This is how she introduced herself when I met her a couple of months ago. She was touring for the Wild Unknown tarot, the title that just minted her a New York Times Bestselling-author. (yes!) I wasn't sure what I thought I would learn in the yoga studio where the workshop was happening that Friday night, I just knew I wanted to hear what the creator of that incredible deck had to say.
What followed was a conversation about where the creative impulse comes from, how to stay clear when using tarot as part of your personal growth, and why being an artist matters so much in this crazy time we live in.
I was transfixed. And I knew I wanted to have her on the show.
While you may know her beautiful deck, what you might not know is this: Kim started out wanting to be a writer. She wanted to go to an entirely different school with creative writing as her focus. So she has a lot to say about getting around writer's block, getting words down on paper, and how to get out of your own way.
I can't think of a better note to leave you all on at the end of 2016. This episode is my holiday gift to all of you.
I must admit, I was a little nervous to have this conversation with Sarah Selecky. As a NaNoWriMo winner five times over who then went on to leave each of those novels untouched in drawers and on hard drives, I am not a great champion of revision as an easy process. Sarah is back, having finished her own first novel draft and into the revision process herself.
It was a total joy to discuss how she approaches revision. It felt so much lighter and more enjoyable than how I've felt about re-writing in the past. If you have revision fears or think you'll never write something that's really worth revising, this will be a conversation that will light you up as it did for me. May we all move on to second drafts together...
Having authored two and co-authored a third, Susannah has seen the process through, from proposal to publication, three times. She shares about the creation of proposals, how the book evolves from idea to finished manuscript, and how different it is working on a written book versus one that is primarily about the images. I left this conversation so inspired, particularly having learned how much leeway there is to let the idea evolve once you get a book deal. You'll learn how the idea for Londontown and for This I Know changed from what she first envisioned to what finally got published, and how her publishers supported these changes. We talk about writing from the middle, the way books change us, and how to give a project space when you still have the rest of your life happening alongside writing.
And for all you journalers out there, Susannah is a huge champion of journaling as the foundation of her writing life, so get a peek inside her relationship to her magical moleskines as she creates books. If you've ever dreamed of a book proposal and wondered what it's like once you've got the deal, this will shed the light you've been looking for.
He was the first person I thought of speaking to when people started asking me to talk about structure on the show. He's the author of two novels and has also taught fiction at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University. Gary is one of my favorite people and I was thrilled to have the excuse to chat books and writing with him. We go through how it is to structure a book, letting the idea inform how you write it, what it's like to have one book interrupted by another story, revision, and his writing routine & the importance of "ass time" in writing.
For all of you who've had ideas but haven't shaped them into books yet, this will be a great conversation to give you the lay of the land that's coming. Think of this as a map- complete with some pitfalls you'll be able to look out for along the way. I'm so thrilled that people asked for this conversation since I learned a lot from having it! Keep asking for topics in the comments and I'll do my best to find the right guest to address them. Happy listening!
When I saw Lucy speak at XOXO this past September, I was absolutely smitten. Not only has she turned her love of tall ships into two crowdfunded comics, she is also incredibly honest about what it takes to live the life of a creative person. She spoke about finances, dreams, and how having a big year can mean recognition and happiness, but that money still plays into the conversation. It was an incredible speech. I knew I had to have her on the show.
Thankfully, Lucy is a great sport and was absolutely game to chat. She shared about what it took to do two Kickstarter campaigns, how she is able to create with the support of Patreon, and she's also an inspiration when it comes to building community around the arts. I could have talked to her all day, but I know episodes over an hour are a little scary to commit to. I know you're not going to want to miss any of this conversation. I give you the delightful Lucy Bellwood...
This week, we have a letter from Dal, who is interested in learning about book proposals...
I share how book proposals work, and recommend a guide that will help her get all the way through its creation, should she need one at all. Listen up to learn if you need a proposal and how to make that happen.
As a tarot lover, I was delighted to learn that Theresa Reed was coming out with a tarot book- and that it was also a coloring book. So cool! And so many things we could talk about on the show. Coloring book creation, picking the images to use, what it takes to create a coloring book? We go into it all.
Speaking with Theresa was a complete treat. We talk tarot, different learning styles, why mindset is the most important part of reading tarot AND even dive in to how Theresa uses tarot to plan her year and her creative projects. This one is a super fun episode that is both practical and goes into the woo- my favorite combination!
It doesn't have to scare you away from meeting the right person. Terra Chalberg of Chalberg & Sussman talks to us this week from inside the literary world. I am so grateful for her generosity and willingness to share her process of connecting with authors and choosing who she'd like to work with as an agent. This conversation is a must-listen for anyone considering going the traditional publishing route. If you've ever wondered how to get an agent and what it takes to get your manuscript into the hands of someone who can help you get your book out there, this episode will give you the guidelines.
Learn how to query an agent so they'll read your message rather than deleting it right away. Learn what you might be doing that turns agents off immediately. AND learn something you can be doing right away that will help agents find you. (It's not what you think- I was surprised, and delighted, to learn how Terra finds many of her authors.) Get ready to understand the agents' world a whole lot better. I know it will help you understand next steps so much better.
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I knew I wanted to have Meghan Dowell on the show when I met her. We talked about how our access to media and reading changes who we think we are. I was hooked. We talk about everything from print media to bookless libraries to the #syllabus movement that expands study to social media. If you're ready to get your mind blown by all the possibilities for reading out there, you'll be pumped this week.
As someone who could stay in school forever and be perfectly happy, I was more than delighted to learn about how universities collect books and how they address the unique needs we have for learning today. If you are into Google and a good old fashioned book, you'll be pumped. Get ready to take your reading to the next level.
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Marissa writes in this week because she's taken the plunge into the spiritual world, but it sounds a little bit like she's drowning in it. I talk about my own experiences with spiritual practice in this episode, and you can find links to my suggested books in the show notes.
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Can I just say 300 books? 300 titles! As Heidi made clear on the show, she did not write all 300 of these books. She has emphasized that children's books are shorter than adult books. Even so, she's been a developmental or series editor and was involved with significant aspects of all 300. We have a lot to learn from this lady.
Whether you are into writing children's books or not, her insights on structure and planning out books for continuity, plot, and to keep things engaging and exciting are essential for any writer. We also explore the ways visual elements and words have to work together in all books, not just those for kids.
This week's letter comes from Kristy, a self-confessed serial dater who'd like to settle down a bit and get to know herself. Listen up to get my full thoughts, and check out the show notes for the books I recommended to Kristy.
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Mary Laura Philpott was the perfect person to talk to about humor. Her book, Penguins with People Problems, began as a small personal project that made enough people laugh that it was turned into a book. She's just as funny in this interview and I had a blast talking about everything from her book to the book tv show she does and the biggest list of recommended reads I have ever had anyone share on the show. We also dive into social media for book nerds and her tips for getting the word out about your work. You will want the show notes for this one.
Logan writes in this week looking for trivia and weird knowledge. I love this sort of thing- reading for the absolute joy of it. Listen up for some hot tips and check out the show notes for links to the books I suggested.
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We could have talked for hours. Between the influence of her early study of poetry on her writing today, to the struggle of remembering why she's writing when a publisher turns down a proposal, there's so much to relate to in this interview. Colette is a fantastic example of how living a life with many moving parts can feed you as a writer. We talk about the wonderful messages in children's books and how adults can get so much out of those stories and how certain themes stay with us our whole lives.
If you need support or motivation to keep going in your writing journey, look no further than this conversation. It will leave you refreshed and ready to get back to it, while reminding you that none of us is alone in this process.
This week, Jane writes in feeling quote overwhelmed about being pregnant and living far away from her family. She wants to know everything there is to know about babies for she and her partner expect their little one.
Listen up to find out what NOT to read in this situation. Also, check out the show notes for links to the books I suggested.
I've known Michelle Wetzel since we were in high school together (not so) many years ago. I've been watching the trend and evolution in the world of young readers who create bookstagram accounts and rack up the follower counts into the thousands. Michelle is a high school librarian in Wayne, PA just outside Philadelphia, so she was the perfect person to turn to as I've wanted to dive into the world of young adult readers.
If you want to know where the cool kids get their books, this is the episode for you.
I'm loving this week's letter from Jess. She's looking for something to read that is both practical and woo-woo. I've got a few fun suggestions on the show. Check out the show notes so you can read along with her
If you enjoy these minisodes, please write in to get your own prescription. Also, feel free to leave practical woo-woo titles in the comments so Jess gets even more book love.
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Stunt journalism is an amazing practice for writing from personal experience. In this episode, you'll learn how to do stunt journalism and how writing can expand your perspective and enjoyment of your own life. Erin Jourdan has taught this process to hundreds of people, both online and in person, with life-altering results.
She's got not only anecdotes but current scientific research that we discuss about how writing about your life can change it for the better. This was such an exciting conversation and it made me want to run out and start a stunt writing project immediately. I know you'll feel the same way.
Hello! Welcome to another Dear Book Dr. Minisode.
This week's letter comes from Genevieve who's asking about dating and love. It's a tricky subject, since I don't think there is any easy answer and there's no way to guarantee results in the dating realm. With that said, I do think there are books that can help along the way and I can share resources that helped me when I was dating.
When Julia Callahan gave her incredible ability to build networks and community back in Episode 10, I was impressed. But in reading her book, Grace, and speaking with her, I am now in love. Natashia is a novelist, criminal defense lawyer, law professor, and a mom. How does she do all these things? Even she doesn't know. If you've ever wondered how it feels to "make it" in writing- to publish a book, win a prestigious fellowship, and get a glowing New York Times Review, this conversation is for you.
From the writing process to community to fears around writing and what it feels like to get your published book in your hands for the first time, we covered it all. I just know you'll love her as much as I do.
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Oh girl. This episode is close to my heart. This week's letter comes from Megan, who has just finished reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
Here's how to take care of yourself after you finish this amazing book.
Art Books are a category that we haven't explored on the show until now. Krysta Williams is a photographer and book maker and today we discuss the book as object, creating beautiful books, how photography collections get sequenced and how we feel about the future of physical books. (it's a positive discussion, don't worry)
In addition, we nerd out about photography, journals, and planners. Learn one of the coolest ways to modify a journal to make it your own that I have seen so far.
How can I get back to me? This is a big question from this week's letter.
Sheryl has gotten all of her kids off to school and suddenly has her time back to herself and doesn't even remember what hobbies she wants to pursue herself.
Listen up to learn how Sheryl can take care of herself and to get a jump on taking care of YOU.
Editing is one of the more mysterious parts of the book creation process. We all know that editing is necessary, but many of us resist doing it. Sending your manuscript to an editor can be terrifying- it might be the first time someone other than your closest confidants has seen it- if anyone at all has seen your book so far.
Lindsay is both an editor and a writer, so she's able to talk about the process from both sides. Learn about the little errors that can give away a lack of editing, the difference between developmental editing and copyediting, and how to connect with the editor that's right for your work.