Podcaster—that’s a new title I’ve added to my resumé, and I’m pretty excited about it. This past Tuesday, the QWERTY Writing Life Podcast went live. Mea Smith and I co-host this weekly broadcast geared toward creative people who are seeking to take their passions and pursue them in a public way. It’s no small task to take the things close to your heart and soul and throw them out to the world to judge and rip to shreds. We’ve been through all the angst involved with taking those first big steps and we’re still going through it. So, why podcast about it?
Our words helped each other.
Mea and I went to college together and were roommates for part of those years. We took creative writing together then and always had fun creating things together or alongside one another. With graduation into the real world, we went separate ways and lost touch until 2016 when we reconnected at the most logical place. The zoo.
Across from the prairie dogs’ tunnels, we caught up with our lives over the previous decade and started talking about books, which inevitably led to talk of writing.
It turns out, Mea and I were both in the exact same place as far as readiness to launch out into the wide world of publication pursuit.
That readiness in itself is quite a process, and we’d been through a similar timeline for ours. We’d had stops and starts but were both ready to run full steam ahead. Thanks to our timely reunion, we got to start that race together.
It was that togetherness that made the journey so much less overwhelming. We solidified our writing relationship by attending the Mississippi Book Festival together in August 2016. On the drive there and back together, we shared our goals and brainstormed our writing projects. We even talked about how much fun it would be to have a podcast!
From that point on, we had regular phone chats about our individual writing plans and continued brainstorming sessions. As we talked one day, we told each other, “This is some good stuff! I wish we had people like us to listen to!” And then we realized we could be those people.
We realized our chats could help others as well.
Creative people—writers, painters, photographers, you name it—pour their hearts and souls into their work.
When an author offers up a book, it is forged in the depths of their being and passed through the fires of critiques.
To present that finished product to the world and open it up to the criticism and misrepresentation that will come is, quite honestly, terrifying. So, when a creative individual makes the decision to move from a private life of creativity to a public one—whether it’s simply opening themselves up to friends and family, accepting an opportunity for a gallery showing or ramping up to a production they hope to turn into a career—they need support. Our desire is that our words on the QWERTY Writing Life Podcast will give them just that.
We want to be candid, real and transparent as we send support and encouragement for that journey out into the wide world of all our creative brothers and sisters.
In our minds, we see this podcast as something that can really flourish and be this tiny seed that grows into a mighty tree. But, even if it only affects and encourages one fellow creative, that’s worth it to us.
But, we’re not stopping there.
Because our driving desire is to help others, we’re not stopping with a podcast. QWERTY Writing Life stands for much more. Perhaps as you’re reading this, Mea and I are writing the first draft of our first in a series of writing craft books. These books aren’t planned to reinvent the wheel; they’re chosen to cover the topics we couldn’t find sufficient compiled resources on. Over the next several years, we will be pulling from our personal experiences, our trial and error and our lightbulb moments to present books that can guide other fledgling writers on their journeys toward, through and beyond publication.
Away from the airwaves and beyond the pages, Mea and I have big plans. None of them are solidified yet, and most are still a ways off; but they all stem from that desire to help, to guide, to share. We want to see others succeed and we want to share the tools we’ve got in our arsenal to do that.
What makes QWERTY Writing Life different?
With more than 700,000 podcasts available—yep, that is the right number of zeros—what do we really have to offer? What makes us different?
Those are the same questions I asked myself when it came to blogging and to writing books. Do I really have anything new or different to add? The answer to that question is yes—and no.
We may not always have some brand new insight to dazzle the world with, but we will always bring our unique perspective in our personal style wrapped in one-of-a-kind packaging.
I’ve found that when I consider something from another person’s perspective—a viewpoint I can’t have because it’s unique to them—I do discover new insights or at least understand a different way to approach the task at hand or the answer to the question that’s been troubling me.
When we first got down to the brass tacks of actually planning out this podcast, this was one of the first questions we asked ourselves. Mea and I love to listen to podcasts and have quite a few favorites between us. We have dear friends who have a wonderful show, and some of the biggest influencers in our creative lives are podcasters. The natural reaction to “Let’s start a podcast!” was, “Who, us?”
So, we talked through all we do have to offer and what our personal goals and desires were for this endeavor and then we discussed how we would be different from all the incredible voices out there. We decided on a few specific aspects that our podcast had to follow. Because I’m incredibly cheesy, I’m laying them out, A to E!
Aim for brevity.
Mea and I are your typical crazy-busy working mamas. You will likely find me grading my kids’ schoolwork (homeschool mom!) and Mea inputting grades (college administrative assistant!) while texting each other about the next week’s show topics and our social media posting plan for the week while also penciling in a meal plan for our families so we can make a list for a grocery visit later in the day and mentally rewriting scenes from our WIPs in our heads. These mamas ain’t got a lot of time for concentrated listening.
So, we knew our show had to be under thirty minutes. Quick, concise and to the point.
Did I mention we’re both moms? You probably guessed that we’re rarely out of our little ones’ reach. [Anyone else picturing the meme of the kids’ fingers reaching under the bathroom door?]
While our show isn’t created for kids, we wanted it to be created for other parents or caregivers who are always surrounded by kids. So, we won’t be discussing *ahem* special scenes in books or using colorful language we wouldn’t use in front of our own children.
So, don’t worry about headphone cords getting tangled in the laundry! Listen away wherever you are!
Contain candid chats that we, as creative friends, would have with one another.
Our tagline says it all: candid chats about our creative lives. We want to be real with you guys. These are real chats between creative friends, and we want them to be ongoing conversations that include our listeners.
We want to hear from others about what’s working and what’s not. We want to hear questions and answers. And, we may not always have the answers to some of the questions, but—with a growing group of friends—I bet someone will!
Drive listeners to take action while keeping up a dependable show format.
With all the focus on two friends chatting, we did not want this show to be a droning on and on of two people who want to hear their gums flap. No sir! We demand action in ourselves and in our listeners! So, each episode will end with our QWERTY challenge—an opportunity to take what we’ve discussed and implement it into your own works that week.
Each show will open with us sharing our creative thing from the past week, perhaps a photo shoot or a craft with our kids or a trip to an art museum. Then, we’ll hop right in to our topic and close with the challenge. That’s what you’ll get each week!
We like knowing what we’re getting ourselves into with a show, and we figured you might like that too.
Also, it goes back to the busy mama thing; if there’s no takeaway value for us in something that requires our time, we have to shift priority to something that has that.
Entertain on every outlet we can.
And, the final big desire for us was to be available wherever listeners are. That’s why we decided to record in video format. Yes, it’s an extra step and took an extra commitment of time and finances; but we know a lot of people prefer to watch a video. Others like to listen in during a commute or while doing household chores or yard work. Whichever your preference and wherever you look for podcasts or videos, we wanted to be there.
If we’re not on your favorite outlet, let us know and we’ll do our best to get there!
What about you? Do you listen to podcasts or watch vlogs? Does QWERTY Writing Life sound interesting to you? We’d love to have you check us out on all our online places. Subscribe for notifications.
Please hang out and chat with us, too! Ask us your questions; we’ll tell you no lies … and may even have an answer! If we don’t, we’ll sure try to find it!