Road Not Taken

This week we chat about Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken” (apologies to Mr. Frost for mangling the quote in the podcast). With CC and I being of a certain age, we have a better perspective of our interests and skills. What careers would we have picked had we the chance to do things over again? And what were our childhood choices for jobs?

We go down this path because we’re engaging our imaginations and “what if’s,” both being essential writers’ tools. Are you in your chosen career path? What would you have done different “if you knew then what you know now?”

Also discussed is JT’s last week with his long-time day job and our in-depth editing sessions we’re having over our current work in progress.

Have a listen and let us know what you think via our contact page. TIA! LYL!

These kids had no clue. 🙂

Anxiety Attack

JT’s Childhood Hero

We gave ourselves an on-air (and mutual) anxiety attack in this week’s podcast as we talked out our plans for the rest of the year. We didn’t know how much we have going on until we turned on the microphone!

The big part of the podcast was Content Editing. We got the draft back from our editors on our joint project, and we learned that we did indeed have plot holes that need smoothing over before we can return the draft for their next deep dive. We talk about how we created those holes and how we’ll fix them.

Another major portion was a deep dive into our Nanowrimo project we’ll be doing in November. We have ideas and thoughts, and we’ll be hopefully organizing them in a few weeks into a coherent draft. Here’s the Nanowrimo link.

We talked about our ongoing Graphics Art Design class we’re taking at the local college. You can see our first line-drawing exercises below. We’re beginners, so please be kind. The last project we touch is the Big Move where we’ll be making a “partners desk” office in our house after JT retires.

Yowza. See why we had an anxiety attack? We barely skimmed over the upcoming holidays if that’s a clue.

Have a listen and let us know what you think. TIA! LYL!

(Here’s a line-drawing exercise. We had to pick an image, then overlay the image with one continuous line in Adobe Illustrator. Lots of fun!)

Interesting Times

“May you live in interesting times.”

JT’s awesome aunt says this is an ancient Chinese curse. The world has been living through them here in the 21st Century, but what does that mean for the writer who engages in historical fiction?

We discuss the challenges facing authors who use real-life events in their books, including sources of information, writer’s biases, and the challenge of seeing into the future. Historical fiction might be the difficult form of fiction to get right.

Have a listen. Are we right or wrong? Let us know via the comments page. TIA! LYL!

Shaved my beard. What. A. Dork. 😁😂😁😂

Imposter Syndrome

We always say we have a jampacked podcast and we’re usually right. Today’s fun started at Oh-dark-thirty when JT photographed a hot air balloon over Carson City, only to learn later that a friend and colleague was aboard. We ended up taking pictures of each other without knowing we were taking pictures of each other. We dedicated this podcast to that brave, brave soul.

We take a dive into “Imposter Syndrome,” loosely defined as someone who doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments while fearing being exposed as a fraud. We talk at length about how this affects independent writers and people in general, especially with traditional versus independent publishing. We speak to our personal experiences with the phenomenon, and we try to offer possible solutions.

Related: what are the three hardest words for a man to say?

Also discussed: our personal writing projects, retirement plans, changing our house, our Graphics Design class, Halloween decorating.

Have a listen and let us know what you think! TIA! LYL!

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome
https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-different-types-of-imposter-syndrome-and-5-ways-to-battle-each-one

p/c: JT. Hi, Homa!
p/c: Homa via her Twitter. JT is in this pic somewhere. 🙂

Marketing is Cruel

Episode 81 is all about making a plan to market our book and sticking to it. We say “Marketing is Cruel” because we are not the kind of people to rush out and beg people to read our books. We talk about the baby steps we’re taking to get over that hump and why we’re taking those steps.

We spent the first part of the podcast talking about our experience with the Van Gogh Immersive Experience, from the 3D exhibitions to the moving galleries to the virtual reality walk.

We segued into a discussion into the “tortured artist” stereotype, and we agree that it is a complex and difficult subject to talk about. There was a lot of unwrap here.

If you think you may need help, here’s a webpage to get you started.

Have a listen and let us know what you think. Take care of you. TIA! LYL!

Comedy is Hard

Welcome to the podcast where we misquote actor Edwin Guinn and others when we say, “Life is easy. Comedy is hard.”

We discuss our mutual work in progress (WIP), and we agree that while we got the “Rom” part right, we misfired on the “Com” part. How did that happen? And what can we do together to improve our future works. We analyze two of our favorite rom-com movies along the way.

We also update our individual WIPs and what we’re reading this summer. And we signed up for a college class!

Have a listen and leave a note on our comments page, too. TIA! LYL!

Storytelling

Books, books, books.

Busy writers podcast this week, so let’s dive in:

  • Book covers w @99designs
  • Editing with @RAPublishing
  • Lessons learned from writing together
  • The status of our individual WIPs
  • Pixar Storytelling rules via @lawnrocket
  • Karma. Be Kind. Always.

Here’s the source of the Pixar storytelling rules.

Listen to the podcast! Love it? Hate it? Let us know through our Comments page, or shoot Cassidy or JT a tweet!

TIA! LYL!

At the end of the day…every day.

Sick Leave

Not my current boss!

I’m on sick leave and I’m feeling an unreasonable sense of guilt because we absolutely should use sick leave when we’re sick, but the feeling persists. We’re trained from the first grade that we have to be at our desks five days a week from dawn to dusk. The training sticks for most of us, sometimes to extreme, and here I am.

Since I’m thinking about work when I should be resting, I pulled together some truisms that I’ve learned after 40-ish years in the workforce, most of it in public service. The below and $5 will get you bitter coffee at Starbucks.

Computers are tools, not solutions. How many meetings have we been in where managers speak as if new software applications and cutting edge technology will solve all of our problems? And has that ever actually happened?

Employees are not your enemies. That one is for the bosses who believe an adversarial relationship between employees and managers produces the best results. Outside of families and friends, supervisors rent the most space in our brains. A patient and kind boss who can professionally hold us accountable for our work products in a positive manner goes far in promoting our good mental health.

Ethics matter. Well, duh. Always take the high road. And if something even faintly smells like an ethics problem, it already is one.

Mondays don’t suck. Your job sucks. Like I said, we’re trained to work five days a week, and that first day is a reminder that we are not totally free to make choices, except that you totally are free to make choices about your reaction. If you can’t change your job, change your attitude about your job. Lifting yourself up will lift up others around you, and you’ll be amazed at the improvement in team morale.

Incompetent employees are worse than no employees. Oh, man. I learned a hard lesson about this one. The outcome was i was doing two jobs (mine and theirs) while they were collecting a salary. Let these people go. You’re not happy and they’re not happy, and they can probably find a better fit somewhere else.

Strategic plans ain’t. How many strategic plans committees have you served on and did they ever help? And when completed, were employees held accountable to the goals through their annual evaluations? Did management enact programs in line with the strategic plan? And did you ever see one wall poster with the strategic plan for everyone to see? Or was the entire strategic plan project just a checkbox from the secret supervisor workbook named “How to Pretend to be an Effective Supervisor While Wasting Everyone’s Time.”

Don’t get me started on Dress Code Policies. Also known as the policy where low-wage earners are forced to go to Walmart every three months to buy clothes they can’t afford in the first place and that will wear out in three months.

Got there early and left late, but nobody cared because the job doesn’t love you back. Sounds like a country song, don’t it? Yeah, this was my personal policy for years. At some point I realized I had nothing to prove. But I still feel guilty when I take sick leave. Go figure.

Leaders with little or no inner awareness of themselves kill morale and creativity. I’ll just leave this one there. Besides, the people who should read that sentence will be like Warren Beatty in Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain: they won’t think it’s about them.

Everyone’s just winging it. I used to think grownups had all the answers. I was young and naive, okay? I cannot begin to count the number of times we’ve had to develop a policy on the fly because of the complexity of the job. We did our best with precedent and current policy, but you’d think we’d have a better way forward.

There’s dozens more, and maybe I’ll put them in a book sometime. Until then, take care of you. And use your earned leave without guilt. I wish I could.

I could do a whole separate post on WFH.

Chapter One

What hooks a reader into buying and reading a book? Heck if we know, but we try to examine that “hook” that pulls readers into our books. I read the first chapter of my latest book as an example. (Adult content warning)

We also talk about finishing the first draft of our latest book, and we go into the fun and challenges of writing a joint book. Lots of lessons learned!

We say this a lot, but this podcast is packed! If you’re a writer or a reader, there’s good things here for you!

Have a listen and let us know what you think. TIA! LYL!

Someone outside was listening to our podcast as we were recording it.

Plot Prompts

Two weeks ago, CC gave me random prompts and had me make up a story on the fly, testing me as a pantser. CC took her turn as a plotter with these three prompts:

Dropped into an alien world
High school romance
Teenage girl superhero

(Giving credit, the prompts came from https://www.servicescape.com/writing-prompt-generator)

We had an interesting conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of being a plotter, and we narrow it down to one four-letter word.

We give you an update on the book we’re writing together and, oy vey, this thing has taken on a life of its own.

Have a listen to the old podcast and let us know what you think. TIA! LYL!

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