Episode 33—Melissa Chadburn Shares All Her Secrets!

Melissa Chadburn, author of “The Readiness Assessment.”

“Being a writer is like you’re always in the hallway.” —Melissa Chadburn

“I am competing against myself in the past.” —Melissa Chadburn (@melissacahdburn)

“With all nonfiction, you need something to hang your narrative on.” —Melissa Chadburn

“I like to have emotional access to my stories.” —Melissa Chadburn

By Brendan O’Meara

Melissa Chadburn stopped by #CNF HQ to talk about her second runner-up  story (judged by Bronwen Dickey) titled “The Readiness Assessment.” 

She entered it in Proxmity Magazine’s first inaugural narrative journalism prize and it’s a good one. 

Melissa noted how fun it was to be edited by Maggie Messitt, a former guest on #CNF. 

We’re keeping the good times rolling, so let’s not waste any more time. Please subscribe to the podcast, share it with someone you think will dig it, and subscribe to my book recommendations newsletter. It’s all free!

Episode 32—Kevin Wilson on the Comfort of the Uncomfortable, the Power of No Backup Plan, and the Five Minutes That Changed His Life Forever

Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson, one of the good guys.

By Brendan O’Meara

“I just went after it, man, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I strike out? I don’t get a hit?” —Kevin Wilson

“You can’t compare yourself to anyone else.” —Kevin Wilson

“I’m big on teaching the person first and the player second.” —Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson (@KWBaseball), president of Kevin Wilson Baseball, LLC and a former switch-hitting professional baseball player, wrote The #Goodbatting BookI slim volume that is about way more than hitting.

That’s why he’s on the show. Plus, during my playing days, hitting was everything. I mean, everything. Don’t worry, we don’t nerd out on hitting, but rather the principles behind what makes his approach to teaching and coaching so effective. 

As always, give the podcast a subscribe and throw down your email if you want my monthly book recommendations. Thanks for listening!

Books Mentioned

Relentless by Tim Grover 
Give and Take by Adam Grant

People Mentioned

Joe Ferarro (@FerarroOnAir)


The Best of #CNF in 2016

By Brendan O’Meara

As many of you know, #CNF has a problem with consistency. No excuses. It’s a failure on my part.

I’d love to see it keep growing, which it has ever since its inception in 2013. 

And, as the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed,” so I plan on sharing a few of the analytics of the 2016 run of the podcast. 

NONE of these numbers are staggering. To some, they may even be embarrassing. To that I say, Who cares? You have to start somewhere. I’m choosing to remain positive and to encourage the best out of people. EVERY conversation I had felt meaningful and I enjoyed every second. 

Number Published Episodes in 2016: 16

Total Downloads: 1,058

Mobile Plays: 1,271

2016’s Most Popular Episode: No. 17 with Brin-Jonathan Butler, with 75 downloads. 

The 10 Most Popular Episodes by Downloads:

No. 17—Brin-Jonathan Butler, 75

No. 20—Glenn Stout Returns!, 73

Episode 21—Bronwen Dickey on the Tao of Henry Rollins, Binaural Beats, and Her Three Rules for Any Writer, 70

Episode 30—I read my Pushcart Prize-Nominated Essay “That Pickoff Play”, 55

Episode 29—Pete Croatto, 10 Years a Freelancer (and counting), 54

Episode 14—Glenn Stout, 54

Episode 25—Elane Johnson on her Winning Essay, Accepting Your Work as Good, and Writers Block, 53

Episode 16—Charles Bethea, 52

Episode 15—Eva Holland, 50

Episode 18—Mary Pilon, 48

Thanks to all my guests and thanks to all who listened! Here’s to a great 2017!


Pete Croatto’s Freelancing Tweet Storm

By Brendan O’Meara

I love tweet storms.

I put Brian Koppelman’s tweet storm in order, and now I present to you Pete Croatto, a former guest of the #CNF Podcast, as he drops some serious freelance bombs.

Enjoy! FYI: RLRT means real-life retweet…


A Page a Day

Written by Brendan O’Meara

So you want to write a book.


First, write one page today.

Just one.

If you want to write more, don’t stop, but don’t say ‘I plan on writing ten pages, twenty pages, or 1,000 words or 5,000 words.’ One page.

Then tomorrow write one more page.

In December 2017, you’ll look back and see nearly 400 pages of prose—your prose.

The the other option is to sit in your chair in December 2017 and wonder what your book would have looked like had you just done one page a day last year.

What can you live with?

Eighteen Pounds and 800+ Pages of Inspiration: Seth Godin’s “What Does It Sounds Like When You Change Your Mind?”


Brendan O'Meara
Straining to hold up “Titan”.

Written by Brendan O’Meara

Seth Godin is a hero of mine.

I understand he, like everyone, has flaws. I read his blog every day, and I’d be disappointed if even one blog post didn’t land in my inbox each morning. I know I’m not alone.

But as he writes in the opening of What Does It Sound Like When You Change Your Mind? in a “post” titled “Is It Selfish?”:

I wrote this book for me.

Day after day, year after  year, my blog shows up. And I’m delighted if people read it, thrilled if it resonates with you.

But the truth is, even if you didn’t read my blog, even if no one read my blog, I’d still write it.

It’s through that daily practice that people tuned in. It’s antithetical. He doesn’t hustle. He shows up; and we do.

It’s his generosity of spirit that feeds the soul, just like Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings. She too started her wonderful blog not to gain an income or gain followers, but in being true to her own self, she writes about what nourishes her own mind.

She’d probably write the blog even if no one was reading, but through consistent production and thoughtful curation, Popova and Godin have legions of people who deeply hunger to be part of their minds.

To that I raise both hands.

In the spirit of Godin, who would write the blog if no one was reading, I too wish to do the same.

Godin writes:

Writing a blog post about moving forward is a great way to persuade oneself to move forward. Writing a blog post about the past, the future, the things we miss—this is how I work to keep myself on track.

Seeing a blog post a year or two after I’ve written it is a bit of a jolt, a chance to remember a moment in time, and mostly, an opportunity to push forward. Again.

So I plan to use my blog as a daily practice to improve 1% Better (s.o. to Joe Ferraro)—I’d love for you to join me (see monthly book recommendation newsletter and podcast. Phew.)

I won’t invade your inbox. If you like this blog, merely bookmark it and check it at your leisure. I’ll be here. I hope you will too.

Episode 31—Jen Miller on Freelancing, Tenacity, Running, and Swinging Her “Where’s My Money Bat” (It’s a Thing)

Jen Miller
Jen Miller sits down and talks to me about her freelancing career and her memoir “Running: A Love Story”.

Written by Brendan O’Meara

“Good ideas still find homes.”Jen Miller

“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.

Lots of good stuff here. Please go and subscribe to the podcast. Share it with a friend or two or three. I’m trying my hardest to keep it consistent and hopefully it can keep growing.

Thanks for listening!

Episode 30—I read my Pushcart Prize-Nominated Essay “That Pickoff Play”

This great issue of Chautauqua Americana published a ton of great essays.
This great issue of Chautauqua Americana published a ton of great essays.

By Brendan O’Meara

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”.

Episode 29—Pete Croatto, 10 Years a Freelancer (and counting)

Pete Croatto reading the paper.
Pete Croatto reading the paper.

Written by Brendan O’Meara

Pete Croatto stopped by #CNF HQ to talk about freelancing. What prompted this? This blog post right here where Pete talks about ten of the things he learned in his first ten years as a freelancer.

There are so many gems in this episode whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned vet.

I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening. Oh, and while I have your attention, be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Your buddy,


Episode 18—Mary Pilon on her book “The Monopolists,” Endnotes as Amazing Maps, and Batman as a Superhero (or not)

Mary Pilon everybody!
Mary Pilon everybody! (photo credit Danielle Lurie)

Written by Brendan O’Meara

“I can’t write about today unless I really go into the rabbit hole with what came before.” —Mary Pilon

“You do compete with Candy Crush as a journalist.” —Mary Pilon

Whoops, never published the companion blog post with Mary Pilon back on Episode No. 18.

Mary joins me on the podcast to talk shop. This was a fun one and I hope I can snag her for Part 2 since I was only able to ask about half the questions I had written down.

Mary is the product of a radio deejay (father) and a psychologist (mother) which prompted her to say, “I grew up in a house where I know more about how to make a mix tape than to take the SATs.”

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we made mix tapes instead of take the bloody SAT? I took the test four times and got no higher than 1080. That’s another story.

Mary is another kick-ass woman I’ve been lucky enough to speak to. There’s Eva Holland, Sarah Einstein, Maggie Messitt, Carrie Hagen, Sheri Booker and more.

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!

Thank you for listening and reading!

Your buddy,