4: Life Update
I am feeling stagnant again.
This week, I have found myself wondering whether to travel or to get a place. It’s not like I have the means to do either with any form of immediacy but I have been wondering about the choice to do one or the other. I can’t do both. I think if I worked really hard and saved a lot, I would be able to do one. I think.
I am also kind of reaching the end of one of my moments of rush. I don’t know if there is anyone else who can relate to this but I feel like I live my life in short bursts of adrenaline. I have felt that way since I was in university. For a period of time, I have focus, I have drive, I have hope. During this period, I am able to focus on trying to do work, during this period I feel like I have ambition. Then comes a time when I start to reflect and I don’t feel that way anymore. Instead, I start to feel like what’s the point? When do things change? When do I figure out my life? When do I become more?
I am currently at that point. At the end of a burst of adrenaline - entering a point of despair. Wondering where? Why? How? When? That’s the big one, when? When does this make sense? As this burst comes to its end, I find myself thinking about how I don’t know where I am going in life. I genuinely do not.
Do I want to travel? Do I want to get a place?
Incase you are new here: My name is Mo Isu. I am an audio producer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I am currently attempting to build a career in audio journalism. I have taught myself everything I know so far. You are reading issue 4 of my newsletter detailing this segment of my journey.
Where am I going?
It’s been a pretty big struggle trying to stay consistent with these newsletter updates. At the moment, I manage to send one out every month. When I started it, I didn’t commit to any frequency, then I tried to commit to a biweekly schedule and here I am, sending this one almost a month after the last one.
The thing about this newsletter is that I actually do care deeply about it and I want you to care about it too. I played with the idea of starting a newsletter for a very long time. I already have a medium publication where I regularly write essays. That medium page already has a small dedicated audience. I needed to justify starting another writing community. I also played with the idea of curating a publication about audio, I considered having a place where I shared updates about work I do and about things I learnt. I considered having a publication where I shared resources. Getting helpful resources along the way has been one of the hardest and most fulfilling parts of my journey. It’s really hard to find useful resources but when you find them, they can quite literally change your approach, and change the way you do this work. The most recent example of this happened in a sound design class I attended last month. It was hosted by Stephanie Cohn of Dustlight Productions. The class had been about some practical effects on Pro Tools but I came away with a new philosophy for my approach to sound design. I now think about opportunities to sound design a piece of audio as either an opportunity to create a literal impression or an abstract one. Perhaps I will talk a little more about this in a future issue.
What I am trying to say right now is that I do care deeply about this newsletter and I want you to care too. I want you to care about me, about my work or about what you get from this newsletter. And with the lacklustre consistency I have maintained, I am scared that I cannot justify your attention. So I am going to try this, a weekly commitment. You will get a new issue every Thursday at 12 noon WAT. If for some reason, this doesn’t happen, you will get an explanation. Some posts will be more detailed than others and some posts will be longer. Some would have taken me a month to write and some would have taken a couple of hours.
I saw a visual representation of showing up daily earlier today.
Sometimes, showing up with only a little is better than not showing up at all. Our expectation for consistency is that we are the best every day and that’s not sustainable. Consistency means that we try out best every day, and our best on some days will be better than on other days. I sound a little preachy right now because I am talking to myself.
One of the things I have felt a lot lately as I start to question my place in the world is this absence of progress. Like I have nothing to show for what I claim to be, I have nothing to show for the work I claim to be doing. This isn’t simply a lack of external validation but just progress. I feel like I might have let myself down in making marginal progress, especially in the past couple of months.
I have been a little sadder, more apathetic, more lethargic; spending the energy I do have on asking those questions: when does this change? when do I become more?
I have been wondering about my life, about its direction and its destination, all things that I don’t know. I am uncertain. In my personal life, I recently have had to confront my uncertainty and confront the ways I let that influence other people. I have written about living with uncertainty. The current place I am in life is defined by uncertainty but I have come to embrace it. I know that it’s either I do things while uncertain or I don’t do things at all. I much rather be lost on an adventure than never have gone on the adventure.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to get back into writing fiction. Writing fiction is where I got my creative start. The story that brings me here, an audio producer at 25, starts with me as a writer at 13, writing fictional stories about teenagers with super powers. I have been going to a coffee shop every Saturday for three weeks. I buy a cafe mocha and I try to write. I recently caught myself dreaming of the lifestyle of a writer. I was going through the Instagram page of a writer I follow. She’s currently on a residency somewhere in the US. I was daydreaming about what it would be like to have a residency to write, out in a cabin with other writers. We would spend our days writing and having intellectual conversations about literature. We would spend evenings walking down serene paths, inhaling inspiration from the beautiful terrain. Then I stopped myself with this question:
Do you want a writer’s life or do you want to be a writer?
In a weird way, simply asking that question gave me the answer I needed. Not just in that aspect of my life but in everything work-related. Do I want an audio producer’s life or do I want to be an audio producer? I know the thing I need to do to get what I want. That’s the thing I need to be doing.
I have spoken to so many people about pitching. I have written to you about pitching. Do you know what I haven’t done yet? I haven’t pitched.
So at this moment, this is how I feel about work, about where I am and where I am going.
I am not going to travel and I am not going to get a place. At this exact moment in time, neither of those things can be done even though I want to do both of them. At the moment, something that needs to happen is I need to send out a story pitch. In the coming weeks, one of my issues has to be able this, about me writing a story pitch and sending it out.
I know what I need to do.
Thank you for reading this issue
I currently do audio engineering for a podcast about the experiences of African women. It is called I like girls and the second season is currently running.
You can find the company I work for (voix collective) on Twitter and Instagram @voixcollective. Please follow us.
Read the about page for Act Two, I am proud of it
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