100 episodes

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.

    How to Ghostwrite a Bestseller with Author Adam Skolnick: Part Two

    How to Ghostwrite a Bestseller with Author Adam Skolnick: Part Two

    In Part Two of this file we return with an exclusive look into the process behind not only how a writer gets paid to ghostwrite a title for a celebrity, but also the writing, researching, and indie publishing of a book that has sat on top of the Amazon charts for over a year.
    “If you’re struggling to figure out what to write, it means you don’t know what you want to say." – Adam Skolnick
    Note: We had to get special permission from the incredible human and author, David Goggins, to share this story – so this is truly an exclusive – but it’s no secret that the book was written by my good friend. A huge thank you to Mr. Goggins and his spirit, generosity, and ethos.
    From ideation of his bestselling book Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by Author David Goggins – to publishing with Lioncrest, and the experimental new media formats like an audiobook/podcast and beyond, this is a glimpse behind the camouflage curtain.
    “... Can't Hurt Me, shares [Goggins's] astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. He calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.”
    The writer (or ghostwriter) is an award-winning international journalist, author, serial pundit, and “bad penny” Adam Skolnick, our own international correspondent.
    Adam’s narrative nonfiction book is available in paperback — One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits — is based on his award-winning New York Times sports coverage of the death of the greatest American freediver of all time.
    The book has been compared to other classics of extreme sports journalism — like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, and National Geographic Traveller called it “A vicarious thrill that you can enjoy in a little over 300 pages ... unless you read it in the bath...”
    The Writer Files is now available on Alexa! Because Apple Podcasts are available on Alexa-enabled Amazon devices in the United States, now all you have to do is say,
    "Alexa, play The Writer Files on Apple Podcasts." She will probably grant your wish ;-)
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

    If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    If you missed the first half of this show you can find it right here. And if you’ve missed previous episodes of The Writer Files you can find them all in the show notes, in the archives at writerfiles.fm, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you tune in.
    In Part Two of this file Adam Skolnick and I discussed: The importance of a large social following for non-fiction authors How timing plays such a big role in self-publishing success Why an audiobook/podcast hybrid might be the next big thing for authors The Golden Age for ghostwriting opportunities How David Goggins's inspiring message goes beyond cookie cutter self-help And why "there is no finish line" Show Notes:
    Words Matter by Wix How We Built the Wix Brand Voice Author Accelerator Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by Author David Goggins [Amazon] AdamSkolnick.com The Environmental Threat of Trump's Wall by Adam Skolnick Adam Skolnick on Instagram Adam Skolnick on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 32 min
    How to Ghostwrite a Bestseller with Author Adam Skolnick: Part One

    How to Ghostwrite a Bestseller with Author Adam Skolnick: Part One

    Welcome back to a special edition of the show we traditionally call “Writer Porn.” To kick off 2020 we have a very enlightening show for you that you're not going to want to miss.
    It’s an exclusive look into the process behind not only how a writer gets paid to ghostwrite a title for a celebrity, but also the writing, research, and indie publishing of a book that has sat on top of the Amazon charts for over a year! Did it beat Michelle Obama in 2019? TK
    “If you’re struggling to figure out what to write, it means you don’t know what you want to say." – Adam Skolnick
    Note: We had to get special permission from the incredible human and author, David Goggins, to share this story – so this is truly an exclusive – but it’s no secret that the book was written by my good friend. A huge thank you to Mr. Goggins and his spirit, generosity, and ethos.
    From ideation of his bestselling book Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by Author David Goggins – to publishing with Lioncrest, and the experimental new media formats like an audiobook/podcast and beyond, this is a glimpse behind the camouflage curtain.
    “In Can't Hurt Me, [Goggins] shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. He calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.”
    The writer (or ghostwriter) is an award-winning international journalist, author, serial pundit, and “bad penny” Adam Skolnick, our own international correspondent.
    Adam’s narrative nonfiction book is available in paperback — One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits — is based on his award-winning New York Times sports coverage of the death of the greatest American freediver of all time.
    The book has been compared to other classics of extreme sports journalism — like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, and National Geographic Traveller called it “A vicarious thrill that you can enjoy in a little over 300 pages ... unless you read it in the bath...”
    The Writer Files is now available on Alexa! Because Apple Podcasts are available on Alexa-enabled Amazon devices in the United States, now all you have to do is say,
    "Alexa, play The Writer Files on Apple Podcasts." She will probably grant your wish ;-)
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

    If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Adam Skolnick and I discussed: A definition of ghostwriting How Adam got tapped to ghostwrite for author and endurance athlete David Goggins Why Goggins turned down a major book publishing deal and decided to self-publish (with Adam still attached) The Joe Rogan effect for authors How Adam made the decision to help write David's story And the unique research and drafting process that went into a bestseller ... Show Notes:
    Words Matter by Wix How We Built the Wix Brand Voice Author Accelerator Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by Author David Goggins [Amazon] AdamSkolnick.com 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part One Adam Skolnick on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 28 min
    How Award-Winning Novelist Juan Pablo Villalobos Writes

    How Award-Winning Novelist Juan Pablo Villalobos Writes

    Acclaimed, award-winning Mexican author and critic, Juan Pablo Villalobos, spoke with me from Barcelona, Spain about making difficult subjects accessible to young adults, the challenge of shifting from fiction to non-fiction, and why finding the right voice and POV is so important to telling your story.
    “If you know perfectly where you're going, the reader will feel the same ... he or she will get bored.” – Juan Pablo Villalobos
    The tragicomic, avant-garde author (known to his friends as J.P.) has published film and literary criticism, short stories, and award-winning novels now translated into 15 languages.
    His novels include Down the Rabbit Hole, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award (2011), as well as I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me, a Herralde Prize (2016) winner soon to be published in English.
    New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has called his writing “Excellent satire ... hilarious and smart, [that] takes on class in Mexico ... in a really useful way.”
    The author's latest is a departure into Young Adult, narrative non-fiction titled The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border.
    In a Kirkus starred review the heavily researched – and very timely book – was called, "A ... compilation of stories from unaccompanied Central American teen refugees who make tremendous sacrifices to cross the U.S.-Mexico border."
    Told in short vignettes, the author spoke with me about how he employed the narrative techniques of fiction in order to protect the protagonists’ identities and to address the difficult subject matter gathered in interviews, and inspired by immigrant minors seeking asylum from both violence and poverty.
    This is, quite obviously, the last show of the year and thank you for all of your support in 2019.
    Happy New Year! We'll be back with some incredible interviews in 2020, including an exclusive with a chart-topping ghostwriter who you may know (spoiler alert: he's been a recurring guest on the show), a self-publishing phenom, an Emmy Award-winning TV writer, an expert on optimizing your creative space or office, a NY Times bestselling suspense writer, and way more neuroscience for your brain!
    Also, The Writer Files is now available on Alexa! Because Apple Podcasts are available on Alexa-enabled Amazon devices in the United States, now all you have to do is say,
    "Alexa, play The Writer Files on Apple Podcasts." She will probably grant your wish ;-)
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

    If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Juan Pablo Villalobos and I discussed: The importance of unpredictability, point of view, and surprising yourself as a writer Why writing is (still) rewriting How the author told the stories of asylum seekers in the first person, and the challenging research process behind his latest work The power of literature for sharing difficult subjects with young readers How the author revisited Kurt Vonnegut's writing only after being compared to him And advice to scribes on why every writer's process should be unique Show Notes: Author Accelerator The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos [Amazon] Juan Pablo Villalobos – Amazon author page Juan Pablo Villalobos on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 38 min
    How Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Ken Davenport Writes

    How Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Ken Davenport Writes

    Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, writer, and artrepreneur, Ken Davenport, stopped by this week to talk with me about what it takes to consistently create hit musical theatre, his passion for storytelling, and lessons on today's business of Broadway.
    “I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.” – Ken Davenport
    Over his storied career Mr. Davenport has had multiple Tony Award wins and nominations for his productions including 2018's Best Revival of a Musical for Once on This Island.
    His lengthy list of credits also includes The Play That Goes Wrong, Groundhog Day (Tony nomination), Awakening (Tony nomination), Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell, Kinky Boots (Broadway – Tony Award, National Tour, Toronto and West End), The Visit (Tony nomination), Mothers and Sons (Tony nomination), The Bridges of Madison County, Chinglish, Oleanna starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles, and Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America, to name only a few.
    Ken is a co-founder of TEDxBroadway whose productions have been produced internationally in over 25 countries and his one-of-a-kind production and marketing savvy have been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC and even Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" monologue.
    His blog and podcast about the business of Broadway – TheProducersPerspective.com – have also been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and The Gothamist and he's written several books including How to Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything, and How to Write a Script in 30 Days.
    NOTE: This episode is marked explicit because we say a word that means "poop" a few times, as my daughter pointed out.
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

    If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    In this file Ken Davenport and I discussed: Why theatre is the original storytelling medium Secrets behind the intensely collaborative, NASCAR-like process to making a hit How creating a musical is like getting 17 people to recreate the Mona Lisa The power of deadlines and the greatest challenge of capturing an audience's attention Why ideas are worth nothing without a sh*tty first draft And advice and free resources for writers who want to break into Broadway Show Notes: Author Accelerator TheProducersPerspective.com 30 Day Script Challenge Davenport Theatrical Ken Davenport on Instagram Ken Davenport on Facebook Ken Davenport on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter

    • 33 min
    How Oscar Nominated Screenwriter Kim Krizan Writes: Part Two

    How Oscar Nominated Screenwriter Kim Krizan Writes: Part Two

    In Part Two of this file the Academy Award nominated screenwriter, actor, and author, Kim Krizan, returned to discuss how she came to work with director Richard Linklater on the critically acclaimed Before Sunrise film series, her lifelong study of femme fatales, and the pioneering work of author Anaïs Nin.
    "I write so the endangered thoughts roaming naked and vulnerable through the misty jungles of my mind aren't slain by the guns of practical living." – Kim Krizan
    Kim earned her Masters degree in English and Literature and while she was writing her thesis – titled "Anaïs Nin and The Psychology of Creativity" – she auditioned for a film part on a lark.
    As a result, she went on to act in some of acclaimed director Richard Linklater's best known films including Slacker, Dazed and Confused, and even played herself in Waking Life.
    After taking interest in her Masters thesis, Linklater and Krizan went on to co-write the lauded film Before Sunrise (1995), featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and they collaborated on the entire award-winning trilogy.
    It's no surprise that her in-depth studies of the life of a visionary author also led to her latest book – Spy in the House of Anaïs Nin – "...a penetrating look at Nin’s incredible life and famous diary...Firmly placing Nin in her historical context as a feminist and visionary."
    *A note on the audio quality of this episode, Kim did join me via telephone for this interview.*
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

    If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
    If you missed the first half of this show you can find it right here. And if you’ve missed previous episodes of The Writer Files you can find them all in the show notes, in the archives at writerfiles.fm, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you tune in.
    In Part Two of this file Kim Krizan and I discussed: Why the liminal hours between waking and sleeping are so valuable for writers How Kim befriended Anaïs Nin's family and was granted access to her secret letters, papers, and original manuscripts What drove Nin to become the most groundbreaking self-published female author of her time How Nin's visionary work predicted the future The secrets of a literary legend and the many (often broke) famous authors she befriended and loved And why you're allowed to write a piece of crap and risk failure early on Show Notes: Author Accelerator How Oscar Nominated Screenwriter Kim Krizan Writes: Part One Spy in the House of Anaïs Nin by Kim Krizan [Amazon] Kim Krizan's author page on Amazon The Wild, Impassioned World of Anaïs Nin’s Diaries - Kim Krizan for Literary Hub Kim Krizan on IMDB.com Kim Krizan on Facebook Kim Krizan on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Please click the PayPal Donate button to support The Writer Files with a secure PayPal donation

    • 32 min
    How Oscar Nominated Screenwriter Kim Krizan Writes: Part One

    How Oscar Nominated Screenwriter Kim Krizan Writes: Part One

    Academy Award nominated screenwriter, actor, and author, Kim Krizan, joined me this week to discuss how she came to work with director Richard Linklater on the critically acclaimed Before Sunrise film series, her lifelong study of femme fatales, and the pioneering work of author Anaïs Nin.
    "I write so the endangered thoughts roaming naked and vulnerable through the misty jungles of my mind aren't slain by the guns of practical living." – Kim Krizan
    Kim earned her Masters degree in English and Literature and while she was writing her thesis – titled "Anaïs Nin and The Psychology of Creativity" – she auditioned for a film part on a lark.
    As a result, she went on to act in some of acclaimed director Richard Linklater's best known films including Slacker, Dazed and Confused, and even played herself in Waking Life.
    After taking interest in her Masters thesis, Linklater and Krizan went on to co-write the lauded film Before Sunrise (1995), featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and they collaborated on the entire award-winning trilogy.
    It's no surprise that her in-depth studies of the life of a visionary author also led to her latest book – Spy in the House of Anaïs Nin – "...a penetrating look at Nin’s incredible life and famous diary...Firmly placing Nin in her historical context as a feminist and visionary."
    *A note on the audio quality of this episode, Kim did join me via telephone for this interview.*
    Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.

    In Part One of this file Kim Krizan and I discussed: The effects her study of the experimental life of a literary pioneer had on her own path to creativity How her travels abroad influenced her screenwriting Why boredom is so important for writers How your observation of stranger's interactions is often interpreted into the language of storytelling And how to outsmart your own inner critic Show Notes: Author Accelerator How Oscar Nominated Screenwriter Kim Krizan Writes: Part Two Spy in the House of Anaïs Nin by Kim Krizan [Amazon] Kim Krizan's author page on Amazon The Wild, Impassioned World of Anaïs Nin’s Diaries - Kim Krizan for Literary Hub Kim Krizan on IMDB.com Kim Krizan on Facebook Kim Krizan on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Please click the PayPal Donate button to support The Writer Files with a secure PayPal donation

    • 27 min

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