Is this the end of the podcast? | #26

First off - I hope you are all healthy and safe. There's a lot going on in the world right now which can be really overwhelmed and I'm here for you.

Today's episode is a tough one - I’m sharing whether or not this is the end of the podcast.  

You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and more. Find links to all the apps here. You can also read the transcript for the episode, too (you'll find it at the bottom of the page).

I share what's been going on in my life over the last several months in the episode, so I won't dive into that here, but I do want to talk through some of the rambling thoughts in the episode and expand on them.

Are people finding the podcast helpful?

This is the number one question I asked myself. While some have reached out and let me know certain episodes resonated with them, I don't know that I'm sharing (at least writing-wise) that much that is unique. Certainly when I've touched on my own experiences, mental health challenges, or even when I shared how long it takes me to write a book, those are unique to me. But there are a lot of other writing-related pods out there doing really well and sharing things about the publishing industry much better. So, I guess I'm trying to see where my pod fits in, and I think it may be better served with a shifting focus.

I am a writer. I'll always be a writer. I'll always LOVE to talk about writing, so that won't change, but I think I will shift the focus. Whether that's as a totally new podcast, or as just a re-named podcast, I don't know, but I do love podcasting as a medium. I've never been very comfortable in front of a camera so vlogging isn't necessarily my thing, but I love podcasting and do want to continue it if I can.

Where does my focus need to be?

When your energy (physical, mental, emotional, creative, etc.) is drained daily (as it is now for me with my day job), you have to be selective about the types of projects and tasks you work on. I took my first week off of work for the year in August and it was eye-opening.

I realized it took me FIVE DAYS to decompress and unstress from the day job. I finally figured out why the weekends were so tough for me - my body and mind and soul needed more rest time, but I would push through that and try to work on other things (like writing). It was only after those 5 days (on Wednesday night, really) when I finally felt like I could work on something. What followed that was the most productive few days I've had in MONTHS. I got soooo much done in the space of those few days. I know this energy won't last forever, not while I'm in my current job, so I need to be mindful of how I spend it.

And I just want to make clear - I know so many who have lost jobs and are struggling right now and know that I am SOOO grateful not to have lost my job completely. I am SOOO grateful for that steady income. But taking abuse on a daily basis and being treated like shit is something I'd like to change in my life, and I hope God/the Universe/etc. hears me and responds with a new job soon.

Do I have time?

You make time for what's important, always, so it's really just a matter of priorities. I'm a one-stop shop right now, which means after recording, I do the editing, the uploading, the blog posts, transcripts, images, etc. - basically everything related to the podcast. If I could off-load the admin portion (everything but the recording), it wouldn't be so bad, but an episode can take an entire day to do everything. Since I have a day job, that means I'm giving up a weekend day (or a writing day) to work on this.

I was managing fine pre-pandemic, but now as I think towards the future and where I want my energy to go, I do need to take a pause, at least for now. I have a sort of backlog of things I'd like to finish up this year so that's where my focus will be for now.

Is "Inside the Writer's Soul" the best way to share my authentic self?

This is something I struggled with. I want to share my truth, I want to share other people's truths, too. I liked sharing my personal stories with you, but I don't know if that's the best way to help others and I don't know if that's the kind of podcast I want to do.

I've been toying with some ideas for episodes and I don't know if they'll work, but it's something I might try for next year. There's nothing wrong with experimenting, and even failing at those experiments. You always learn more from failing than succeeding anyway. I've had businesses that closed down, I've had book releases that basically flopped, so closing the chapter on this podcast is a little bittersweet, but only in the nostalgic sense.

Something we often do is associate a THING that has failed and make that mean that WE have failed, but people cannot fail.

A project fails. A book fails. We feel the need to cast blame and so we blame ourselves or other people. But why do we need to assign blame in the first place? I know, working in the corporate world, that blame needs to be assigned when things go wrong, but we don't need to do that (and we shouldn't be doing that, even in corporate life). Sometimes things end and things change, and that's actually a beautiful thing because it means that life is moving forward, even in the darkest or brightest of times.

It took a LONG time for me to stop taking failure so personally and to stop associating myself as a failure just because something I was doing failed. Yet doing so has helped me and my perspective so much and I encourage you to do the same.

The future is uncertain

We don't know how the rest of this year will go, or even how next year will go, but the best thing we can do is put a plan together and be flexible enough to change it if we need to.

For the rest of 2020, I'm focusing efforts and energy on finding a new job (I talked a little about this on the episode), and working on projects under my pen name. I have a long list of things that need work here and I'd love to close out 2020 with all (or most) of them checked off.

For 2021, I have a list of projects and a tentative plan in place. One of the things I'd been working on in March was my new course/membership (the last several pod episodes about organizing your overwhelm were a lead up to that), but I wasn't able to pull everything together. So the launch of that course next year will be a big thing for me, along with launching my own online store with digital planners and printables, and a few other projects.

Thank you!

Thank you to all of you who have listened and tuned in to Inside the Writer's Soul. When I started this podcast (almost exactly one year ago!) I didn't think anyone would listen to it at all, much less reach out when they heard something helpful. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you, and I hope you'll continue with me on my journey, wherever it takes me.

Please comment below and let me know: How has this year been going for you? What has been your favorite episode of the podcast and why?

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****TRANSCRIPT*****

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome! First, I want to say I hope you are all safe and healthy. I know it's been a while since you've heard from me, so I just want to take a few minutes here to tell you what's been going on for the last seven months and kind of where things are going and where this podcast is going because some of you have reached out, you're wondering, will there be more episodes? So let me address some of those questions here.

[00:00:26] So I think the best way to approach this is kind of chronologically so we can start back in March. I was in the middle of a series on the podcast called Organize Your Overwhelm, and this was a series of six episodes and I'd already published four of them. And I had the other two done. I'd already recorded them. I'd finished the transcripts. Everything was ready to go. I just needed to kind of make them all go live. And when the pandemic hit, I just became completely riddled with anxiety and I had to prioritize and organize my own overwhelm, and so I prioritized my day job and just kind of making it through the day, my mental health over getting some of these other things done, such as for this podcast or for blog posts or other things like that.

[00:01:14] And I know I'm not the only one who just felt massively overwhelmed and massively disconnected from people having to quarantine. For me, I don't mind being alone, but this was kind of a new level. It was different. And I don't think we need to go into that at this point. But it was for me personally, it was just a really incredibly stressful time. And I know other people had it much worse.

[00:01:38] So I just was not able to, you know, have those episodes go live. I just couldn't do it. Or I suppose I physically could have been able to do it. But I just mentally, I was just not in the right space that I could kind of divert my attention to all of these different projects that I usually have on top of the day job.

[00:01:56] So a couple of weeks go by. It's the end of March. I'm feeling a little bit steadier. But then right at the beginning of April, I got sick. So was this COVID, was it not? There is some discrepancy about the tests. So back and this was back in April when there was a lot of confusion around testing. So it's not clear whether or not I had it. And by the time they figured out there was an issue with the tests, it was kind of too late for me to get it. But that was like three incredibly challenging weeks where I was pretty much sick the whole time and I had no support from work at all. None whatsoever, really. I was only able to take a couple of days off, which was not enough. Um, definitely not enough.

[00:02:43] I finally started to feel studier towards the end of April, but then at the beginning of May, I had surgery. And this is was a minor thing. It wasn't related to me being sick, but it was something that needed to get done. And it been something that had been kind of almost seven years in the making. I've talked about some chronic health issues I have, and this was one step to help kind of alleviate those that my doctor and I had discussed kind of back in January or February before the pandemic hit and so it was something that we were looking forward to doing. But then with the pandemic all sorts of elective or what insurance companies might consider non-essential - I don't think it was non-essential - but all of those surgeries were put on hold. And it wasn't until my state allowed those types of surgeries to continue that I was able to get it done, which just happened to be in May. So then again, I was only able to take a couple days off work because no support from the day job. I was basically recovering for most of May and trying to work and trying to catch up. And I'll just never forget the lack of support I had from the people, certain people I work with, not everybody. There are some good people at my company. But yeah, it was incredibly stressful to know that after several years of working there that, you know, my health, whether it's physical or mental, was not something that was important.

[00:04:06] So I just had to push through. I just had to keep working and trying to manage everything. My parents are elderly. My dad's had lots of health problems and he actually ended up having surgery in July as well. And he had some a few complications right afterwards, but he recovered and he is continuing to recover. It's a long recovery time for his surgery, so he is doing okay now, which is the most important thing.

[00:04:31] So now it's August, right. It's six, six-ish months since we've been in quarantine. By the time this podcast goes live, I will have been quarantining, at least I'll have been quarantining, for two hundred days. Two hundred. Two zero zero, which is a crazy number to think about, but it's true. And right now I'm just trying to kind of get my footing again. I'm definitely looking for new jobs and that's one thing I've been doing. And I've had a lot of Zoom interviews, but nothing has happened yet.

[00:05:02] So I'm trying to manage all of these things, and now I'm finally feeling steady enough, you know, even emotionally, not just physically but emotionally to kind of get back into things again. But now I need to think through things that I was doing pre-pandemic, the things that I want to keep doing. You know, now it's the end of September. It's almost a year since I first launched this podcast. The podcast was launched September twenty ninth of twenty nineteen. I think it didn't go live on all the different platforms for a couple of days after that, but that's when I hit publish on the first episode was on the 29th. And now looking back a year later, you know, even though I didn't publish any episodes for about six months, I'm trying to think what are the things that I really love doing? Where do I really want my energy to be going? I have talked on the podcast before about how our creative energy is tied to our physical energy and how everything is kind of interlinked. You cannot think that you can push yourself to stretch yourself in all these different directions because eventually you'll hit a point where you're not being really effective in anything because you're trying to stretch yourself too thin.

[00:06:13] And pre-pandemic I was managing everything okay, but now I'm trying to, you know, even for my pen name, I'm trying to get books out. This is going to be another year where I have not published a single book. And part of that was delays on my editors because they also faced some really significant challenges during the pandemic and so they were not able to finish getting the books to me. And I'm totally OK with that. This is one reason why I absolutely love being a self published author, is because I love the freedom and flexibility it gives me. So when the world is on fire and the world goes to shit and my life goes to shit, I can just take a break and take a pause. And I know that my readers will still be there for me as long as I'm communicating and letting them know. I mean, everybody has been affected this year by the things that have gone on, not just the pandemic, but the fires that have happened in the US. And just there's all kinds of things going on, not to mention all of the civil action. You know, I want to make it clear that I am pro black, pro queer, pro, trans, pro women, pro everything. And I know I'm not speaking of it as eloquently on this podcast, but if you follow me on Instagram, I post a lot of stuff about this, especially in my stories so me saying this is probably not a surprise to you if you follow me there.

[00:07:35] But now that I'm thinking ahead for next year, trying to make a plan, trying to get some things out, trying to get some books written...I wasn't able to write for, you know, most of these six months, I finally was able to break through and I wrote a short story, but that's pretty much it. I won't have a book coming out this year which financially is going to be a hit, but hopefully next year that means things will be better, because I know I'll have a couple of books coming out, at least. Even if the other ones that I was kind of in the middle of writing back at the beginning of the year don't get published - hopefully they will - but if they don't, you know, where do I want this podcast to go?

[00:08:11] I love doing the podcast. I love talking and sharing. And thank you so much to people who have reached out and said that something I said has a difference or made them feel less alone. I'm here for you. I am. You know, you can reach out to me. You can comment on the blogs. You can DM me. I'm all over social. I'm so glad that this podcast has helped people. But I have to sit back and think, now is this the podcast I really want to do? The episodes that seem to resonate the most with people are either, they're kind of on two ends of the scale: they're either the ones that are straight writing or they're the ones that talk about mindset or something that could help you kind of in a productive way or planning way. Is Inside the Writer's Soul the best way to move forward, or is it time to take a pause and maybe redirect the things I talk about on the podcast?

[00:09:07] I'm a writer. I'm always going to be a writer. I will always talk about writing at some point. But do I want a podcast solely devoted to writing and all that contains? I mean, there are some really fabulous podcasts out there that I listen to that go into a lot of this stuff already. And am I contributing something that's unique from my experience into the fray? And I think there are some more challenging and some more maybe even more personal topics that I haven't already talked about that I'd like to go through and explore. And there's a lot I'd love to do. So I'm now considering is this is the end of kind of Inside the Writer's Soul?

[00:09:44] But does that mean I just start a whole new podcast, or do I just change the name of this one and kind of re-evaluate? I don't want to lose the content I've already got, so I'm still kind of working out those small kind of details. But in any case, the podcast is probably going to take a rest for the rest of the year. I'm going to be taking a break from it so I can focus on finishing up some other things, finishing up some books, finishing up some stuff for my pen name and kind of reassessing where I want to go. I guess I'm reconsidering where the podcast is going, where I want kind of my "brand" to go. I want to be someone who is authentic, who is putting their own truth out there, who is sharing other people's truths as well.

[00:10:31] You know, we don't know what the next year will hold. We don't know how long this pandemic could take to fully kind of resolve itself when there's a vaccine and when everybody has gotten that vaccine. There's just so much still up in the air for the rest of the year and for next year. And even I don't know when I get a new job, how that's going to affect how much time I have to work on some of these projects. So I'm just thinking how I also want to prioritize. I'm thinking about all these things as I move forward.

[00:11:02] And I just want you to know that even if you're not hearing from me, I am still here for you. You can still absolutely reach out to me, could still DM me, you can still post comments on the blog. You can still let me know if you're having a tough time because you're not the only one and even if you're not having a tough time, even if you've had a really good year. I know people some amazing things have happened to them this year, and they never would have thought in the middle of a pandemic, and wildfires and all of these things going on, that some of them have found their dream jobs during this time. Some of them have gotten married or they've moved in the middle of a pandemic and now they're happier than they ever were. I mean, I'm looking for a new job, and I never thought that would happen during a pandemic. But here we are. So amazing things have been happening.

[00:11:51] So I know this was a really long and rambling and I'm don't even know if I'm going to edit this podcast. So there's probably going to be all of the 'um's and 'so's and 'you know's that I usually edit out. But I just want you to know I'm here for you and I'll be back next year with more. I will still be sharing stuff through my newsletter so if you're subscribed, or if you're not subscribed be sure to check out the description to sign up so you can still hear from me and stay in touch with me. And I hope you all are doing well, that you're safe and healthy. And know that you are not alone and that you are loved. Thank you for listening.

 

M. Khan

M. Khan, host of the Inside the Writer's Soul podcast, has authored over 20 novels/novellas/short stories under a pen name, and is now writing under her own name as well. She loves to explore creativity in different ways to share soulful (and sometimes sweary) stories, and provides guidance, coaching, and courses to authors.
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