Thanksgiving is fast approaching here in the United States and I cannot wait. For me it signals fun family time and the beginning of the end of the year when no one can roll their eyes at my constant playing of Christmas music. It is also a time when my Footnoting History work traditionally enters a (very) brief hiatus as we prepare for the new year. In fact, my last episode of 2019 (The UnQuiet Afterlife of Elizabeth Siddal) was already released!
For this post, I've decided to combine the tradition of expressing what one is thankful for at Thanksgiving time with my constant occupation of podcasting. There are very few areas of my life that podcasting neglects to touch at this point, and I have posted here many times about the positives and negatives of being a podcaster, but I have never paused to simply state all that I have gained and learned from being a part of this world for almost seven years. This entry seeks to remedy that oversight.
Thank you, podcasting, for...
Keeping me humble (Few things will keep you grounded like having to listen to your voice on loop to edit a recording)
Broadening my horizons (I had no idea, when Footnoting History began, that I would spend significant amounts of time researching topics like murdered Swedish kings or censorship on the New York stage)
Helping me appreciate social media (I complain about social media as much as the next person - and often it can feel like incessant noise - but it also is a place of connection and learning if you choose to make it one)
Establishing me as a historian (I never wanted to be a traditional teacher, but I always wanted to continue working with history, and this allows me to do so every single day)
Giving me new friends (Never did I imagine how many people I would meet, both online and in person, as a result of becoming a podcaster)
Pushing my limits (Whenever I think I will not get something done on time, I magically find a way to complete the task, and then I feel magnificent)
Strengthening my research, writing, and performance skills (If I ever stagnate or stop working hard, it will show in the final product, so I am constantly motivated to do more and be better)
Holding my group of friends together (After grad school, we all went our separate ways, physically, and it would have been easy to drift apart, but working together on Footnoting History keeps us close, and I love it for that)
Building my confidence (I suffer from Impostor Syndrome on a regular basis, but I would be a liar if I didn't admit that whenever someone compliments me on my podcasting work I glow a little bit on the inside)
Inspiring my adventures (Whether it is visiting a new historic place because I plan to create an episode about it - or already have - or traveling for a podcasting conference, I am always excited by where podcasting leads and the fun I have when I am there)
Making me a business woman (I am very much still learning, but every step we take with Footnoting History teaches me more about management, marketing, production, and teamwork)
Creating new opportunities (I am thankful every day for each interview, article, blog post, and conference I get to take part in or write)
Stoking my curiosity (Not a week goes by where I don't discover some new idea I'd love to research and add it to my list - I probably have enough potential topics stored away for twenty years of episodes!)
Forcing Elizabeth to always answer my texts because we work together (This last one is only half in jest - if my dear friend Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge had not come up with the idea for Footnoting History, I would not be writing this today. She is one of my absolute favorite people on this planet and deserves to be in my Best-for-Last slot)
Fellow podcasters and podcast lovers, what has this medium given you? Please, don't hesitate to let me know. Podcasting is hard and relentless and exhausting, but it should also be rewarding. I truly hope that whatever you do, even when it gets hard, you have reasons you love it - and therefore reasons to be thankful.