The tl;dr is that I was having candid conversations with creatives and entrepreneurs about their challenges and wanted to create a home for unscripted conversations. A comfortable place for people to share their stories and insights without an agenda, without talking points. A place people could turn to feel less alone in their journey and aspired to move forward with their endeavors.
The longer story is that I was running another project, A Song A Day, and was both seeking guidance and often receiving unsolicited advice. Many of the folks I spoke with were experts of some sort and often blogged about their experiences, as this was in the heyday of content marketing. Yet, our conversations felt so much more authentic—so much more helpful—than what they published online.
I could vividly imagine what this project would look like. I was to be a print magazine that included conversations and celebrated the interviewee’s works in progress and their process. It would feature folks from a variety of industries and skill levels. It’d even the playing field and promote peer mentorship. And, of course, feed my desperate desire to create something physical and tactile.
But I was managing a community of 45 volunteer curators, working a full-time job (and later freelance), and being a young person in New York City. The Process had to be backburner’d. This was about five years ago. Fast forward three years, I moved across the country to a city where I didn’t know many people. A Song A Day was losing steam and burning me out in a big way and my biggest client had just pulled the plug on a podcast project I was working on for them.
I loved the podcasting process, or more specifically, the interviewing process so much that I decided to start my own. Then my old beloved idea of The Process popped into my head and it felt like a natural progression. I started interviewing some of my close friends and collaborators and it grew from there, as side projects do.
About a year later, I finally met Hannah in real life after several years of internet and phone friendship. I told her how badly I wanted a print publication and that I wanted to do the research for it as part of a program I was participating in, The Art of Freelance. Being a lover of print and appreciator of the messy middle that leads to good work, she was in. And had so many better ideas for design, branding, execution, and strategy.
The print publication never came to life as they are expensive and time-consuming, but we did rebrand and refocus the podcast. It went from the ‘Shannon show’ to a true collaboration between Hannah and I, fusing both of our personalities into the brand. The rest is pretty much history.
I never thought this project would lead to me interviewing some of my favorite musical acts and artists, let alone sitting in their living rooms. That I’d meet new friends or some of my closest collaborators, namely Hannah and Lonnie. That I’d partner with folks like Desert Daze or be accepted into artist residency programs in several states. Or ever even entertain the thought of calling myself an artist.
Our audience is small but mighty. With a podcast, it can feel like you’re whispering into a void. But every now and then, we’ll get a DM or email, or even text from a friend about an episode, and it keeps me going. It reminds me that people are listening to these stories; that they’re having an impact.
But the thing that really keeps me going is when I interview someone in person and I see them have an ‘ah-ha’ moment. When they realize something about themselves, their work, or their process they never thought of before. They’ve mentioned that it feels a bit like therapy, but the good parts of therapy. Those moments make me want to work on TP forever.
We also now have a little team I’m super stoked on. Hannah and Lonnie are both so aligned with the brand and what we’re doing. Their excitement, ideas, and brains fuel me and keep me going. I’ve learned to truly appreciate the value of partnership. The accountability is nice too.
Today marks two years since the first episode of TP went live after working on it for a few months. I’d like to take this time and space to say thank you for listening, for letting me interview you, for working with me, for following us, for sharing with your friends, for being here. I do have one favor to ask. If there’s an episode that resonated with or had an impact on you, I ask that you reach out to the guest and let them know. ✌