My 2022 Audio Almost-Resolutions
Hello friends,

I feel like I need to say this right up front: I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions.

I really don't see the value of picking one day that will supposedly change my life. Any day is a good day to do better. Why are we putting all the pressure on January 1?

That said, the new year does provide new opportunities to re-assess. What's working? What's not working? What do I want to do more often? What do I want to avoid?

And so, in that spirit, I present my 2022 Audio Almost-Resolutions.
Cool "resolutions" photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.
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I will not be afraid.

Oh my. It is so easy to say "no" to things we've never done before. It's so easy to back off. To decline to pursue. To wimp out.

I've done it.

I did it for DECADES.

I am done. I am done accepting limits on my potential.

If I go down, I'm gonna go down swinging.
I will plan ahead.

I've always been a planner. Always. I'm a huge fan of calendars and lists and Post-It Notes covered in To Do items.

But almost everything we do in the storytelling world is improved by a little forward planning. Even if an interview doesn't follow your script, it helps to have made that script in the first place.

So even when I'm in a hurry, when I don't have enough time to pee, I will take the time to plan. Because, in the end, planning saves time.

And time = money.
I will make bold choices.

Look, we can all go through life making things in the way that we've always made them. For years my stories all started the same way.
15 seconds of ambi (to fade up under the host intro.)
Set the scene.
Introduce an expert.
But what's the fun in that?

It's scary to step out of your comfort zone. But if you're a wimp like me, it's totally worth it.

Go big or go home.

On the other hand, if you're a natural risk taker whose decisions often cross the line, this is not a good almost-resolution for you.

Almost-resolutions are not one size fits all. Maybe your almost-resolution should be, "make less bold choices."

I don't know. Ask your heart.

And when in doubt, ask your best friend. That's what I do!
I will s p e l l - i t - o u t.

There are people in this world who over-signpost. They tell you so often where the story is going – and where it has been – that you start to wonder if they question your intelligence.

I am not one of those people.

One thing this year has given me is the time to evaluate my own work. And I've noticed something.

I don't signpost nearly enough.

Worse yet, I tend to shy away from saying what I mean.

I expect my listener to be able to follow me down the rabbit hole and figure out what I'm trying to say. Which is dumb. They're not inside my head. They don't know how my crazy brain works.

I resolve (or almost-resolve) to add more signposts. More nut graphs. More precious seconds of explanatory narration to help the listener follow my crazy train of thought.

It will be worth it.

Because riding the crazy train is only fun if you know where you're headed.
I will remember my worth.

If you are an audio producer, I have news for you:

Your skills are worth money.

I spent decades in this industry, making barely enough to rent a one-bedroom, mice-infested apartment.

But that was before the age of podcasts. Before venture capital. Before Serial.

(Yes, there was an age of audio production before Serial.)

It's now 2022. And my skills – your skills – are worth money. Don't forget that.
I will take days off.

As a freelancer, it is sooooo easy to spend every waking hour making $$$.

And any time I'm not making $$$, I feel like I should be looking for new ways to make $$$.

But the truth is, taking time off makes me better at my job.

And the better I am at my job, the more $$$ I can make.

So take days off. It's a win, win.
I will share what I've learned.

Don't you know? That's what this newsletter is all about. But there are smaller, more important ways we can all share our knowledge every day.

This business is tough. Don't forget how hard you had to fight to get to where you're at. And please, please, don't think that others should have to work as hard as you did.

Share what you know. And if you don't know much, share my newsletter! ;-)
I will revel in the creative process.

It is soooo easy to get caught up in everything that's wrong with a story. It's much more difficult to find joy in making the best out of what you have.

It's not about comparing our work to the work of others.

It's about comparing our work to what our work could be.

Whatever you've got, try to look past the flaws – what's not there.

Instead, focus on the potential – what could be.

You'll be a lot happier. And your work will be better.

I promise.
I will kick ass. (Metaphorically, of course.)

I do not feel the need to explain this almost-resolution. Just know that I abhor actual violence in all its forms…though I acknowledge the need for its existence.
I will have fun.

Look, if this isn't fun…why are we doing it?!?

I used to say that no one got rich making audio. That's not true any more. Yes, you could actually make it rich.

But that's not going to happen if you turn this job into drudgery. This is not an industry of formulas and calculations.

(I do not mean to disparage formulas and calculations. If those are your things, good for you! You will go far in this world.)

Audio is an industry of the heart. And if you're not having fun, neither will your listeners.

So, go ahead. Laugh. Play. Be joyful.

Have fun.

And if you want proof that levity works, even in a series filled with serious topics and serious voices, can I recommend 544 Days?

I never thought I'd want to listen to a show about a journalist who spent 544 days in an Iranian prison. But then, series editor Alison MacAdam mentioned that it was laugh out loud funny. And I decided to give it a try.

I'm so glad I did.
What are your audio almost-resolutions? What do you want to strive to do in the new year?

And more importantly, how can I help?

As always, you can hit 'reply' to this email to send me your audio-related questions. I'll try to answer them in a future edition.

And please continue to share, share, share this little newsletter. We're creeping up on 900 subscribers now, most of whom actually open this darn thing when it arrives in their mailbox. Can I really call it my "little newsletter" anymore?

(Also, what do you think? Can we hit 1000 before the Super Bowl? That would be cool.)

Thanks for all of your support over the past year, and here's to a kick-ass 2022.