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#AmWriting

#AmWriting with Jess & KJ

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers in all genres, hosted by Jessica Lahey (freelancer, essayist and NYT best-selling author of "The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Children Can Succeed", KJ Dell'Antonia (NYT contributor and former editor; her novel, The Chicken Sisters, debuts in June 2020, How to Be a Happier Parent is available now) and Sarina Bowen (USA today best-selling author of more than 30 romance novels).
 
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show series
 
Can a marriage survive nearly a quarter century of co-writing? I (Jess) present exhibit A on the side of yes, absolutely: illustrator Robbi Behr and writer Matthew Swanson. Robbi and Matthew met in college, have been partners in life and publishing ever since, and they (along with their four kids) are about to embark on their greatest adventure yet…
 
Can a marriage survive nearly a quarter century of co-writing? I (Jess) present exhibit A on the side of yes, absolutely: illustrator Robbi Behr and writer Matthew Swanson. Robbi and Matthew met in college, have been partners in life and publishing ever since, and they (along with their four kids) are about to embark on their greatest adventure yet…
 
Our guest on this episode has a problem—a good problem, yes. An enviable problem even. One that she herself is delighted to have: she’s sold a non-fiction book on proposal. And now she has to write it. 60,000 words, researched, organized and ready for the editor while also fitting in her day job, raising 3 kids with her partner and all of the other…
 
Our guest on this episode has a problem—a good problem, yes. An enviable problem even. One that she herself is delighted to have: she’s sold a non-fiction book on proposal. And now she has to write it. 60,000 words, researched, organized and ready for the editor while also fitting in her day job, raising 3 kids with her partner and all of the other…
 
Hi all! Jess here. I met performer and voice educator Cate Frazier-Neely through a mutual friend earlier this year, at a Sungazer concert. I was at the concert because my son is a massive fan of Sungazer bassist and YouTuber Adam Neely and Cate was there because she’s Adam Neely’s mom. When the topic of conversation turned away from my son’s hero w…
 
Hi all! Jess here. I met performer and voice educator Cate Frazier-Neely through a mutual friend earlier this year, at a Sungazer concert. I was at the concert because my son is a massive fan of Sungazer bassist and YouTuber Adam Neely and Cate was there because she’s Adam Neely’s mom. When the topic of conversation turned away from my son’s hero w…
 
Why can’t I finish my novel? KJ here, and when I saw that heartfelt cry in our Facebook Group, I knew we had to answer. Because finishing is hard, y’all. It’s harder than starting. It’s harder than showing up to the page. There comes a moment in so many projects when the wheels are spinning but the Matchbox car just isn’t going anywhere. Ophir Leha…
 
Why can’t I finish my novel? KJ here, and when I saw that heartfelt cry in our Facebook Group, I knew we had to answer. Because finishing is hard, y’all. It’s harder than starting. It’s harder than showing up to the page. There comes a moment in so many projects when the wheels are spinning but the Matchbox car just isn’t going anywhere. Ophir Leha…
 
How do I find a writing group and what if they’re mean? That’s a question we get asked a lot, and we always encourage writers to reach out in our Facebook group or boldly throw it out there anywhere else online that you hang out and see what happens. You don’t even have to trade pages to be a writing group. You look for the kind of support and cama…
 
How do I find a writing group and what if they’re mean? That’s a question we get asked a lot, and we always encourage writers to reach out in our Facebook group or boldly throw it out there anywhere else online that you hang out and see what happens. You don’t even have to trade pages to be a writing group. You look for the kind of support and cama…
 
The hardest part about writing a book is … all of it. Or, arguably, whichever part you’re doing. For our guest on this episode, listener Emily Henderson, it’s something like “I know what I want to write about, but I don’t know how. Structuring memoir or non-fiction (or, for that matter, fiction) is hard, y’all. And I think it gets talked about less…
 
The hardest part about writing a book is … all of it. Or, arguably, whichever part you’re doing. For our guest on this episode, listener Emily Henderson, it’s something like “I know what I want to write about, but I don’t know how. Structuring memoir or non-fiction (or, for that matter, fiction) is hard, y’all. And I think it gets talked about less…
 
Hello listeners! Jess here. I had the chance to interview one of my former students, Will Morey, about his career as a writer. He has always been talented, and even way back when I knew him in high school English class (actually, since he was eight) he has dreamed of working in movies and television. We talk through his entire career, from a high s…
 
Hello listeners! Jess here. I had the chance to interview one of my former students, Will Morey, about his career as a writer. He has always been talented, and even way back when I knew him in high school English class (actually, since he was eight) he has dreamed of working in movies and television. We talk through his entire career, from a high s…
 
Querying and submitting is a jungle, campers—and yet if it’s done right, it can not only work out happily in the end, but seem as if it were meant to be. “Meant to be” after a year of additional work, anyway. Mindy Carlson has just signed a 2 book deal with Crooked Lane Books. The first, Her Dying Day, comes out June 7, 2022. I asked her to come on…
 
Querying and submitting is a jungle, campers—and yet if it’s done right, it can not only work out happily in the end, but seem as if it were meant to be. “Meant to be” after a year of additional work, anyway. Mindy Carlson has just signed a 2 book deal with Crooked Lane Books. The first, Her Dying Day, comes out June 7, 2022. I asked her to come on…
 
The whole “am I showing, or am I telling” inner debate can be tough in every part of a novel, memoir or nonfiction-with-elements-of-memoir draft. You don’t want to “tell” about the action. You don’t want to “tell” about the setting. And goodness knows you don’t want to “tell” what the character is feeling. Except when you do. Sometimes a little tel…
 
The whole “am I showing, or am I telling” inner debate can be tough in every part of a novel, memoir or nonfiction-with-elements-of-memoir draft. You don’t want to “tell” about the action. You don’t want to “tell” about the setting. And goodness knows you don’t want to “tell” what the character is feeling. Except when you do. Sometimes a little tel…
 
Welcome to what I think we’ll designate as a fresh new season of #AmWriting! We are mixing it up a bit this fall. It’s KJ here, and I’ll be doing some great interviews on craft and getting the work done. Jess has some interviews up her sleeve as well, and Sarina will be joining us regularly for what I like to think of as “Masterclass” episodes on c…
 
Welcome to what I think we’ll designate as a fresh new season of #AmWriting! We are mixing it up a bit this fall. It’s KJ here, and I’ll be doing some great interviews on craft and getting the work done. Jess has some interviews up her sleeve as well, and Sarina will be joining us regularly for what I like to think of as “Masterclass” episodes on c…
 
The author I’m interviewing today, Joy Imboden Overstreet, holds the distinction of having procrastinated on writing her first book longer than any previous #AmWriting guest—about 40 years. She is also the writer whose essay on her son’s unusual business venture enabled me, in my role as an editor at the NYT, to publish the paper’s first illustrati…
 
The author I’m interviewing today, Joy Imboden Overstreet, holds the distinction of having procrastinated on writing her first book longer than any previous #AmWriting guest—about 40 years. She is also the writer whose essay on her son’s unusual business venture enabled me, in my role as an editor at the NYT, to publish the paper’s first illustrati…
 
Stephen King says: Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. In this episode, we dare to ask if maybe that’s not always the case. Does having to put your idea into words and get it into another person’s head weaken it--or force you to make it strong? Links from the pod: The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage …
 
Stephen King says: Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. In this episode, we dare to ask if maybe that’s not always the case. Does having to put your idea into words and get it into another person’s head weaken it--or force you to make it strong? Links from the pod: The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage …
 
By popular request, it’s the 2021 The Addiction Inoculation Launch Story! Jess fills us in on the weirdness and craziness that was a mid-pandemic non-fiction book release. Her advice includes: don’t try to do too much, target your energy—and ask for help making choices when you don’t know what to do when. We talk balancing an outside and an inside …
 
By popular request, it’s the 2021 The Addiction Inoculation Launch Story! Jess fills us in on the weirdness and craziness that was a mid-pandemic non-fiction book release. Her advice includes: don’t try to do too much, target your energy—and ask for help making choices when you don’t know what to do when. We talk balancing an outside and an inside …
 
Jess and Sarina are back! After a hard-working summer and an August of anxiety (don’t tell us you didn’t feel that too), we talk about how we got all the things done and all the things we have planned, with a fun diversion into how and where to end a chapter to create the illusion of a break while keeping the reader hooked. Plus, a summer reading r…
 
Jess and Sarina are back! After a hard-working summer and an August of anxiety (don’t tell us you didn’t feel that too), we talk about how we got all the things done and all the things we have planned, with a fun diversion into how and where to end a chapter to create the illusion of a break while keeping the reader hooked. Plus, a summer reading r…
 
For that moment when you’ve hit the finish line—and now you’re going back to the beginning and starting all over again in a different hat. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just s…
 
For that moment when you’ve hit the finish line—and now you’re going back to the beginning and starting all over again in a different hat. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just s…
 
Sometimes you just need to spend a few hours with someone who really gets you—without actually having to talk to anyone. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about…
 
Sometimes you just need to spend a few hours with someone who really gets you—without actually having to talk to anyone. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about…
 
Sometimes you find yourself asking—over a draft, or a failed draft, or a sagging outline or just during a really long drive—why exactly you do this thing we do. This week, we turn to some favorites to help answer that question. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the s…
 
Sometimes you find yourself asking—over a draft, or a failed draft, or a sagging outline or just during a really long drive—why exactly you do this thing we do. This week, we turn to some favorites to help answer that question. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the s…
 
Everybody, no matter what box we check or refuse to check on the census, sees life most easily from our own perspective while knowing there are many, many others. How do we write books that reflect the world we live in and all the people we live among—without claiming to speak about experiences we have not and cannot have? In our new summer series,…
 
Everybody, no matter what box we check or refuse to check on the census, sees life most easily from our own perspective while knowing there are many, many others. How do we write books that reflect the world we live in and all the people we live among—without claiming to speak about experiences we have not and cannot have? In our new summer series,…
 
Sometimes you just want to make that thing happen. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the topic at hand. Funny, fresh and full of frank advice, when KJ and…
 
Sometimes you just want to make that thing happen. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the topic at hand. Funny, fresh and full of frank advice, when KJ and…
 
Sometimes writing is hard, y’all. Well, mostly it’s hard (and it’s a fun job and we enjoy it)—but sometimes you’re just really stuck and you don’t know why. You need help—and we’ve got books that offer it. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which…
 
Sometimes writing is hard, y’all. Well, mostly it’s hard (and it’s a fun job and we enjoy it)—but sometimes you’re just really stuck and you don’t know why. You need help—and we’ve got books that offer it. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which…
 
KJ and Jennie truly go head-to-head in this one, because KJ loves a book Jennie loathes. Can she talk her around? In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the to…
 
KJ and Jennie truly go head-to-head in this one, because KJ loves a book Jennie loathes. Can she talk her around? In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the to…
 
Who doesn’t want to write more faster and better? And who doesn’t get stuck spinning the old wheels once in a while? In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the…
 
Who doesn’t want to write more faster and better? And who doesn’t get stuck spinning the old wheels once in a while? In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the…
 
You CAN write a book without a plot (check out Anne Tyler’s Redhead By the Side of the Road if you doubt me, I swear to you that the most plotty thing that happens in it is the protagonist making a sandwich and yet you still want to keep reading). But if you’re not Anne Tyler (and I’m not), you ‘re going to need a nice plot arc to keep your pages t…
 
You CAN write a book without a plot (check out Anne Tyler’s Redhead By the Side of the Road if you doubt me, I swear to you that the most plotty thing that happens in it is the protagonist making a sandwich and yet you still want to keep reading). But if you’re not Anne Tyler (and I’m not), you ‘re going to need a nice plot arc to keep your pages t…
 
Cage match! KJ’s favorite book on finding writerly inspiration versus Jennie Nash’s favorite of same. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the topic at hand.…
 
Cage match! KJ’s favorite book on finding writerly inspiration versus Jennie Nash’s favorite of same. In our new summer series, The Working Bookshelf, KJ and guest host Jennie Nash pull their favorite writing books off the shelf and debate: which is better and why—until invariably, they get distracted and just start talking about the topic at hand.…
 
Whose summer #TBR looks like yours? Call it a game, a competition or just an excuse to talk about books: this week we’re doing something new. Each of us will share 6 summer reading recommendations—some we’ve read, some we’re stockpiling for when our own vacations arrive. Your job is to pick whose list looks most like yours—which of us would you let…
 
Whose summer #TBR looks like yours? Call it a game, a competition or just an excuse to talk about books: this week we’re doing something new. Each of us will share 6 summer reading recommendations—some we’ve read, some we’re stockpiling for when our own vacations arrive. Your job is to pick whose list looks most like yours—which of us would you let…
 
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