“When it gets too easy, I need to challenge myself and make it harder again.” —Jen Miller
What’s this? Three weeks in a row? It’s happening, folks, and thanks for hanging in while I get my feet back under me after the big, cross-country move.
What better way to follow up that sentence than by talking about Jen Miller (@ByJenAMiller), a runner who wrote the engaging, funny, and raw memoir Running: A Love Story(Seal Press, 2016). It’s about running, love, and control and we talk about that and much more.
We also chat about freelancing and some of the more granular details of the business that I think will benefit any freelancer, novice or expert.
We made it to Episode 30 of the #CNF Podcast! It’s been hit and miss since I started it over three years ago, but the aim is to be more consistent as that’s the only way for it to reach more readers and writers. So go subscribe, if you haven’t already.
I heard somewhere that a podcast has an average run of about seven episodes, yet here we are at Episode 30 of the #CNF Podcast.
That’s on account of the people I hear from who derive some value and entertainment from the interviews. For that I say, Thank you so much. And let’s keep this thing going, let’s try and reach more writers and more readers.
So Episode 30 is a little different than the typical interview format. For this milestone episode—if you’ll indulge me—I chose to read an essay I had published this year in Chautauqua Americana, a literary journal run by Philip and Jill Gerard.
They were gracious enough to nominate this essay for a Pushcart Prize, so without further ado, here’s me reading my essay “That Pickoff Play”.
Moving on, be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (can’t get it in the Google Store yet for some reason). By following me on Twitter you can stream it in your feed when I tweet it out. Same for Facebook.
Also, my newsletter is changing. I’m going to a monthly format where I send out a bunch of cool stuff from the month that was or the month ahead: book recommendations, blog posts, podcasts, just a bunch of cool stuff to keep you busy for a month. There’s several ways to subscribe all over my website.
I have big ambitions for the newsletter and the podcast so please subscribe to both. It’s my collection plate.
My longterm goal is to do the type of storytelling I love through Kindle Singles, but first I need to build an army through the newsletter and the podcast so that I can support myself by publishing my own brand of compelling true stories thus bypassing gate keepers. If you like Six Weeks in Saratoga and my other longer features, then you’ll want to stay tuned.
Please share the podcast with people you think will enjoy it. By all means “like” it on Twitter, but retweeting helps extend the reach, so please consider that as well.
If this sounds like begging, frankly, I don’t care!
I mean, don’t take my word for it, let Paul Lisicky, judge of Proximity Magazine’s personal essay contest tell you about Sarah’s essay:
This is a piece by a writer who’s willing to be lost a little while. As readers, we encounter a mind at work: thinking, perceiving, questioning, bewildered. We’re invited into the speaker’s contradictions—her wish to be seen and known, her wish to be invisible—and get a window into an aspect of the American prison system that’s rarely represented, especially with such nuance and intimacy.
Short one for Saturday. And this one I will most certainly revisit.
Comparisons are toxic.
I’ve written a little blurb about this for a literary journal that published an essay of mine. This topic strikes deep because I fell prey to this for a significant chunk of years. All it does is foster bitterness.
The quicker you embrace your path as distinctly yours, the freer you’ll be. All you can control is your effort. Maybe you’re not where you want to be. Maybe you look at so-and-so in your field and wonder why you’re not there. I know. I’ve done it.
Stop that now. I’m speaking from experience. And Marie Forleo articulates better than I can.
Before you watch the video, I’d ask you to subscribe to my newsletter and subscribe to the #CNF Podcast. It helps me to keep going on this path.
If I were to enact my own Reign of Terror on words in the culture, one would be when people say, “Welp…” in a tweet or a post.
“Welp, guess that didn’t work.” “Welp, back to the garage.”
Nails ===> Chalkboard.
Next, this “hack” movement of the past 10 years or so really boils my potato.
When people use the term hack, I get a bit nauseous and my eyes glaze over. Hacking, for those who don’t know, is a way of people trying to shortcut a system. Advocates for hacking are those who think that working smarter is better than working harder.
But all this time “hacking,” should be spent doing the work.
To sum up with a simple anecdote, passions are misleading, but are often what HUGELY successful people lean on in keynotes. Losing 10 pounds? That’s a goal. Realizing that the glycemic index of a baked potato is WAY higher than a plate of pasta is knowledge, thus a system that will make goals attainable.
This can be applied to many things. As this is a writing blog, I’ve got some thoughts I’ll share tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy his little slideshow. It’ll only take two minutes of your time.
Nothing is perfect. And, on top of that, there’s no perfect time to publish. A year from now you’ll wish you started X project and lament the lost time.
In order to reach a place of good art, art people speak about, art that makes people anticipate you and—more importantly—miss you if you stop, you need to do enough bad stuff.
So I’m going to share some of my bad stuff. I dabble in fiction here and there. I find it fun. I may even keep practicing and try to publish some of it. But for now, here’s a story I like. Sure, it’s imperfect, it may be bad, it may be good, I don’t know. I don’t care.