372 episodes

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 KJ

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 219 Ratings

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

    In My Expert Opinion: Pitching, Prepping, and Nailing Interviews for TV and Radio

    In My Expert Opinion: Pitching, Prepping, and Nailing Interviews for TV and Radio

    Becoming an expert takes years of work and many of you have asked how you can take that expertise out for a spin in the media. I don’t blame you. From the moment the my first Atlantic article, “Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail” went viral in 2013, I was eager to get on television and radio so I could talk about my work, stir up interest in my topics, and hopefully maximize my chances of selling a book on the topic. One decade and two books later, I still pitch producers all the time about a range of topics, and I’ve learned some things.
    Sit back, relax, and let’s talk pitching, prepping your topic, and securing media spots on television and radio so you can become one of those go-to experts producers seek out over and over again.

    If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at www.mainelymemoir.com

    Out of #AmWriting episodes and in need of another podcast? Check out A Bookish Home. I’ve been a guest, and it’s a delight.  Librarian and writer Laura Szaro Kopinski interviews a different author each week, so you can  Add to your TBR list while getting the inside scoop on the winding road to publication.  Coming up this spring will be Amy Poeppel, Sarah Penner, Maggie Smith and many more. Find it here on Apple podcasts or search it on your pod player of choice.


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 38 min
    Good Writing Comes Last: the form and function of a solid book outline, episode 354

    Good Writing Comes Last: the form and function of a solid book outline, episode 354

    Jess here, because I hate outlining. Hate it. It sounds boring and feels like an assignment, writing stripped of all flow and joy. I asked KJ and Sarina to help me with this problematic mindset, because my novel in progress clearly needs a solid outline and yet every time I go back to work on it, I feel irritated, frustrated and blocked.
    Thank goodness for my accountability buddies, because they came through for me in this episode. In fact, the moment we logged off the Zoom call, I got back to work, refreshed, refocused, and engaged in the process of storytelling.
    Resources
    Jennie Nash and Author Accelerator
    Save the Cat Writes a Novel

    #AmReading
    Jess: I’ve been watching Daisy Jones and the Six on Amazon Prime and re-listening to the audiobook, which features Jennifer Beals as Daisy. I needed more Taylor Jenkins Reid, so I finally downloaded the audio of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I’m really enjoying. (Also mentioned: Carrie Soto Is Back, Malibu Rising)
    KJ: Amy Poppel’s The Sweet Spot
    If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at www.mainelymemoir.com
    Hey you - yea, you! Are you following Sarina on Tiktok?
    Out of #AmWriting episodes and in need of another podcast? Check out A Bookish Home. I’ve been a guest, and it’s a delight.  Librarian and writer Laura Szaro Kopinski interviews a different author each week, so you can  Add to your TBR list while getting the inside scoop on the winding road to publication.  Coming up this spring will be Amy Poeppel, Sarah Penner, Maggie Smith and many more. Find it here on Apple podcasts or search it on your pod player of choice.


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 37 min
    Sensitivity Reader Reboot: looking your topic from all the angles, with Jordan Shapiro and Jazz

    Sensitivity Reader Reboot: looking your topic from all the angles, with Jordan Shapiro and Jazz

    Recently, someone on Twitter asked if sensitivity readers are still a resource writers utilize and where to find them. Yes indeed, sensitivity readers are still a great resource, and since we interviewed Jordan Shapiro and a sensitivity reader he worked with on his book, Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad. I hope you enjoy this re-airing of episode 266 the #AmWriting podcast.

    Hey all, Jess here. When I agreed to read and blurb Jordan Shapiro’s new book, Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad, I was struck by the attention he paid to inclusivity and the language he used to describe it. When I mentioned it to him, he told me he’d used a sensitivity reader named Jazz to ensure he got the language right.
    Sensitivity readers are becoming more of a norm in publishing. Jodi Picoult has tweeted about how much she depends on hers to get her descriptions, language, and representation right in her books articles like this one in the Guardian and this one in Vulture are great primers on the topic.
    We asked Jordan and Jazz to join us to talk about the experience of working together to create Father Figure.
    #AmReading
    Jazz: What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She by Dennis Baron
    Jordan: Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
    Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
    KJ: Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
    Jess: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

    If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at www.mainelymemoir.com

    Out of #AmWriting episodes and in need of another podcast? Check out A Bookish Home. I’ve been a guest, and it’s a delight.  Librarian and writer Laura Szaro Kopinski interviews a different author each week, so you can  Add to your TBR list while getting the inside scoop on the winding road to publication.  Coming up this spring will be Amy Poeppel, Sarah Penner, Maggie Smith and many more. Find it here on Apple podcasts or search it on your pod player of choice.


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 47 min
    Unraveling Nonfiction Research and Writing: Episode 353 with Peggy Orenstein

    Unraveling Nonfiction Research and Writing: Episode 353 with Peggy Orenstein

    This week, Jess and KJ talk to journalist, author, and lifelong knitter Peggy Orenstein about research, nonfiction writing, expertise, and examining the unexamined in ordinary life. Peggy’s newest book is , Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World’s Ugliest Sweater.
    Peggy’s TED Talk: What Young Women Believe About Their Own Sexual Pleasure
    Why Fish Don’t Exist, by Lulu Miller
    Etymology of the term “woolgathering”
    Etymology of the term “spinster”
    The Revolutionary Power of a Skein of Yarn, Unraveling excerpt in the New York Times.
    Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind and Omnivore’s Dilemma

    #AmReading
    Peggy: KJ’s Playing the Witch Card, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
    Jess: Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz and The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo
    KJ: Geneology of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night by Lisa Belkin
    Also mentioned: The Puzzler by A.J. Jacobs

    If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at www.mainelymemoir.com

    Have you followed Jess on IG yet? You really should!
    Out of #AmWriting episodes and in need of another podcast? Check out A Bookish Home. I’ve been a guest, and it’s a delight.  Librarian and writer Laura Szaro Kopinski interviews a different author each week, so you can  Add to your TBR list while getting the inside scoop on the winding road to publication.  Coming up this spring will be Amy Poeppel, Sarah Penner, Maggie Smith and many more. Find it here on Apple podcasts or search it on your pod player of choice.



    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 41 min
    How to Write a Novel in Three Months, Sarina-Style (Episode 352)

    How to Write a Novel in Three Months, Sarina-Style (Episode 352)

    Hey all! Today Sarina brings you a fun but tricky topic: how to write a novel in three months. 
    Should you do it? Maybe. It depends on the book. Not every book can or should be written in 90 days. 
    But if you’re game to try, Sarina gives you: 
    4 things you need to know about the book before you start
    5 tips for writing scenes more quickly
    3 things to try when you’re stuck
    Links from the Pod
    The Astronaut and The Star, Jen Comfort
    2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, Rachel Aaron
    Otter.ai
    Becca Syme’s Quitcast and her book Dear Writer, You Need to Quit. 

    If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at

    If you love #AmWriting, make sure you subscribe to get bonuses and appreciation.

    Calling all freelancers! On March 9 and 10, the Institute for Independent Journalists is offering an online freelance journalism conference with 12 information-packed interactive sessions on everything from pitching, negotiations, and contracts to podcasting and developing new revenue streams. Speakers include editors for The Atlantic, The Guardian, The New York Times, Wired, The Verge, The Emancipator, and more. Registration costs $69 for 12 live, interactive sessions, delivering 15 hours of learning. For more information and to register, see: theiij.com All sessions will be recorded and available to view for one month after the conference.The IIJ is a new organization whose mission is the financial and emotional sustainability of journalists of color. Everyone is welcome at the IIJ’s public programs, like the conference, although some future opportunities will be limited to BIPOC freelancers.


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 30 min
    A Workbook for Your Story: Episode 351 with Adrienne Young and Isabel Ibañez

    A Workbook for Your Story: Episode 351 with Adrienne Young and Isabel Ibañez

    True confession time: Sarina and I have always wanted to make something like this. I’m talking about The Storyteller’s Workbook, which is a gorgeous combination of structural writing guide and writing bullet journal created by Isabel Ibañez, the author of Woven in Moonlight and Written in Starlight, a fantasy YA series that’s a hit with TikTok and Time Magazine both as well as a designer whose work you’ve seen while drooling in the paper sections of stores like Anthropologie and Adrienne Young, the New York Times and international bestselling author of the Sky and Sea duology and the Fable series whose first “adult book”, Spells for Forgetting, came out last fall. (That’s in quotes because who are we kidding, adults read the heck out of her earlier work.)
    The episode is fun, all about making something like this—and Adrienne and Isabel’s writing processes, the examples they share and the ways the book reflects how they really work. But what you’re really here for is to see what it looks like—which is, in a word, gorgeous. If you’d use something like this, you can’t do better—the paper is nice, too, suited for any kind of pen, there’s not going be bleed-through, it lays flat… all the things.
    So here it is!

    #AmReading
    Isabel: Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries, Heather Fawcett (she also mentioned The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden and Uprooted by Naomi Novik)
    Adrienne: Hell Bent (sequel to Ninth House), Leigh Bardugo
    KJ: A Dangerous Business, Jane Smiley
    Find Isabel & Adrienne on Instagram at: @IsabelWriter09 & @Adrienneyoungbooks
    Is 2023 going to be the year you finally click through and start exploring the idea of becoming a book coach? Author Accelerator’s coach certification program is good stuff, kids, I’ve done it. We’re talking editorial, project management, client intaking, and emotional skills along with the support you need to make a goof it. Wondering if you have what it takes? Here, they made you a quiz. Go see!
    Do you get KJ’s Box of Chocolates email—for erratic doses of books and enthusiasms?
    Calling all freelancers! On March 9 and 10, the Institute for Independent Journalists is offering an online freelance journalism conference with 12 information-packed interactive sessions on everything from pitching, negotiations, and contracts to podcasting and developing new revenue streams. Speakers include editors for The Atlantic, The Guardian, The New York Times, Wired, The Verge, The Emancipator, and more. Registration costs $69 for 12 live, interactive sessions, delivering 15 hours of learning. For more information and to register, see: theiij.com All sessions will be recorded and available to view for one month after the conference.The IIJ is a new organization whose mission is the financial and emotional sustainability of journalists of color. Everyone is welcome at the IIJ’s public programs, like the conference, although some future opportunities will be limited to BIPOC freelancers.


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit amwriting.substack.com/subscribe

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
219 Ratings

219 Ratings

LetsGoKato ,

Refreshing practical (and inspiring) advice

I’ve loved diving into this podcast to feel more supported and less alone in my writing career. So much practical advice and with such a refreshing tone! On my regular rotation… ;-)

MarcusTabs ,

Please stop interrupting guests

I appreciate and value this podcast but in the past couple years I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of times a guest is interrupted by a host, or spoken over by a host. Especially apparent in the January 2023 episode with Julia Artz.
Please try to stop interrupting guests! <3

scifiwrito ,

Blueprint Step 5 Ep

Huge fan of this show, such a help for writers of all levels. Really enjoying the blueprint series, and this episode was great - loved guest Savannah Gilbo’s commentary. Knowing how to create a characters depth and arc is key. Thanks!

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