Today I want to give a shout out today to one of my favorite bands, The Dismemberment Plan – RIP until the next reunion tour – and to share how their song Following Through inspired me to move from thinking about creating a podcast to doing it.
The Plan has been with me through some major milestone life events. I bonded with some of my nearest and dearest girlfriends on road trips around Ohio to go see them play. I met my now-husband at their show in the basement dining hall of Kenyon College circa 1999. When I was feeling a little homesick while living in Germany, guess whose tour came through town and picked me up? I even took my daughter to the ER for the first time the evening we were *supposed* to go see the Dismemberment Plan’s reunion show in DC. (October 20, 2013 – a day I won’t soon forget!)
It seemed only fitting that this music which had been there with me through so much would somehow be connected to the launch of Design Yourself.
When I wrote to guitarist Jason Caddel and asked if he and the band would give me permission to use an excerpt of one of their songs in a podcast I was dreaming up, I had no idea what to expect. A few days later, I got this response back:
you’re good to go, band approves 🙂
thanks for checking with us first
look forward to hearing it!
I was elated! Three sentences had never given me so much positive energy. I’d been musing on the idea of a podcast for over two years at that time, but something about having theme music selected made it more real. And not just any music, but this music. Following Through had been serving as my personal anthem since the first time I heard it in a basement concert venue in Glascow, Scotland circa 2001. I’ve listened to it on repeat more times that I should publicly admit. If the Dismemberment Plan said I could use this song, then I was going to have to make this podcast happen. A fire was lit. The very clip that plays at the start of each Design Yourself episode spurred me on in the months that followed: “Don’t you forget this is my life and it’s gonna be good…don’t you know.”
This is not to say it was a straight shot from song approved to podcast released. Even though I had painted a picture in my outreach to Jason about what the show would be about, I still found myself not fully clear on how the podcast would take shape. I sweated every detail of bringing this idea into reality. The name. Would it be something unique or tied to Point Road Studios specifically? The format. I was pretty sure I wanted to have a mix of solo shows and interviews, but what would the balance be? How long would the podcast last? How often would I publish shows? What would I need technically to get the podcast up and running? And these questions don’t even get into the content of what I was actually going to say when I hit record!
All this to say, sometimes getting started can be hard. The trick I find is to actually make sure you’ve committed to the beginning. That you are in it. Doing it. Resolved.
We all have different things that kick us into action and commitment. Action can be spurred on by accountability from a friend, a boss, a coach, or other respected person in your life. It can also emerge out of a personal desire for change. Other times life throws change at us and we have to adapt – or risk sinking. And the list goes on.
No matter what the endeavor, all ideas start from the same place: The beginning. It’s hard to remember that sometimes, because once an idea takes off, it’s easy to romanticize the path that it travelled to get there.
All ideas start with a beginning.
Our beginnings, of course, look wildly different. Sometimes a beginning starts with a burst of creative energy that wakes you up in the middle of the night or appears in the middle of your evening jog. Other times a beginning is sought out as part of an intentional process. Its creator wills the beginning into being; it’s part of a plan. And still other times it is circumstantial events that thrust a new beginning upon us. I find that in these instances, the new beginning often is obscured by the ending of something else – often not desired. Beginnings take many different forms.
For me I had several years where I thought about and occasionally even talked about starting a podcast. The vision was there, but there was no momentum. I was missing the energy and focus required to make this idea come to life. And then the thought occurred to me that this one song would be a good jumping off point. Then I asked if I could use it. I got a yes. And I was off.
I am curious about how each of you, dear readers, begin your own creative endeavors. What motivates you to get started? Where do you begin your creative processes? And what supports you in following through?