JoyBinge Podcast Ep. 11: Little Episode of Gratitude
Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. My name is Kimmy Mauldin and I am not a journalist or a professional of any sort in the news industry. I’m just a Texas girl in need of some happy news and want to share what I find. Now normally I would say, “Let’s binge on some joy!” right now but I want to do something different for this episode.
Instead of talking about news this week, I want to take you behind the scenes of this podcast and talk about gratitude. This week in the U.S., we are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving. That time of year dedicated to being thankful, loving spending time with family and friends, and eating everything in sight. Or at least pretending to do these things. Except for the eating part usually.
Holidays can certainly be a fun time where we can reflect on the past year, point out what we are thankful for, share in others’ triumphs, and laugh with those we are closest. But if you are so lucky that that can even happen for you this year, the holidays are sure to bring about some form of stress. And for many, that stress is in the form of grief. Loved ones who have passed on can’t join us, long distances separate us from those we hold most dear, work gobbles all of our time and energy. For others, the holidays just bring the stresses of preparing large meals, picturesque memorable experiences, and strong desires to sleep. Basically this is the time of year where we feel expected to be thankful and happy every moment but simply do not. Even when surrounded by loved ones and yummy food.
Honestly, this line of thinking really got to me this past week. I had to prepare two episodes back to back much quicker than normal because of some travel. My boyfriend, John, and I are preparing to host 20 people for Thanksgiving, which is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this. Work felt like it was piling up for my Twitch channel and recording with John for his YouTube channel. Not to mention that events in the world have gotten so bad in places that it feels like we are trapped to only hear about people’s sufferings. I know there are good stories that have been reported on lately but it felt unusually difficult to find them. Or really to even find the energy to research and write.
So after spending several days of feeling drained of any motivation and self-confidence to make this episode happen, I thought I might take advantage of this. Let’s try something different. Why don’t I get a little personal with you and share what this podcast has done for me and why I’m thankful for it and all of you?
After posting the tenth episode, I was so proud of getting to double digits and also for gaining 100 followers on Twitter! Thank you for listening to my attempts at sharing positive news stories and going on this journey with me. Doing this podcast has really helped me to see the good that is going on in the world and knowing that other people care for this too is really exciting and uplifting. I’ve learned so much about different problems people face in our world and have felt quite inspired by those who do what they can to find solutions.
When I first started this podcast, I wasn’t sure of many things but the primary concerns were that 1) I wouldn’t be able to make the podcast have good enough quality to get any traction and 2) that people wouldn’t care. But you all have proved me wrong! You are so encouraging as I learn how to make better episodes. You all obviously care about hearing the good stories. I absolutely love that. Thank you!
Sure, this is kind of a cop out because of how completely overwhelmed I feel this week. Scouring the news for stories means I have to dig through all that “bad crap” to find the good stuff. And good gracious has that been a soul suck. But when I find the good stories, they stare up at me from the screen like bright gems of hope just waiting to sparkle joy over my overcast mood. It feels like jumping into a refreshing pool after working in the hot sun for too long. Like blasting the car heater after running around during a freezing cold night. Like eating for the first time in a day when your stomach is rumbling endlessly. It feels like relief.
So why did I start this podcast in the first place? I needed relief. I needed to know that good things were happening, that the news media cared enough to look for good stories, to research them, to report them. If you listened to the pilot episode, I talked then about why I’m doing this a bit. But to expound upon that, I felt so drowned every day by the reports on the news, the constant tweets and “urgent updates” that I no longer knew what was really important and what was just click bait. Guess what? The majority is just click bait. I know that’s shocking.
I would get stuck feeling guilty for not keeping up with the news, not even wanting to look at the reports and read the articles. When people would ask if I had heard about whatever new atrocity had occurred, I felt really dumb and out of the loop. But I didn’t feel motivated to look for good news because it seemed so rarely reported.
You already know all of that. This is why you are listening! We need places to hear only good news because we have everywhere else to turn for all the awful updates the world could ever supply.
But the reason I decided to do this as a podcast and not a blog is pretty simple: I love podcasts. And I am pursuing voice acting as a career so the two go hand in hand. When I’m not working on the podcast, I’m streaming on Twitch, a website dedicated to live streams where I play story or puzzle based video games for a sweet community that has built up amazingly over the last year. It’s a ton of fun and I’m getting to play games I’ve wanted to play for years! Doing this podcast has allowed me to work more on learning how to record myself, edit audio, and create a show even minutely entertaining. And all the things I learn from the stories themselves has been so fulfilling. I can actually have engaging conversations with people and feel in the loop again!
When I first started doing this podcast, I knew that researching stories, writing out my script so I don’t go off on useless ramblings, recording, and editing with my beginner skills would take a lot of time. And I was right! That’s why I started posting episodes bi-weekly. But after I felt like I got my stride, I started posting weekly. Then I realized that covering 5-8 stories an episode plus finding non-news cool things to share was way too much for me to keep up with on a weekly basis. Plus the episodes felt really rushed and over-packed so I backed off on that. I even cut a day of streaming out of my schedule to try and keep up.
Now we are down to just 4 or 5 stories an episode and I feel pretty good about it. The research and writing time has gone down to just 2 or 3 days a week plus a day or two to record and edit. I do miss finding the non-news related stuff but honestly, I don’t have the bandwidth. I hope to figure out a way to add that back in or to even just sneak it in more to what we are currently doing once I find my stride again. I struggle with making sure what I’m reporting is true and well researched without becoming a 20 minute segment per story. All of that takes time and thankfully, this podcast is teaching me the importance of managing my time better. I can’t wait until I move on to the next step of actually managing my time!
When I was originally looking for stories to cover this week, I found myself looking for articles centering around gratefulness and time management. Amazing how our subconscious can work on overdrive to tell us what we need to know. So all that to say, that’s basically why I’m not doing news this week.
Anyway, in many of the articles I looked at, they discussed the importance of cultivating grateful attitudes in your business, personal life, social media presence, etc. “Your business will thrive and your employees will be happier!” one article seemed to scream. The ones talking about your personal life concentrated on keeping a gratitude journal. We’ve talked about doing something like this here on the podcast in the very first episode Good Things DO Happen and in the fourth episode Movies, Millennials, & More! In the first episode, I discussed how one month, I started making a daily list of one thing I was grateful for. Every once in a while I will make mental lists of things I’m grateful for to help get me out of bad moods, especially if I’m feeling extra cynical or sad. It really does help! I mean, it isn’t a magical cure but those don’t exist. There isn’t a thankful pill we can take and feel better. We have to get that engine started and sometimes it takes some priming in the form of writing, listing, talking or whatever to realize we have so much to be grateful for.
Even though I’ve already told you some things I am thankful for from this podcast, I wanted to make an official list to share with you. Here goes:
The JoyBinge Community: Right now, our community is pretty small. But if my Twitch community has taught me anything, it’s that small communities are amazing because of how intimate they are. We can have the freedom to be ourselves, have fun, and relax because we don’t have to worry as much about random people who are not invested coming in and wrecking the good mood. I’m sure it will happen as the channel grows but these are some pretty amazing days we are experiencing. And I realized that my Twitch community has gotten close because we talk when I’m not streaming through a program called Discord. It’s a platform where you can create text channels to write about different subjects like food, music, movies, whatever you want with everyone in the server. You can also have private text chats, voice and video calls. So it’s like instant messaging, forums, and Skype all in one place. It’s super great. Discord has helped many people come together and I realized that JoyBinge doesn’t have anything like that. So to help foster a growing community, I’ve started a Facebook page and Instagram alongside the Twitter account we’ve already been using. Feel free to interact with posts there, meet each other, and continue binging joy together!
Learning how to edit audio: Attempting to break into the voice acting world means you need to have basic skills in editing audio. Producing this podcast has allowed me to learn how to use Adobe Audition, the program I use to make the episodes. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning how to take out all those nasty mouth sounds and adding in music. Sometimes it’s been frustrating but once I learn a new skill, it just makes the whole process even more exciting!
Writing Consistently: I’ve always enjoyed writing but get frustrated when I don’t have a reason or prompt to start from. Now that I get to sharpen my researching abilities, writing has become much easier. Getting to make time to sit down and write has been surprisingly cathartic even if I feel like I take too much time to do so.
Figuring out how to navigate the social media world: So I’ve never been what you call tech savvy or particularly talented with social media. That’s a big reason I reluctantly stopped looking for social media shout outs to include in each episode. But having a podcast is teaching me about the importance of getting yourself out there. If I don’t, then you won’t be able to hear the good news and that’s what this is all about! Hence the new Facebook page, Instagram account, and more things I will be doing in the future! Hint: I’m currently trying to figure out how to set up an RSS feed to get the podcast on iTunes and Spotify and other platforms!
Learning about the good people in the world: There is hope! We’ve seen evidence of hope through the stories I get to share with you every week. Getting to find out more about the people and causes involved in the stories has been a real blast. Plus, anytime I get to interact with those reported on is a real treat. Literally a treat. I’ve only had the opportunity to engage with one story through this process and that was Collettey’s Cookies from episode 8 1st News Only Episode. I ordered the Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cookies and they were SO good! I might need to cover more food related stories…
Now this list isn’t in any particular order but those are some of the ways this podcast has taught me to be thankful. There are many other things I am grateful for like the incredible love and support from my boyfriend, family, and friends, getting to spend time with those I love, my amazing dog Belle, being healthy, having a car and a home, food, the list could go on. But one of the biggest small things I am thankful for right now is the new chair we got for my office. My last one was fine but I found my back and booty would be really sore after a couple hours and it became evident quickly that it wasn’t for sitting in for hours at a time. So John helped me find a better replacement and now my booty and back are much happier. Ah, it’s the little things in life.
Some time this week, I challenge you to find a couple big things and several small things you are thankful for this holiday season. Maybe you solved a problem recently that had been bugging you. Maybe you started doing something new that makes you really happy. Find any reason to be thankful and tell someone or write it down. Taking those few minutes to acknowledge what we can be grateful for really can help boost the mood and bring things into a better perspective.
Well, thanks for listening to this special episode. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to me! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me @joybingepodcast or now you can share on Facebook and Instagram! If you search for JoyBinge Podcast on any of those platforms, you should be able to find us. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!
The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!