There are some projects that are meticulously planned, thought through and carefully crafted. And then, there’s the kind of idea that slaps you in the face and demands to be executed straight away. Who am I to argue with such spirit? When inspiration knocks, sometimes you just have to go with it and let go of expectations, for the pure pleasure of exploring something new. This podcast demanded a quick birth.
For the love of voices
I’ve been wanting to start a podcast for a very long time. The musician in me has always had a huge soft spot for anything auditory. I remember the voice of my Grade 2 teacher when she read out of her textbook. The delicious mix of post-lunch apathy, a proximity to the warm heaters and a soft afternoon light would melt with her soft-spoken words, sending shivers up my spine all the way to the top of my head. I have no idea what she was reading about, mostly because I didn’t pay much attention to what was being said (sorry mom), I was absorbed in how it was delivered. This may have been my first encounter with mindfulness. Since then, voices a have always had an almost sacred aspect to me. Hence my love for podcasts.
I listen to a lot of them, not only for the information but for the human connection they create. You could argue it is a bit of a one-way connection, but in times of digital takeover, it is a connection nonetheless. I like to hear what people I follow online sound like, I like to put a voice to a face. I like to notice the words and expressions they use when they talk. Do their voice rises and falls, creating musical arches unbeknown to them? Are they are soft-spoken, passionate? I like to notice the underlying excitement or resistance carried with certain words. I like to listen to the silences in between, and what is not being said. Listening to their voices bring their personality alive in a way pictures and captions simply cannot. It creates an intimate space in which the listeners are invited to eavesdrop and for a little moment, be part of a conversation.
Of course, I would love nothing more than to have a podcast of my own. Bring my own flavour to the media. Have conversations and connect with others in this way. The thing is, I’d love to do many things. I am a very passionate person and coming up with ideas for projects has never been an issue. Not putting too much onto my plate, on the other hand, can be. So in the spirit of keeping my sanity, I’ve had to park the podcast idea for now.
Make it simple
But then last Friday, as my mind and body were busy fighting over when we were finally going to take a lunch break, I decided a little procrastination was in order to placate them both. I opened up Instagram and found Lucy Lucraft and Kate Long having an impromptu conversation on Instagram Live about breaking the rules. That’s when the idea slapped me in the face:
“Do it,” it said. “Do it now. With what you have. Fuck the rules.”
After having a word with my idea about its language *ahem*, it became very clear that I was onto something. What I wanted with my podcast, was to connect with fellow creatives, and talk about creativity, being a human and how simplicity can help along the way. What better way to illustrate this than by simplifying the whole damn process and just get on with it?
“Make it simple,” the idea continued. “Don’t hide behind perfectionism”. Isn’t that annoying when an idea knows you that well? “Don’t be scared to be vulnerable and accessible. Just be you and see what happens.”
That idea was on a roll I tell you.
The solution was right there in my hands: a platform I already use, where I already have an audience with whom I could connect in real time: Instagram Live. No tech required, no editing whatsoever. Keeping it super raw and real. But mostly, simple.
Now that I was dangerously running out of excuses not to start, I had to quickly find accountability before self-doubt would come to ruin the party. I sent a direct message to Lucy on Instagram (after all, the idea showed up while watching her live) telling her about my idea and asking her to be my first guest. Which she accepted, like the innovative podcasting rock star that she is. Shortly after my happy dance, and right on cue, self-doubt made an appearance.
“Even if you found people to chat to and didn’t completely suck at it (which is unlikely)” it said, “you won’t have any longevity as Instagram Lives only stay up for 24h. So what’s the point?”
“Listen,” I replied. “You mean well and all, but I have to try this. What’s the worst that can happen? I’m willing to take the risk. As for the longevity, I’m well aware of that. But isn’t it worth doing even if it is ephemeral? I like to think of it like street art.”
I’ll spare you the “I suck, what am I thinking?” vs “This is going to be awesome!” dance that followed. I went with it and contacted potential guests. They all said yes. And I may have been living under a rock, but I woke up this morning to the news that Instagram has just launched IGTV, which will allow me to upload the vertically shot podcast episodes to my channel, thus solving the issue of the lifespan of the show. Let this be an example of not letting a technical hurdle stop you in your tracks – sometimes solutions just show up unexpectedly.
Introducing: A Breath of White Space
So this is the unusual story of how A Breath of White Space was born. If you follow me on Instagram, you know the hashtag has been around for a little while and was started after I wrote about the importance of finding white space for your creative life. Which is what I would like this podcast to be: a quick breath of white space in your day, to keep you thinking, inspired and motivated. Friday lunchtime conversations with creative friends as a way to connect with you in real time while embracing the very vulnerable position of the public learning curve. Because this is something I believe the online creative world needs more of: quality content that is infused with real life and imperfections.
The show starts on Friday 22nd June 2018 at 12:00 U.K. time on my Instagram Stories and this first season will be made up of 6 episode to test the waters. Here is the lineup of amazing creatives that will be joining me for season one:
22.06.18 | Lucy Lucraft (@lucylucraft) – Embracing the Public Learning Curve
29.06.18 | Melissa Delport (@trufflejournal)
06.07.18 | Sas Petherick (@saspetherick)
13.07.18 | Katharina Geissler-Evans (@heitermagazine)
20.07.18 | Nic Haralambous (@nicharry)
27.07.18 | Laetitia Maklouf (@laetitiamaklouf)
So tomorrow will be one week only since I had this idea. Which is a bit crazy when I think about it. But when you feel a fire in your gut, sometimes you should just follow it. If it turns out not to be a good idea, give yourself a nice hug, a hot bath, a bottle of wine or all of the above, course correct, and move to the next thing. At least you won’t be haunted by “what ifs”.
I look forward to connecting with you this way, and I for one, cannot wait to see what this baby will grow up to be!