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Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at writerfiles.fm to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Mans War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.

The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience Kelton Reid

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Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at writerfiles.fm to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Mans War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.

    Productivity Secrets from NY Times Bestselling Author John Zeratsky

    Productivity Secrets from NY Times Bestselling Author John Zeratsky

    New York Times bestselling author and productivity expert, John Zeratsky, made time to chat with me about his mission to help you improve your focus, find greater meaning in your work, and get more out of each day.
    “All of the old structures and routines are gone.... When we have a schedule for ourselves ... that becomes scaffolding we can stand on, we're free to focus.” — John Zeratsky
    John studied journalism in college and has spent over 15 years as a designer for tech companies like YouTube and Google. He was also Google Ventures's in-house copywriter, editor, and content strategist. At Google Ventures, he helped develop the design sprint process and worked with close to 200 startups, including Uber, Slack, 23andMe, and Nest.
    As a result he co-authored the bestseller Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days – written with fellow "Time Dork" Jake Knapp. But they're by no means run-of-the-mill productivity experts, as you'll soon hear.
    Their latest collaboration is Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day a book described by the bestselling author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, as "A charming manifesto [and] do-it-yourself guide to building smart habits that stick. If you want to achieve more (without going nuts), read this book."
    Seems only fitting at a time when many of us are WFH (working from home), experiencing cabin fever (or worse), and questioning the future of work itself (i.e. "going nuts").
    John is a keynote speaker whose writing has been published by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Fast Company, and many other publications.
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file John Zeratsky (JZ – no not that Jay-Z) and I discussed: Why your smartphone saps your energy, focus, and attention The origins of the "distraction-free" mindset How to rethink your definition of time Why now is the best time to write that novel Sustainable ways to tune out during a pandemic Why storytelling is still the universal solvent And the importance of recharging your soul Show Notes: MakeTime.blog JohnZeratsky.com Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky [Amazon] John Zeratsky on LinkedIn John Zeratsky on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 46 Min.
    How NY Times Bestselling Author James Swallow Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Author James Swallow Writes

    Award-winning New York Times, Sunday Times, and Amazon #1 bestselling author, James Swallow, spoke with me about his superhero origin story, how he found success channeling his own anger, and the most important lessons he's learned along the way.
    "I try to make the details as authentic as I possibly can ... because a lot of the action in my books is 'heightened reality.'" – James Swallow
    James is a former journalist and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominated scriptwriter who has written for video games, TV, and radio.
    The prolific author of over 50 books – who has written sci-fi for storied franchises including Star Trek, Dr. Who, and Stargate – is best known for his espionage thrillers.
    His Marc Dane series – with over 750,000 books in print worldwide – includes novels Nomad, Exile, Ghost, Shadow, and his forthcoming novel Rogue, the fifth in the bestselling series featuring "Britain's answer to Jason Bourne," out May 28th (from Zaffre Books).
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file James Swallow and I discussed: Why the pandemic feels like "almost the end of the world" The renaissance of "high-speed, low-drag" thrillers inspired by the '80s His theories on the fallibility of action heroes How his journalism and TV writing experience set him up for success Why writers are always writing ... even when they're not His greatest influences And much more! Show Notes: www.jswallow.com James Swallow on Amazon  James Swallow on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter  

    • 50 Min.
    How to Publish Your First Novel with Acclaimed Author Abbigail N. Rosewood

    How to Publish Your First Novel with Acclaimed Author Abbigail N. Rosewood

    Award-winning writer and debut novelist, Abbigail N. Rosewood, joined me to discuss the roller coaster of emotions first-time authors face, how she overcame rejection and uncertainty, and her advice to aspiring scribes on how to rise above the noise.
    "Seeking representation didn't prepare me well for what was to come..." – Abbigail N. Rosewood
    Abbigail was born in Vietnam and lived there until the age of 12, so it's no surprise that she tapped into her past as a well for her fiction.
    After a false start in International Business, she earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University where she studied with famed fictionist Gary Shteyngart.
    Her lauded debut novel, If I Had Two Lives, has been described as "... [The] story [of] a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and the necessary return to her homeland."
    The Los Angeles Review of Books called it, “... a tale of staggering artistry,” and The New Yorker said "...the novel poignantly conjures the difficulties of reconciling the present with an 'ungraspable history.'"
    ** Note: This interview was recorded in mid-February, 2020.
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Abbigail N. Rosewood and I discussed: Why empathy is so critical in fiction and the human experience The surreal (and fleeting) feeling of holding your first book in print How she was compelled to write the story of a Vietnamese immigrant/protagonist Why rejection is such an integral part of the traditional publishing path The importance of music and coffee to the creative process And the most valuable traits for aspiring writers Show Notes: abbigailrosewood.com If I Had Two Lives – by Abbigail N. Rosewood Abbigail N. Rosewood on Facebook Abbigail N. Rosewood on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter  

    • 36 Min.
    Earth Day Special with Terrain.org Editor-in-Chief Simmons Buntin

    Earth Day Special with Terrain.org Editor-in-Chief Simmons Buntin

    Editor-in-Chief of Terrain.org, Simmons Buntin, helped me celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by discussing why we need strong writing voices now more than ever, how to deal with the current "infodemic" of misinformation, and resources for starting your own revolution.
    “The voices in this essential anthology are anything but silent. Indeed, they are voices of hope, habitat, defiance, and, most importantly, democracy. Lend your ears, and then your own voice.” — Simmons Buntin
    Simmons has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the CU, Denver, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, so it's no surprise that he found the intersection of "... the built and natural environments [something he calls] 'the soul of place'."
    As the editor-in-chief of Terrain.org, a nonprofit literary magazine that explores just that, he publishes works that examine how our environment influences us in profound ways.
    He's also the co-editor of a new collection titled Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy (Trinity University Press, April 22, 2020), described as a "patriotic anthology" that includes hundreds of writers, poets, artists, scientists, and political activists of all ages.

    The more than 130 impassioned letters to America are calls to action for common ground and conflict resolution with a focus on the environment and social justice.
    Lauded author and environmentalist, Bill McKibben, said of the book, “These letters come from a deep, real love of this place, and they imagine willing, receptive readers on the other end. We need a series of miracles looking forward, and this is one.”
    Simmons is the author of 2 books of poetry, Riverfall, and Bloom, and also Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places (co-authored with Ken Pirie). He has published poetry, essays, and technical articles in publications as varied as Edible Baja Arizona, North American Review, Kyoto Journal, and Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society.
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Simmons Buntin and I discussed: How he became the editor-in-chief of Terrain.org The origin story of the "Dear America" letter Why bringing together so many impassioned writing voices is vital to our planet right now How the 2020 Presidential election will have a huge impact on climate change (and democracy) Why we need to question the direction of our nation and our part as patriots And why it's more important than ever to be active, not passive Show Notes: Terrain.org Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy NRDC ACLU The Union of Concerned Scientists Terrain.org on Facebook Terrain.org on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 35 Min.
    The Legacy of Robert Ludlum with Author Joshua Hood

    The Legacy of Robert Ludlum with Author Joshua Hood

    Military thriller author, Joshua Hood, stopped by the podcast to talk with me about being given the keys to the Bentley of Robert Ludlum's storied writing legacy, the military toughness that's written into his own stories, and how impostor syndrome doesn't phase him.
    "In my career, I've had almost every bad thing that could happen to a writer ... happen to a writer." – Joshua Hood
    Joshua was an English major at the University of Memphis before joining the military where he spent five years in the 82nd Airborne Division.
    As a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq (2005-2006), the author conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan (2007-2008) and he was decorated for valor in Operation Furious Pursuit.
    Hood is also a decorated "life-saving" sniper team leader who was on a full-time SWAT team in Memphis, Tennessee, and he has conducted countless stateside operations with the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, and US Marshals.
    His background and expertise lend to the popularity of his own Search and Destroy military thriller series, and also made him a shoo-in to reboot the brilliant legacy of the late Robert Ludlum (1927-2001), a literary legend whose books have sold in the hundreds of millions.
    Joshua kicked off a new series inspired by Ludlum's Bourne universe with Robert Ludlum's The Treadstone Resurrection, a book that #1 New York Times bestselling author Mark Greaney called, “An intense and electrifying espionage adventure [and] ... a worthy addition to the Ludlum bookshelf.”
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Joshua Hood and I discussed: How The Hobbit lured him into a lifelong love of books and writing Why writers are more than just people who jot down (ransom) notes How he was handed the keys to the opportunity of a lifetime His meticulous research and writing process How bad "writing" luck can build resolve and character And what it means to him to honor the legend of Robert Ludlum Show Notes: JoshuaHoodBooks.com Robert Ludlum's The Treadstone Resurrection by Joshua Hood [Amazon] Joshua Hood's Amazon Author Page Joshua Hood on Facebook Joshua Hood on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 27 Min.
    How Editor-in-Chief of the LA Review of Books Tom Lutz Writes

    How Editor-in-Chief of the LA Review of Books Tom Lutz Writes

    Award-winning author, founder and editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tom Lutz, took a timeout to talk with me about his early years as a literary ne'er-do-well, what it's like to hang out with your heroes, and why you can assume every writer is faking it just a little bit.
    "Writing has never felt like a chore to me. It always feels like the space of freedom, and that I'm stealing the time from my job to do something I love." – Tom Lutz
    In addition to editing the Los Angeles Review of Books, "... a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating ... engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts," Tom also founded The LARB Radio Hour, The LARB Quarterly Journal, The LARB/USC Publishing Workshop, and LARB Books.
    He's a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, and the author of multiple bestselling and award-winning nonfiction titles – translated into dozens of languages – including Doing Nothing (American Book Award winner), Crying, and American Nervousness, 1903 (both New York Times Notables).
    His fiction debut is, “A literary thriller that wanders the globe,” novel Born Slippy is described as part "... literary thriller, noir and political satire ... a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.”
    Bestselling novelist James Ellroy said of the book, "Lutz has the seven deadly sins nailed and rethought for our 2020 world. You’ve got to dig this book!"
    Tom's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Chicago Tribune, ZYZZYVA, and many other newspapers and literary venues, as well as in dozens of books and academic journals.
    He previously taught at Stanford University, University of Iowa, CalArts, and the University of Copenhagen.
    ** Note on the audio quality: I reached Tom in his natural environs of LA, and the sounds of that urban landscape dot our interview. This interview was recorded at the end of January. Stay well!
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Tom Lutz and I discussed: His early years as a juvenile delinquent and the teacher that duped him into becoming a writer Why "... if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it." How he's happiest (and most creative) when playing hooky On impostor syndrome and sneaking in the back door of an exclusive club of writers What it's like to hang out with Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood And why you may not be the type of writer you think you are Show Notes: TomLutzWriter.com All things LARB Born Slippy by Tom Lutz [Amazon] Tom Lutz's Amazon Author Page Tom Lutz on Facebook Tom Lutz on Instagram Tom Lutz on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 47 Min.

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