Perfect is the enemy of done, and we podcasters have publishing schedules to keep. We need to be done so we can move on to the next thing on our plate. And, in theory, we have a life to get back to when we’re not podcasting.
This isn't a unique problem to podcasters, of course. Getting to the finish line and actually accepting the finish line is a problem that plagues creatives of all types. Writers don’t stop writing when they hit their target word count. Painters don’t stop painting when they reach the edge of the canvas. Filmmakers will keep shooting scenes until someone pulls the money out from under them.
For the classic style of podcaster - one who produces content on an ongoing basis - the pressure to finish is great, as they need to get started on next week's episode. Or perhaps tomorrow's episode if that podcaster is foolish enough to commit to a daily production and release schedule. (👋)
Some Podcasters Finish Thousands Of Episodes
I have a few friends who have been podcasting since the beginning, and they’re rapidly approaching the 2,000 episode mark. Some might have passed that right on by counting bonus content. Chances are, you’ll probably produce hundreds of episodes of the show you’re doing right now.
Figuring out when a podcast episode is finished is dependent on lots of factors. But for many podcasters, it’s heavily dependent on their production and publishing schedule. When you’re facing a publishing deadline for the next episode, you don’t have unlimited time to keep tweaking and tweaking this episode. It’s done when it has to be done so you can move on to to the next episode. The harsh reality of time often makes it easy to finish an episode.
Some Podcasters Will Finish A Dozen Or More Podcasts
Hats off to the podcasters who started more than a decade ago and are still producing the same podcast. And only that podcast. It’s an impressive feat to have figured out a topic that keeps you and your audience both engaged enough to keep going all this time.
A great many of us podcasters take a different path, building and dismantling several podcasts before deciding on the formula we’re using now. Some of us have started and finished dozens of shows over the years. Take me, for example. Podcast pontifications this is my fourth solo/monologue podcast. Overall, I’ve either hosted or co-hosted 19 different podcasts during my tenure. Some were quite successful. Most less so. But all of them scratched an itch I needed to scratch. For a while, at least.
Making the decision to end a podcast isn’t always your decision, and is often dependent on how much control you have. Some people lose their show for the same reason people often lose jobs: they get fired. Sometimes irreconcilable differences between hosts are uncovered (👋 again.) Sometimes significant life changes, some quite tragic, put insurmountable barriers in someone’s podcasting path.
Luckily for most of us, we have the option to start another show. With the exception of tragic circumstances, nothing is stopping us from creating another podcast. It doesn’t matter why the prior show ended (or why our involvement with the show ended). That's the beauty of podcasting. Even if we no longer do the show we’ve been doing for years, we can start a brand new podcast anytime we like.
Every Podcaster Will (Eventually) Finish Podcasting All Together
During your tenure as a podcaster, you’ll probably finish producing hundreds of episodes. It won’t be uncommon if you finish your involvement with a dozen or more shows.
But you only get one shot at being a podcaster.
Not that you can’t take a break from being a podcaster. I’m about to take the next two months off from Podcast Pontifications, coming back after the first of the year. But I’ve been in between podcasts a couple of times, with a year or more of me not having an active podcast. But I never stopped being a podcaster, because I’m not finished podcasting.
So how do you know when you're finished podcasting?
It’s an easy decision for those who dabble in podcasting and discover, after two or three episodes, that the idea was better than the implementation. So they quit. This is how I’ve approached every social video site. Fun, for sure, but not enough to keep me motivated. So I quit
Similar is the decision process the PINO - podcasters in name only, to borrow from the RINO and DINO acronyms that plague the US political landscape right now. PINOs need their own coverage, so I’ll talk about them on tomorrow’s missive.
At some point, all of us might like to retire from podcasting. We might look back at the body of work we’ve created over the last 16 years and find it a fine time to make a graceful exit.
(Nota bene: I’m not announcing my retirement from podcasting. I’ll be back in January, I promise. And I’ve got plenty more podcasting ideas beyond what I do here on Podcast Pontifications. You can’t get rid of me that easily.)
Or will we? Considering how podcasting technology is progressing, maybe the ability to create great sounding podcasts will grow so simple that the robots can just take the words we speak aloud and make them into a perfectly sounding podcast episode. I’ve no idea what that future really looks like. But I wouldn’t put it past technology to keep us podcasting for much longer than we’re considering right now.
Until something better comes along that causes us to quit podcasting altogether, of course.
Before you brand me a heretic, think about the topic of your show right now and the things you highlight on your show. Whether you're interviewing guests, doing a monologue show, creating a huge podcast fiction series, or something in between; think about how are you were expressing your ideas before you started podcasting.
You probably had an outlet for the same or similar creativity you currently express via your podcast. It’s likely that whatever you were doing to express that creativity pre-podcasting, podcasting is much more suited to it. But you were still doing it.
Maybe you were writing your thoughts on a journal you kept locked in your dresser drawer. Maybe you were doing speaking gigs, open mic nights, or shooting creative videos. I’ve no idea what you were doing, but I’d be willing to bet you were doing the kinds of things you do on your podcast today before you had a podcast.
Remember: there's always the chance of something better than podcasting coming along. Better for you, that is. If a better way for you to express your creativity, thoughts, and ideas comes along, you’d be doing a disservice to yourself if you didn’t explore it. Yes, even if that means leaving podcasting behind for good.
Your work as a podcaster is really never done... until you're done being a podcaster. One way or another.
Now, as I mentioned, Evo’s Long Winters Nap starts next week! That means you will not hear my voice on Podcast Pontifications until January of 2021. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t hear new episodes of Podcast Pontifications. Several working podcasters have committed to producing episodes during my absence, sharing their ideas on the future of podcasting and how we make podcasting better with all of you. If you want in on that, just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll run down what you need to do so you can have your voice heard on Podcast Pontifications.
If you really love the topics that I bring (and hopefully what my guests are about to bring over the next few weeks), please visit BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra and buy me a virtual coffee to show the love.
Most importantly, please tell one other working podcaster about Podcast Pontifications. The only way Podcast Pontification grows is when you, a working podcaster, tells another working podcast or about the show. So please do that.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.