rub shoulders daily with her mom and brother producing both positive and negative interactions, and privacy can be an issue at times. But these small nuisances are overshaddowed by the common grace of the place we call home. Not only are bills reduced to a minimum, we also have a family around us who can help us raise our son. We have a loving uncle and loving ‘grammy’ who can relieve tired parents when they just need a break. They can offer us advice and comfort the way we cannot offer each other. Even still, discontentment with where we are at can creep in.

As adults in our mid twenties with a small child, we still desire a house of our own. There was a point in time my wife and I were so desperate for a house that we nearly made the mistake of buying outside our means. We longed for a place of our own. It so happened that this was not what God wanted for us. He had another place in mind. He had a place much different than what we wanted.

I often wonder what would have been the result had we bought the house we were pursuing nearly two summers ago. Would it have worked out? I don’t know the answer. All I know is that where God has my wife and I currently is far better than anything we could have planned. He has showed us His grace. He has shown us His love. He has shown his mercy. God will continue to do so. He desires us to be where we are…in our in-laws house, in our mid twenties, with a infant child and I’m learning to love where we are at.

We must look beyond the immediate context and look towards an infinte one. Where God has you now is far greater than where you think you should be. This will alway be the case. There is something to love about where you are in life, in residence, and even in this moment.

 

 

 

 

Understanding Place

Place.

Just the word itself conjures up various images in my mind. Place is the house I spent almost 22 years of my life growing up in. Place is the room in which I spent hours building Lego’s and Lincoln Logs. It is the pond behind my house where I would fish with friends and skate on during the colder winter months.

But Place is more than this. Place also involves time. It involves the people you interact and share yourself with. It involves the little nuances that make each space unique. Place is a unique, God-given space. Thats right…place is God-given.

For this reason, Place is something that should have value in our lives. If God has put us where we are, in a particular place and time, He has done it with purpose. He has set you in this Place in His Divine Wisdom. There was no mistake.

When you and I see Place as an act of Divine Wisdom, we can begin to understand why ‘where we are’ is so important. We begin to see why discontentment is so dangerous. We begin to see purpose. Place is important because it is important to God. Therefore, since it is important to God, it should be important to us as well.

I was recently asked to write a paper which I analyzed and described a particular place. This included the people, the location and a slew of other details which would bore you if I wrote them here. As I read through the syllabus, something surprised me. One of the criteria read as follows:

“The student described his other selected context in a manner that artfully reflected the beauty and common grace present in that place.”

The beauty and common grace present in that place. Stop and think about this phrase. There is beauty and common grace where we are currently. In the midst of what may appear to be “the worst place you or I could possibly be,” there, even there, beauty and common grace abounds. We just can’t see it because we haven’t spent the time looking for it.

Have we looked at our present Place searching for beauty and common grace? Do we value the context in which we have been currently placed?

Flashing Lights

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Millennials are obsessed with fame.

This may sound like a massive stereotype of my generation, but I know it’s true. We all in some capacity desire to be in the spotlight.

I understand that this comes in all forms and in all arenas of life. Some of us dream of giving big speeches in front of large crowds. Some of us want to make it big in music, selling out stadiums with everyone singing along to our songs. Some of us simply want recognition for the work we do on a regular basis at work or at home.

Is there a problem with this? No. There’s no problem with us dreaming big and imagining impacting large amounts of people. Unfortunately, this really isn’t our final goal. My first sentence is so true; many of us are obsessed. Think of that word for a minute. Obsessed. It means “a domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image desire, etc.” Therefore, if we’re obsessed with fame, it has dominated our thoughts and feelings, which ultimately carry over to our actions. If we’re obsessed with fame, then we do everything out of a desire to make a name for ourselves.

Millennials may struggle with this obsession more than the generations before us and the struggle may be even greater for the generations that follow. But for now, we know that millennials are actively in pursuit of things that will make our names known. With access to the internet in our generation, we have seen the obsession grow. We make mediocre YouTube profiles and videos hoping to rack up views. We post pictures of our food and coffee on our Instagram pages. We display moment-by-moment updates of the party we thought would be “so cool,” on Snapchat. And now, we can “go live” on Facebook to record that one time we sat down with friends for dinner. We even like our own posts in order to get that one extra like which boosts our “numbers.”

But what is this doing to us? Well, it’s making us more narcissistic to start. If you listen to anyone from outside our generation talk about millennials, it’s not full of positive remarks. Rather, what I hear is about how selfish we are. They think we’re out for ourselves. They think we’re looking to do not what is best for the collective, but what will benefit us the most. In many ways, they’re not far off from the truth. If I sit back and ponder why I do what I do, I conclude that much of it’s for me. The collective good seems to disappear behind my desires, my wants, and my needs. Social media and the pursuit of fame have only created in us a greater desire to love ourselves rather than other people. It has created in us tenacity for stepping on top of those who get in our way. It has created hearts and minds seeking their own attention rather than giving the glory elsewhere. We’ve become glory hoarders. So what do we do about it?

I’m not proposing we stop using social media, nor am I trying to say I’m anti-platform. Social media can be good if used correctly. What I’m calling for is some self-awareness. We need to look within ourselves and ask why we’re seeking fame. Is it for our personal benefit? Are we selfishly hoping to build our platform around ourselves without looking to aid others? Are we manipulating the gifts and talents of others in order to reach our goals? Are we forgetting or denying who we truly are in the process of gaining glory and fame? All of these questions are worth asking ourselves. And perhaps we’ll come to realize that the daily grind to attain fame really isn’t worth it at all.