Podcasting for me started as a single falling domino which ultimately toppled many more and positively changed my life.
When my friend and I first thought to start a podcast, we were just lying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling, and thinking out loud. At some point, I’d listened to and enjoyed some podcasts, but I hadn’t ever lent them much value in my life.
After the events of the last year and a half since we released Fate and the Fablemaidens, I will not underestimate the value of podcasting ever again. I’ve seen the power of this community: felt uplifted by it, cheered for it, and fought with it. I’ve made friends through the community that have translated to life-long friends in real life. I’ve been astounded by the reception of podcasts and the positive impact they can make in people’s lives. And I am blessed everyday by what my own podcast has become for me.
Let me back up a bit.
When we started Fate and the Fablemaidens in early 2018, I was incredibly unhappy. I was in a job where I felt trapped and stagnant, where I was left with no energy every day. I have long struggled with chronic illness, but 2017 had held one of the worst flare-ups for me in years. I had stalled out on all of my creative projects.
I had two things to cling to: Dungeons & Dragons and my best friends. So we made a podcast from them. And thus, the first domino fell.
The podcast was so good for me. I plugged into the online community, hopping back onto the Twitter I’d hardly touched since high school (please don’t scroll back that far). Thankfully, the podcasting corners of Twitter are largely welcoming for newcomers. I started talking to people outside the limited sphere of my life. I reconnected with an old friend because I happened to see his podcast on Twitter–he’s one of my closest friends now. I relearned the values of community by interacting with fellow creators and audiences online.
After, the podcast released, I realized why I felt trapped in my job: it limited my creative freedom. I was, in not so many terms, being told each day who to be and how to act. I wasn’t allowed to be queer. I wasn’t allowed to curse. I felt wildly rebellious just dying my hair. I needed to be me, I needed to express myself, I needed to pursue my dream of telling stories, but I couldn’t. In order to be myself, I needed out.
Podcasting is no small amount of work, but it was work that I could handle even with my health in such a poor state. It was work I wanted to handle. Chronic illness frequently walks hand in hand with mental illness, but the joy that podcasting brought helped me fend off some of the latter. I could stay home, in bed even, and still make progress on our project. Even with the pain and the illness, I felt… stronger than I had in a long time. I was reminded of ways I was capable instead of ways I was incapable.
Dominos started to fall quickly after those realizations.
Twitter helped plug me into an incredible streaming community, one I work with still today and in which I’ve found friendships close enough to call family.
I traveled to conventions, met some of the people I’d met online, and made new connections.
I made the decision to quit my job, and a month later, I transitioned to freelance writing and attended a McElroy live show instead of a major work event.
I found a doctor who actually listened to me and helped me get surgery scheduled, which was so much easier to do with the flexibility of freelance.
Then, as if tipped by Fate, there were dominos I never could have foreseen falling.
Thanks in part to my con connections and my streams, I applied for and accepted a job writing in the gaming industry. I moved across the country a month after surgery. I started preproduction for an audio drama. I published my first game writing credit!
Thank God that first domino fell. I am stronger. I am happier. I am healthier. I am free to be me. And I can trace every one of those changes, those fallen dominos, back to the single, almost whimsical decision to start a podcast.