top of page

Podcasting is going to be easy and other dumb assumptions

Start a podcast, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

It’s Saturday morning and I am sitting inside Hub’s closet. I’m propped up on a meditation pillow because I was tired of sitting on the floor. Before me rests a laptop and a new microphone. Before I sequestered myself, I walked down the hall with the surprisingly heavy mic and ran into Behr in full pajamas and a box of Cheese It’s tucked under his arm.

I asked him, “Hey. You want to record on my new microphone.”

“Nope,” and he ran into his room.

The cheese it stands alone.

I knew I needed to record my first podcast episode, and with a house full of people, I could not record in my writing studio. I needed even more privacy. So I made a space for myself in Hub's closet.

I also had a cold, but had not lost my voice, so I went for it anyway. Truth time, did you know that when you have a cold and talk a lot, you just build up more congestion and end up coughing more. At least I did. I would read a few lines, and hack up into a roll of toilet paper I had pulled from our stash.

I had my script in front of me, and I thought, this will be a full half hour of content. As I was reading it, I realized how wooden I sounded. I also realized how much I hated my script. It was not as cute and punchy as I had thought it would be. When I reached the end, I had clocked a full EIGHT minutes of content. Not a half an hour. It was dreadful. I told myself I would “punch it up in post” because I had heard that in a movie once. I’m still not sure what it means.

I had told myself it would be a batch day – where you batch a bunch of recordings while I had the closet space. I started working on my intro and trailer. Podcasting was -- in fact -- not easy. It was actually dreadful.

A microphone and open laptop on a desk

I was stuck on this idea that I would turn on the mic and suddenly sound like an NPR personality. This is the same magical thinking that had me believing that I would open my senior pictures portfolio and be transformed into Cindy Crawford. My grandmother was with me and kept saying, “Why are you crying? This is what you look like.” Insert Lucille Ball wail.

But it wasn’t just that I did not sound like I would soon play a set of smooth jazz or requests for the lovelorn, but that I sounded awkward and weird. I sounded self conscious.

Rarely am I self conscious when I talk. I probably should be more self-conscious. I have no issue standing before a crowd of people and speaking like I know what I am talking about. I should have probably checked myself the time I asked my store manager, “But haven’t you already been divorced twice?”

And then I realized that I still had to record the trailer for my podcast and I was stumped on what the podcast was really about. And every time I hit the record button and started talking, I would flub what I was saying, call myself dumb and record over it. The stopping and starting was tripping me up. It was like walking up to the edge of the diving board and then not jumping, then climbing down the steps only to climb back up again.

Finally, I just turned on the mic and started talking. I treated it like freewriting – when my students enter a room, we write without interruption, without crossing out, and without editing. I needed to talk my way into my introduction.

And then I realized, I am not a good “reader” or I am not practiced enough to be. But I am good at lecturing. I have no problem walking in front of a pack of apathetic teens and talking through my slides. So that’s what I did. I turned my script into an outline, and started again – much more at ease, much more natural, flawed but reasonably so.

On March 14, my first episodes of Cowgirl Bookworms became available, and more than anything I am excited that I did it and excited that I let myself work through my errors with a reasonable amount of grace.

Here are my top and most memorable flubs:

  • I bought the wrong microphone. I mean, I got a good one, but it was incompatible with the portable voice recorder I had just purchased to record my live events, which I have also consistently forgotten to pack on the days I do live speaking events. Wah wah.

  • I insisted on recording even though I had a cold. Luckily I was able to edit out every cough and hack.

  • I read directly off the script like Ross reading his lecture notecards on Friends. I had to pivot and remember that I could speak just like I am speaking to a class.

  • I underestimated how much water I needed to drink. Talking = water consumption. I had to pause and fill my cup a lot.

  • I had – and still struggle – with talking too slow or too fast. When I get nervous and excited, I talk fast.

  • Perfection is not attainable. I am a women in my closet, not an experienced podcaster with a studio. I’m doing the best I can.

  • I know practically nothing about Garage Band. I know more now than when I started. I thought it would be self-intuitive. It’s not. I clicked “monitor through computer speakers” while my microphone was on and experienced the joyful sound of feedback. I also don’t know how to save any of my settings, yet, so each recording session I inevitably forget to check my output settings and try to listen to my recording through my microphone. Again, more feedback issues.

But I did it and plan to keep going for the remainder of my 12-episode season.

Be sure to check out Cowgirl Bookworms with Brandi Bradley where you can get all the Books and Boots content on the go. Be sure to follow, like, and subscribe wherever podcasts are found.

Also, if it’s my stories you are after, be sure to check out “Local Monsters” at the store.

Read Books. Wear Boots.




bottom of page