199 episodes

Most people believe that books are created in cabins all alone, where authors pound away on some manner of keyboard. Then they hand this masterpiece off to a publisher and it feels very much like it goes down a tube and comes out the other side as a book. By speaking to authors and other book lovers, I'm diving into the mystery that is the book world today.
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The Secret Library Podcast Caroline Donahue

    • Books
    • 4.8 • 57 Ratings

Most people believe that books are created in cabins all alone, where authors pound away on some manner of keyboard. Then they hand this masterpiece off to a publisher and it feels very much like it goes down a tube and comes out the other side as a book. By speaking to authors and other book lovers, I'm diving into the mystery that is the book world today.
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    Helen Redfern | Writing and Boundaries

    Helen Redfern | Writing and Boundaries

    I must confess: I was dying to post this episode the second we finished recording it.

    Many of you have heard me recommend Helen's helpful YouTube videos as well as her encouraging online presence overall. I loved these videos and suggestions so much this year, and they were a delight to my audience as well.

    And yet, there was a price to pay to create at the pace Helen was setting. This week, we look at the pros and cons of maintaining a prolific online presence alongside your writing practice. Helen shares generously about her thought process and the results of experimenting with stepping back from the online world for a time.

    As we get closer and closer to the holidays, the boundaries we choose to set around being online are ever more important. How visible to we want to be, and at what cost to our creativity? The need for rest and recuperation is so important, and we explore all of the pressures and benefits we gain as writers from sharing our journey.

    I so look forward to the conversation that I expect this episode will generate- these questions don't get answered in a day, but we can all benefit by reflecting on them together.

    Visit this episode's blog post here: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/episodes/helen-redfern-s3-ep12 

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    • 42 min
    Amy Cooper-Wright | The Fancy Notebook Challenge

    Amy Cooper-Wright | The Fancy Notebook Challenge

    This summer, I started challenging writers to get out the fancy notebook they've been saving and start writing in it. We called it #fancynotebookchallenge, and it felt like a fun and silly way to make writing a special occasion. But as I dug further, as has been the case with many topics this season, there was a lot more to it.

    Mark + Fold has long been one of my favorite stationers, and their diary is how I plan my week, every week. When I found out Amy would be celebrating 5 years of Mark + Fold this week, I knew we had to get into the deeper levels of the tools we use to write. From the sustainability of the product to the value we place on ourselves and our writing, taking your tools seriously is a profound act of nourishment for your writing. Let's get into every writer's favorite topic: stationery! Enjoy- this was a blast to record and create for you.

    Visit today's blog post here: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/episodes/amy-cooper-wright-s3-ep11 

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    • 50 min
    Amie McNee | Staying Inspired to Write

    Amie McNee | Staying Inspired to Write

    Amie McNee has been speaking up about the creative process for years.

    She's boosted many of us with her gentle-yet-fierce handwritten messages on instagram, where she shares as @inspiredtowrite. I adore Amie's work, and when she put out an episode debunking hustle culture on her podcast, Unpublished, I knew she was a must for this season.

    Amie and I could have done a whole season rather than just one episode. It was such joy to chat with her about the approach to creativity we both promote, that of taking smaller steps more regularly. Being kind with yourself and not asking so much that you feel doomed to fail. Her approach is to believe success is not only permitted, but inevitable if you keep moving forward.

    We also look at the importance of journaling, something she has used to transform her entire relationship to creativity, letting go of stories that told her that her dreams weren't possible. This episode is a huge shot of motivation, but on your own terms.

    Have been busting to share this ever since we recorded. Enjoy!

    Visit this episode's show notes page here: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/episodes/amie-mcnee-s3-ep10 

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    • 42 min
    Jacqueline Winspear | This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing

    Jacqueline Winspear | This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing

    Has there been another title this fitting to the moment released this year?

    I doubt it. And how perfect that it was decided years in advance, as a favorite saying of Jacqueline's father's during the hard times after the second world war. Reading this memoir, and discussing it with Jacqueline, was a wonderful reminder that we can get through so much more than we think.

    As a fan of the Maisie Dobbs series, reading this memoir felt like a tour of the author's life, seeing all the events that inspired plot lines in her novels. It is satisfying to spy them as you read. But this is also an extraordinary story of a childhood that spanned huge changes in society and a family grappling with the world lurching ahead. It was the perfect read for this year.

    And once again, what a treat to speak to Jacqueline, a woman who dreamed of being a writer all her life, but didn't publish her first book until her forties- obviously that's a story after my own heart... happy listening!

    Visit this episode's show notes page here: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/episodes/jacqueline-winspear-s3-ep9 

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    • 53 min
    Greta Solomon | We're All Real Writers

    Greta Solomon | We're All Real Writers

    I'm so grateful to welcome Greta Solomon back to the show. With her bright approach to life and incredible insight into the writing process, I always love to have writers who also teach and coach on the show.

    Greta and I had such an exciting conversation about taking good care of ourselves and how to stay connected and inspired as part of my Write Free course this past summer, and it didn't feel fair to keep that insight just in the class. Greta and I caught up again this fall to debunk the myth of "the real writer," share what nourishes us, and to talk about what is needed to stay inspired.

    She's the bright spot we need right now, and her advice is the best I can imagine sharing this week. Happy listening!

    Visit this episode's blog post here: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/episodes/greta-solomon-s3-ep8 




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    • 48 min
    Emily Nagoski | Writing and Burnout

    Emily Nagoski | Writing and Burnout

    It's entirely possible that I've recommended Emily and Amelia Nagoski's book Burnout to every student I've had in the last 18 months. 

    As someone who's experienced burnout in a number of contexts, I was no stranger to the topic, but this book was an excellent resource for anyone finding it hard to separate from writing after a tough scene, writing about painful subjects, or struggling creatively in general. 

    Now that we're headed toward the end of the year we've had, I was happy dancing around the house to be able to speak to Emily directly about the subjects in the book and how they apply to writing and the madness that has been 2020. 

    This is essential listening, just as the book is essential listening. Get ready, because Emily Nagoski has insight that can transform your life, but not in the way you might expect. 

    Visit this episode's show notes page here: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/episodes/emily-nagoski-s3-ep7

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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

molli873 ,

Inspiring

As someone who is slowly finding the courage to share my own writing voice, I’m finding Caroline’s podcast really inspiring. I appreciate the variety of people she invites to the discussion and the broad scope of topics. While I wish I had found it earlier, I’m also pretty excited to have so many episodes to catch up on!

EmpoweredEvie ,

Fun, informative, and insightful!

I fell in love with this podcast. Caroline is a wonderful host who has brought on a diverse set of guests. Each guest author always has a few words of wisdom to share and often has a drop the mic moment. This is a terrific podcast for writers and for anyone interested in the process of writing.

aklove11 ,

I didn’t know how much I had been thirsting for something exactly like this!

This review is long overdue. I came across the Secret Library Podcast a few months ago (right at the onset of our global quarantine), and what a gem I’ve stumbled upon! I didn’t know how much I had been thirsting for something exactly like this! It enlivens me!

I’ve been working on my novel for several years now and am currently on my second revision, so this podcast, with its current focus on revision, could not be any better suited for me! Writing can be such a solitary experience, and I’ve found it so comforting to get a glimpse into other people’s writing and revising experiences. I’ve loved every podcast episode so far, and there have been so many things that hit home for me! I so appreciate Caro Donahue’s gentle interview style. Every time I listen, I can just picture myself sitting around with Caro and her guest (or guests) over a cup of tea and joining in on the conversation. What a treat that would be! Caro makes these interviews so personable that, even though I’m just on the other end listening, it feels like I’m a part of a conversation with good friends!

Last year, I joined an online writer’s class with an in-person retreat here in California, and it was amazing, but I was the only person writing fiction. When I found Caro’s podcast, I felt like I had found “my people!” Wow! These people know what I’m going through in my journey of bringing my novel to completion, and they have gone through the same ups and downs as I experience! It’s heartening to hear that even accomplished writers still question the quality of their work and still have moments of despair as they plough their way through. How encouraging to have it confirmed that this is perfectly normal and a part of the process that is very much to be expected!

Thank you, Caro Donahue, for bringing your amazing work to us and introducing us to such inspirational people! You, yourself, are a beautiful inspiration! I have so much gratitude!

If you are a writer, and especially a writer of fiction, do yourself a favor and listen in. You will be so glad you did! I was going to list my favorite episodes so far, but they are pretty much all the ones I’ve listened to, so I don’t think you can go wrong with starting anywhere that you feel drawn. I will say that I was especially excited to listen to the interview with Sue Monk Kidd, as I have loved her writing for many years, and she has been a guiding light for me.

I just finished listening to Caro’s interview with her editor, Simon van Booy, and I was so touched by it. Both of them are beautiful and radiant souls, and I can already tell they are going to make magic together in their work on Caro’s book. Can’t wait to read it!

I also loved loved listening to Caro’s interview with Julie Parker. I had so many moments of “Yes, yes, I so relate to that!” as I listened.

Caro Donahue, I cannot thank you enough! I look forward to continuing to listen and share in on these rich and rewarding conversations!

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