Why I need to take a break

by allison on January 3, 2015

In March 2007, I posted my first podcast. It was an interview with Kurt Browning.

In April 2006 I was working a mind-numbing job. iTunes was brand new (hard to believe it hasn’t always been around, but it was indeed new in 2006). Podcasting was also brand new. On the iTunes Store there were a very few podcasts available, and since my job was so boring I listened to them all! One of them was a podcast about . . . how to create a podcast. I started brainstorming about what I could do with a skating podcast if I created one. By random chance, I got the opportunity to interview Kurt in March 2007, so I learned everything I could and voilà . . . the Manleywoman SkateCast was born. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a wonderful start.

I never imagined at that time how the podcast would have grown. That I would have interviewed such legends as Barbara Ann Scott, Dick Button, Bob Paul, Tamara Moskvina, Norbert Schramm, etc! That I would have been quoted in books, interviewed for articles, and included as a skating expert on radio broadcasts. That I would have been recognized in the hallways of skating arenas by random people. It’s been an amazing trip.

Almost 8 years and 82 podcasts later, I’m finding I need to take a break.

My life has gotten increasingly busier over the years. I started the podcast in 2007. My first son was born in 2008, and the next in 2011. I ran a business. I became a single mom. And as my kids get older, I find my nights consumed with homework, packing lunch the next day, laundry, etc. I’m struggling to find time to skate myself. To be honest, I’m struggling in general. I don’t have time to watch all the competitions, read the articles, and follow all the skating news anymore. I have no idea how many people listen to the podcast since I don’t have time to look up my analytics or statistics. To put it simply, I’m stretched too thin.

As a result, I feel I can’t devote the energy to doing the podcast the way it deserves to be done. I have more ideas than I have time. I had always intended on expanding the podcast into more frequent episodes, more book reviews, more contests, and just more content in general. I had even talked with others about partnering into a larger site where we could each contribute our content collectively. I want to update the website itself to be mobile-friendly. I want to create a new logo. I even brainstormed about creating an ebook with my existing content. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve started and left unfinished. And I’m continually frustrated at the stack of books and DVDs sent to me by generous authors who asked for a review. All of these ideas are great ones, and it frustrates me I can’t accomplish it all. If I were independently wealthy, or could turn this podcast into a full-time job, I would. Because it’s fun, fascinating, and rewarding.

My podcasts are an investment, both in the making and in the listening. It takes me 10-14 hours each month to create one between the scheduling, the research, the interview, the editing and mixdown. It takes a listener anywhere from 50 to 120 minutes to listen to one. In the age of quick, digestible media, it’s a lot of time to devote on both ends. This is why my longtime listeners have been such a treasure to me, and why it’s also hard to attract hard-core fans. I always wanted the podcasts to be in-depth, quality, and comprehensive, but I knew that by doing so I’d be shooting myself in the foot a bit with building a fan base.

So it’s with a mix of frustration and relief that I’m letting you all know that I need to take a break from the podcast for now.

I’m still extremely proud that over nearly 8 years of balancing my life and the podcast, I only missed two months of episodes (both when my kids were born). While there is and was so many more things I always intended to do with the podcast, I recognize that I accomplished so much. I met people I never thought I’d meet, had conversations I’ll always cherish, was invited into homes, given access to events, was made a confidant for knowledge and secrets, and created some incredible friendships. I tried to always interview with integrity, and shy away from gossip. And most rewarding of all, I feel I made a positive contribution to the skating world that will be accessible to everyone for all time. Not bad for a random skating fan who 8 years earlier was sitting in a cubicle listening to this new technology and wondering what she could do with it.

I am sad that there are so many others on my wish list I want to interview, from greats like the Protopopovs and Tenley Albright, to lesser-known contributors in the sport. But those conversations will have to wait. The recent death of a legend like Ina Bauer makes me sad I didn’t get the chance to interview her, and while I wish I could get to everyone, I just can’t right now.

I will be maintaining my Facebook and Twitter feeds, since I still want to stay in touch and occasionally post about skating. And I will be leaving www.manleywoman.com up so people can still listen to past episodes. I hope that in the near future I’ll pick it back up again.

There are some people to whom I owe incredible thanks. In no particular order: Debasish Biswas, Nick Pilgrim, Ray Belmonte, and Mark Welch, early fans and supporters; Merry Neitlich, Allison Scott, Doug Mattis for being my shoulder when I needed one; Ryan Stevens for grabbing the baton of preserving skating history and running with it; Jirina Ribbins for her enviable rolodex; Esther Pierce and Frazer Ormondroyd for their video libraries; Kim Sailer for accompanying me on several interviews and helping with setup; Fiona McQuarrie, who was a fan so interested that she volunteered her limited free time to transcribe every episode at manleywoman.com . . . I can’t emphasize enough what a huge effort it was to make it possible for those who couldn’t listen to the episodes to be able to read them, and we’ve never even met in person!; to the interviewees who inspire us all and let me into their homes and lives to share their stories; and lastly to the fans of skating and the podcast. Thank you, thank you all.

I can’t express how grateful I have been and always been to the skating community, and particularly those who have let me know via email or comments over the years how much they’ve enjoyed my work and listening to my voice. Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for listening. It’s been a privilege to do this for you. And I hope to do it again soon.

And always remember: don’t skate to Carmen. 🙂

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Pamela January 3, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Allison – what a huge accomplishment these last eight years have been and I hope you know how inspirational you have been to so many. Congratulations on making the tough decision to think about what you want to do with your time and for taking that step back to refocus. I eagerly await your return to podcasting!
Pamela

Evelyn Berggren January 3, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Dear Allison,
I understand your need to take a break. Frankly, I don’t know how you have been managing all that you have been doing especially progressing so beautifully as a skater.
I will miss your podcasts terribly. Listening to them has increased my appreciation for all of these wonderful, accomplished people.
I wish you success and happiness for 2015. I also hope to hear more of your interviews in the not too distant future.

Allison Scott January 3, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Allison – You may be gone (for awhile) but certainly not forgotten. I am so honored to be Episode #39; it gave me a chance to know you and that’s been worth everything. Life has other plans. We all get that. Know what you have given us with your podcasts is a history of the sport that will be forever preserved. We all thank you for that – and love you for it, too.
An always remember: don’t skate to Phantom, either 🙂 XOXO A2

Chris Schmaltz January 3, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Thanks for all the Podcasts! I really enjoyed them. They were like a delightful treat every month.

Sean Landriault January 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Going to miss your podcasts but I definitely understand how life gets in the way of things 🙁

Marcia Richards January 3, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Allison:

You have done an incredible job and I for one have really appreciated your work. However, as a previous single mom of only one I always wondered how you did it. As they say ” You deserve a break today”. We will miss your podcasts but understand. Regardless you have left a skating legacy.

Claire Cloutier January 4, 2015 at 12:18 am

Hi Allison, sorry to hear you’ll be taking a break from your podcast blog. Your work has been much appreciated by skating fans, and you’ll be missed! Wish you all the best.

Kim Triplett January 4, 2015 at 12:19 am

If you come back and in need of new design, top to bottom I would like to work with you! I heck I think I even donated to the boot skating fund lol cause I believe in you!! I am a small business owner, veteran owned and single mom operated since the spouse is always deployed 🙂 and a full time Art school college student just trying to live the dream as well! We all need help and so I am offering it! No money! Just good friendship, a linkup and if you can take my horrid jokes then we will make become fast BFFs! I hope you find your energy and the time and reach all your dreams!! If this sounds crazy stalkerish I am sorry. Typing with a 3 and 5 year old splits one brain into a crazy Pysch mode lol. 🙂

Kim

Kansai PJ January 4, 2015 at 8:07 am

I am saddened that you are stepping away (hopefully for not too long), but I can understand how time-consuming and tiring it is to put them out. Your hard work and creativity have been greatly appreciated by me and many other skate-fans that I know. Thank you for all the podcasts you have done thus far and I hope there will be more sometime in the future.

Lexi R. January 5, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Allison,

You have contributed something amazing to our sport. Enjoy your well deserved break. Thank you for this!

Don O'Shea January 28, 2015 at 4:33 am

I would like to thank you very much for your kind words about Tarah Kayne and my son Danny O’Shea. They made very positive steps to get back on track after Tarah’s surgery. We are very proud of them and there progress and believe in there determination to continuously improve. All the best.
Don O’Shea

Hugh Graham March 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Thanks so much for your incredible podcasts. This was fascinating and wonderful. Kept me entertained for endless hours. Such rich history. Thank you for taking the time to document it and to interview those names from the past who meant so much to us. Thank you for the effort even despite all the hardships. Hope you pick it up again some time but enjoy your well deserved break.

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