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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

amwriting.substack.com

#AmWriting amwriting.substack.com

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

amwriting.substack.com

    Episode 194: #PutAPriceOnIt

    Episode 194: #PutAPriceOnIt

    Struggling to put a price on your time? Jess and Sarina (an economist and former trader on Wall Street) help your find that elusive number.

    A listener asked Jess for advice on consulting fees, so in order to find an answer more satisfying than, “It depends,” Jess and Sarina get down to economic brass tacks. Sarina explains how publishers or anyone else who wants to hire you for your writing value your time, and how you can propose a figure that takes everything from opportunity costs to fungibles into account. In an attempt to make pricing your time less complicated and emotionally fraught, Jess offers a simple formula to nail down a number that represents your hourly worth.

    Episode links and a transcript follow—but first, the #WritersTopFive that will be dropping into #AmWriting supporter inboxes on Monday, January 20, 2020 is ONE OF THE BEST YET: Top 5 Ways to Win at Newsletter Subject Lines. So sign up, support the podcast you love AND get weekly #WriterTopFives with actionable advice you can use for just $7 a month. (If you’re on KJ’s mailing list and have been impressed by her style lately—she read this early and took it to heart.)

    As always, this episode (and every episode) will appear for all subscribers in your usual podcast listening places, totally free. This shownotes email is free, too, so please—forward it to a friend, and if you haven’t already, join our email list and be on top of it with the shownotes and a transcript every time there’s a new episode.

    To support the podcast and help it stay free, subscribe to our weekly #WritersTopFive email.

    LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

    #AmReading (Watching, Listening)

    Jess: MasterClass and The Collected Schizophrenias Esmé Weijun Wang (and her Twitter feed)

    Sarina: The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

    This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, where January is Become a Book Coach Month. Sign up for mighty and wondrous Business of Book Coaching Summit here—or visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s Inside-Outline template.

    NEWS ABOUT US

    Watch KJ’s latest in the #BooksThatWon’tBumYouOut series on Instagram HERE. 

    Find more about Jess here and Sarina here.

    If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

    The image in our podcast illustration is by TK

    Transcript (We use an AI service for transcription, and while we do clean it up a bit, some errors are the price of admission here. We hope it’s still helpful.)

    KJ:                                        00:01                    Hey writers, it's KJ this week. Jess and Sarina recorded without me, but you'll barely even have a chance to miss me because I'm both right here and back next week. While they recorded I was off to a hockey tournament in Ottawa, but it didn't mean I wasn't writing. You have heard me talk about Jennie Nash's Inside Outline before and this was the tool that's really pushed me through a tough novel writing spot and has me feeling like I'm able to move forward, even if the muse is not present and mine definitely doesn't do Canada. Even if the hotel is depressing, and the weather is dreary, and I'm really not feeling it. Because I know where this book and I are going, I can still sit down and at least nudge us both in the direction of getting there. And if things change along the way, as they do, and have, and will, I can see where those changes fit in and what will happen when I make them. In fact, for this book (at least as it stands now) I've written about 17 outlines, which is a whole lot better than 17 books. So, if you're feeling the least bit stuck on your project, try applying the inside outline to what you've already written and to the scenes to come. It just m

    • 41 min
    Episode 193: #WriterDreamsComeTrue

    Episode 193: #WriterDreamsComeTrue

    She writes Emmy-winning television comedy, bestselling children’s books, plays, and sentences for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Is there nothing Jill Twiss can’t do?

    Musical theater actress and stand-up comic Jill Twiss dreamed of writing for television but did not know how to break in to the world of late-night comedy shows. The stars aligned when a few supportive women called some chits on her behalf, and lo, she landed a spot in the writing room of the Emmy-award winning show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Her work on Last Week Tonight has earned her multiple Emmys, WGA and Peabody Awards, and led to a series of bestselling children’s books as well as the opportunity to write humorous “Can I have that word in a sentence, please?” hints for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

    This week, Jill and Jess talk about how Jill got her start in television, her love of Vice President Mike Pence’s pet rabbit Marlon Bundo, how her children’s books came to be, their shared need for pressing deadlines, and Jill’s play-in-progress about the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.

    Episode links and a transcript follow—but first, you know we dropped the Top Five Ways to Find the Right Agent to pitch into everyone’s inbox last Monday. What will our supporters find there this Monday? It’s SO FRESH WE DON’T EVEN KNOW. But if you become a supporter, you will. Support the podcast you love AND get weekly #WriterTopFives with actionable advice you can use for just $7 a month.

    As always, this episode (and every episode) will appear for all subscribers in your usual podcast listening places, totally free as the #AmWriting Podcast has always been. This shownotes email is free, too, so please—forward it to a friend, and if you haven’t already, join our email list and be on top of it with the shownotes and a transcript every time there’s a new episode.

    Want to share this one? Click here to share on Facebook, and here for an editable tweet.

    LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

    #AmReading (Watching, Listening)

    Jess: Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins

    Jill: The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois

    Our guest for this episode is Jill Twiss.

    Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

    A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

    The Someone New

    Everyone Gets a Say

    The Marlon Bundo episode of Last Week Tonight (full episode):

    Just the excerpt about A Day in The Life of Marlon Bundo with a clip of the animated all-star cast audiobook:

    This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwritingfor details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s Inside-Outline template.

    Find more about Jess here, Sarina here and about KJ here.

    If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

    The image in our podcast illustration is by Kate DeCarvalho.

    The music in our podcast is by Max Cohen.

    Transcript (We use an AI service for transcription, and while we do clean it up a bit, some errors are the price of admission here. We hope it’s still helpful.)

    KJ:                                        00:01                    Hello fellow writers. The beginning of the year is a great time to think about what you really want from your writing life and if one of the things that's filled you with joy in the past is time spent encouraging, editing, and helping another writer you might want to consider becoming a book coach yourself. Our sponsor, Author Accelerator provides book coaching to authors like me, but also needs and trains book coaches. And they'll be hosting a free book coaching summit in January for anyone who wants to learn more. If that's got your ears perked up, head to auth

    • 49 min
    192 #HowtoBeaBookCoach

    192 #HowtoBeaBookCoach

    “Every writer,” book coach Jennie Nash tells us, “ thinks at some point that they just cannot do this. That’s just part of the process.” It’s not our favorite part—but it’s true, and getting past that stage and on with the job of finishing a book in any genre is the part of the process that many writers just can’t seem to conquer. But for some of us—like Jennie—helping other people get past that road block is a superpower. If that’s you (and you know if it is)—then we might just have a side hustle for you. In this episode, we talk to Author Accelerator’s Jennie Nash about the five things that make a good book coach, how she trains book coaches and her process for guiding a writer’s process—and why a good book coach must be paid.

    Transcripts are having a holiday break—but the next #WritersTopFive is already scheduled for Monday, January 6, 2020: Top Five Ways to Find the Right Agent to Pitch. Those Top Fives are how we thank our supporters, who tell us how much they appreciate the podcast by funding it at $7 a month or $80 a year. The end of the year is a great time to do just that—and you won’t want to miss that Top Five or the ones that come after. Ready to join us? Just click the button.

    As always, this episode (and every episode) will appear for all subscribers in your usual podcast listening places, totally free as the #AmWriting Podcast has always been. This shownotes email is free, too, so please—forward it to a friend, and if you haven’t already, join our email list and be on top of it with the shownotes and a transcript every time there’s a new episode.

    This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, where January is Become a Book Coach Month. Sign up for mighty and wondrous Business of Book Coaching Summit here—or visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s Inside-Outline template.

    LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

    #AmReading (Watching, Listening)

    Jess: Love and Other Words / Roomies by Christina Lauren

    KJ: Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata

    Sarina: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, Kate Raccullia

    Jennie: The House that Lou Built, Mae Respicio

    #FaveIndieBookstore

    The Crow, Burlington, VT.

    Find more about Jess here, Sarina here and about KJ here.

    If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 47 min
    Episode 191 #2020Goals

    Episode 191 #2020Goals

    Whoa. Fellow writers, 2020 is upon us. And here at #AmWriting HQ, we love setting annual goals. We really do. We adore everything about it, from the anticipation and planning to the writing them in our handy dandy notebooks (although this year KJ got paralyzed by the need to make them pretty and ended up with temporary under a to-do list scribbles).

    One reason we love it so much is that we feel good about our goals. Typically, we tend to reach them—and that isn’t because we’re super-people. It’s because we set the right kinds of goals. Things we can control, that are within our reach, that can me measured and revisited and that hold us up and support us in our work. And we also love words—which means we love choosing our word of the year. This year we’ve got three good ones. Listen in, and then share yours in our Facebook group.

    If you’re working on goal setting and want to read more about how we make goals work for us, we’ve got something for you, our loyal email subscribers: a goal-setting mini-ebook. Download it here.

    Links and transcripts are having a holiday break—but the next #WritersTopFive is already scheduled for Monday, January 6, 2020: Top Five Ways to Find the Right Agent to Pitch. Those Top Fives are how we thank our supporters, who tell us how much they appreciate the podcast by funding it at $7 a month or $80 a year. The end of the year is a great time to do just that—and you won’t want to miss that Top Five or the ones that come after. Ready to join us? Just click the button.

    As always, this episode (and every episode) will appear for all subscribers in your usual podcast listening places, totally free as the #AmWriting Podcast has always been. This shownotes email is free, too, so please—forward it to a friend, and if you haven’t already, join our email list and be on top of it with the shownotes and a transcript every time there’s a new episode.

    This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, where January is Become a Book Coach Month. Sign up for mighty and wondrous Business of Book Coaching Summit here—or visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwriting for details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s Inside-Outline template.

    Find more about Jess here, Sarina here and about KJ here.

    If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 43 min
    Episode 190: #DeclaringGoalsMet*

    Episode 190: #DeclaringGoalsMet*

    We’re reviewing our 2019 goals. Did we gloriously achieve? Live up to our words of the year by focusing on the worthy? Check every box and climb every mountain?

    We did okay.

    In some cases, we killed. In others, there were extenuating circumstances. Goals were revised, cast aside, postponed. All part of the process. To hear how we did, listen in—and be sure to share your bests and worsts from 2019 in the #AmWriting Facebook Group. Then, get ready for some #2020GoalSetting next week.

    Episode links and a transcript follow—but first, a request. Can you work supporting the #AmWriting podcast into your end-of-year budget? The next Monday’s #WritersTopFive: Top Five Ways to Find the Right Agent to Pitch, will drop into inboxes Monday, January 6, 2020—just in time for a new year of pitching goals. Every weekly #WritersTopFive email features fast, fun, actionable advice from KJ, Jess, Sarina and our guests. Supporters also get subscriber-only bonus PODCAST SHORTS. A little randomly timed inspiration from one of us every so often, straight into your podcast feed. Want in? Click the button.

    As always, this episode (and every episode) will appear for all subscribers in your usual podcast listening places, totally free as the #AmWriting Podcast has always been. This shownotes email is free, too, so please—forward it to a friend, and if you haven’t already, join our email list and be on top of it with the shownotes and a transcript every time there’s a new episode.

    LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

    Jess’s video of an eagle trapped by an octopus (which is not nearly as dramatic as I feel trying to wrestle all my goals and to-dos into submission).

    #AmReading (Watching, Listening)

    Jess: The Bromance Book Club, Evie Drake Starts Over

    KJ: Unmarriagable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

    Sarina: The Bromance Book Club

    This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwritingfor details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s Inside-Outline template.

    Find more about Jess here, Sarina here and about KJ here.

    If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

    Transcript are on a break for the holidays.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 40 min
    Episode 189: #WhatWritersWant(thatmoneycanbuy)

    Episode 189: #WhatWritersWant(thatmoneycanbuy)

    We all know you can’t really buy the things we writers want: inspiration, the power to spend as much time writing our books as we do thinking about them—not to mention sales, agents and editors. But you CAN grab a few things that make the writerly journey more fun. In this episode, we talk about the joys of journals and the perfect markers, tech tools that qualify as investments and those that are a little less spendy and suggest a few gifts for your writer groups stockings—including custom socks.

    Episode links follow—but first, a preview of the #WritersTopFive that will be dropping into #AmWriting supporter inboxes on Monday, December 16, 2019: Top 5 Things to Do to at the Start of a New Nonfiction Project. Remember, you can GIFT a supporter subscription! Or sign up to support us yourself.

    On that note, there are affiliate links in this post. Most will go to support the podcast, but the things KJ “borrowed” from Catherine Newman’s gift guide are her affiliate links (and she’s donating the proceeds this year). As always, this episode (and every episode) will appear for all subscribers in your usual podcast listening places, totally free as the #AmWriting Podcast has always been. This shownotes email is free, too, so please—forward it to a friend, and if you haven’t already, join our email list and be on top of it with the shownotes and a transcript every time there’s a new episode.

    And now, this week’s links!

    LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

    The Leuchtturm B5 bullet journal with monthly pages we all use.

    From KJ:

    KJ’s two sets of sticky notes: the color dots, and the color flags, from the glorious gift guide of one Catherine Newman.

    KJ’s new favorite notebook, from Sarina (and Paipur—here’s their direct website).

    Books and art supplies KJ is craving: Finding Your Creative Voice, Lisa Congden

    A set of watercolor paints like this one, also snatched from Catherine’s gift guide. And hey, why not this book she liked, too? A Field Guide to Color, Lisa Solomon.

    The outline pens KJ keeps seeing on Instagram—or something like them— are here in plain, and here in glitter.

    We talked about classes from Skillshare, BluPrint and Master Class.

    Give the Gift of a Podcast here.

    From Jess:

    Book Nerd hat I bought at Parnassus but you can get from Out of Print

    Night Scout Rechargeable LED beanie in red

    Tät Tat “sacco” upright pouch for glasses in grey blue

    The Every Day Calendar from Simone Giertz (her useless robot video is here)

    Pre-order Benjamin Dreyer’s Stet! Grammar game, out July 7, 2020

    From Sarina:

    Snarky notepads 

    Frixion no-bleed, erasable markers in fineliners and plumper versions

    New apple pencil 

    Nebo app for handwriting-to-text 

    This episode was sponsored by Author Accelerator, the book coaching program that helps you get your work DONE. Visit https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwritingfor details, special offers and Jennie Nash’s Inside-Outline template.

    Find more about Jess here, Sarina here and about KJ here.

    If you enjoyed this episode, we suggest you check out Marginally, a podcast about writing, work and friendship.

    There’s no transcript for this week’s episode. Transcripts will return next week.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 43 min

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