Thursday, September 28, 2023

Noting the not everyday stuff

We all have days in which something unusual happens, the sort of thing that maybe only happens once, even if similar things have happened several times. I just had such a thing happen, and while I can point to some things that have happened far more often, and others have happened far less often, this was particularly significant to me. Still, it’s the way of life, isn’t it? Things happen that we note because they’re unusual to us. I think lots of things deserve to be noted.

Yesterday, I completed the 400th episode of my AmeriNZ Podcast. That same day, my blog post announcing the release, was post number 5,623 on this blog. I always know how many total posts I’ve done because Blogger tells me the running total when I go to publish a new post. Of course, I’ve always been aware of how many podcast episodes I’ve released, too, and each one became more and more remarkable because it was so uncertain I’d get there.

I talked about that in the 400th episode by going over the numbers, in what Roger Green accurately described in a comment on the podcast site as, “the most Arthur thing in this podcast”. Specifically, I looked at how long it took to reach each 100th episode.

Between Episode One (March 28, 2007) and Episode 100 on July 11, 2008, 471 days (1 year, 3 months, 13 days) passed. Episode 200, on March 3, 2010, was 600 days (1 year, 7 months, 20 days) after episode 200. My output started to slow down, and Episode 300, on June 24, 2013, was 1209 days (3 years, 21 days) after Episode 200.

And this latest hundred, Episode 400, was 3746 days—10 years, 3 months, 3 days—after episode 300. When I wrote in the episode shownotes, “Who’d ever have guessed I’d make it?”, I absolutely wasn’t joking, because there were plenty of times I thought I’d never make it to 400. What I didn’t know—and maybe it was all for the best that I didn’t—was that it took more than a decade to get to episode 400.

If I’d known how many years it would take to go from 300 to 400, would I have stopped earlier? The simple answer is no, though obviously I can’t know that for sure. However, my podcast, like this blog, was never about numbers of things published, it’s always been about telling my story over time, as things unfold. That means that collectively the two have presented my story—whether literally about me or more generally, including my interests at any given time—more completely over the past 17 years than literally anything else I’ve done or created. I include the (very) few YouTube videos I made in that because I shared all of them here on this blog, too (all of my posts with/about my videos are tagged AmeriNZ Video).

I know, because people have told me, that they’ve gotten something from my podcasts and blog posts, and that’s powerful encouragement to continue making them. However, if I didn’t have the internal drive to create them, encouragement alone wouldn’t be enough—it’s kind of a partnership, really. I like that.

I’ve never made a cent from any of this stuff I’ve created, but I absolutely don’t have anything against anyone who makes money from what they create, including blogs, podcasts, and YouTube videos—all of which I’ve made over the years, too. I talked about monetisation in a post six years ago this week, and noted that people “like me and most of the content creators I know” had made stuff “without receiving any money coming in as a result of that work”. I added:
There’s nothing wrong with people who create stuff just for the love it, and that’s sort of the flipside of crowdfunding: Very often [creators] don’t participate in any sort of crowdfunding merely because they don’t want to.
Everyone deserves to be be compensated for their work, and, for me, that compensation doesn't come in the form of money or gifts or whatever, but from interaction with folks who have been affected in some way by what I make. However, if I’m truly honest, my greatest payment is the self-satisfaction I get from the work, especially when it turns out well—and it turns out well far more often than I’d ever admit.

This is incredibly easy for me to say, though, and I’m keenly aware that it’s coming from a place of privilege: Leo and I are the only ones who depend on me having money to spend on the necessities of life, so I don’t need to receive an income from the time I spend creating stuff. There’s another side to that, though: As a dual national, if I made money from this, I probably wouldn’t see much of it because it could be taxed in two countries (and give me enormous compliance costs, too). I’d have to bring in some pretty serious money in order to get even a small net income out of it.

So, because I don’t need to make any money from my creative work, and because I’d have to make a boatload to receive much of anything, it’s easy for me to do all this stuff as a “labour of love”. And that’s the essence of why even small things like noting the fact I finally achieved my 400th podcast episode matters so much to me: The satisfaction is my paycheck.

I often say, “celebrate the small stuff”. This milestone is a perfect example of why I say that.

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