Saturday, June 27, 2009
Well, it seems a lot has happened since my podcasting class last week. First decision ... am I going to take this seriously? The fact I purchased and received an H2 Zoom recording device should answer that question. Secondly, podcast what? The obvious answer is my novel. That's why I got interested in this in the first place. The reality is though, it's not quite ready for prime time. Okay, so part of this is just reluctance to put it out to the world for scrutiny. Ideally, I would like to run the whole thing through the writer's group first. Their comments have been very positive and they feel it IS ready for prime time. At 4 pages a week though, it'll take about 2.5 years to get through the whole thing with them.
Anyway, I'm doing my regular Friday firefighter training yesterday and I get a call from my friend,TJ. I'm not using his real name because I didn't tell him everything I was going to say about him in this blog. He tells me he happens to have read my post about the podcasting idea on Facebook, and has some suggestions. Now here's an interesting story in itself. I met TJ in August 2001 when he entered my Emergency Medical Technician class at the community college. That, of course, was a unique semester because I disappeared for two weeks in October to work at Ground Zero with my federal disaster medical assistance team. He graduated and went on to work at the same ambulance company where I was working as a field supervisor/clinical coordinator. A few years later, he showed me something he had written about the student's perspective of experiencing their instructor going off to Ground Zero. It blew my socks off. Later, he showed me a story about some of his experiences early in his career and how they affected him. One thing was obvious ... the boy could write! We began sharing ideas about writing projects we were working on. I encouraged him to keep writing. He did ... right into his own business. He tired of working on an ambulance and began writing for hospitals. Yesterday he tells me his business has morphed into a writing/communications/IT type company. So, getting back to the podcasting thing, he had some great ideas about how to market a podcast, find sponsors, and was willing to help with a supporting website. Go figure. Maybe this thing is really supposed to happen. It's also interesting how my original teacher/student relationship with TJ may now become a professional collaboration.
So, back to the original question ... what to podcast while the novel is in final edits? I checked iTunes to see what was available for paramedics. My first surprise was ... well, me! This blog is up there and people can subscribe to it. I'd better make it interesting (and maybe come up with a new avatar). I found that the iTunes offerings for paramedics consisted of a few educational podcasts, but nothing like what I'm considering.
The idea came from a Facebook discussion I've been having with a local veteran firefighter. He mentioned that most people, even family, don't understand what we (paramedics, firefighters, EMTs, police ... and I would include disaster workers) really go through in our professional lives. It occurred to me that 1. Maybe there are people in the business who would like to share some of their experiences, 2. There are people that would like to hear them, 3. Writing itself can be cathartic when you're working through a tough call, and 4. Maybe the public could learn more (and appreciate) the lives of public safety/EMS/emergency room employees. So, I put the idea out last night to my almost 300 Facebook friends and am already getting responses. I also put it out on my Disaster EMS page on JEMS Connect (http:connect.jems.com/groups/disasterems). I think it's an idea worth pursuing and it might do something positive for the public safety community.
What else? I haven't abandoned the idea of working on some stories with the writer's group. That's still a viable option. Seth suggested I go back to the beginning of his blog (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read what he learned as he began podcasting. I'm doing that. There's some really useful (and interesting) stuff there. BTW, as I was talking to some folks on Facebook last night, Matthew Wayne Selznick, another podcast author, popped in to say hi. He's got an interesting thing going at http://www.hazydaysandcloudynights.com. Also, check iTunes for his podcast novel, "Brave Men Run -- A Novel of the Sovereign Era," which attracted 30,000 readers worldwide! Go Matt! I'm learning a lot about the marketing aspect from watching authors like him.
So, there ya go. This time last week I was on the cutting edge of learning this stuff, and this week ... iTunes? Obviously more to come. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't think it's a freight train. Thanks all, for the encouragement so far! Now, it's back to writing EMT textbook chapters so I can pay the mortgage ...