Episode 34—Tom McAllister on Podcasting, Plowing Through First Drafts, and the Writer’s Need for Urgency

Author Tom McAllister returns to #CNF HQ to talk all things podcasting and writing.

By Brendan O’Meara

“You need some sort of structure because you’re inviting strangers to hear you talk for an hour.” —Tom McAllister (@t_mcallister)

“I said, ‘Oh, shit, I have to learn how nonfiction works!”Tom McAllister

“I hadn’t realized there was this thing sneaking through. Anyone who’s written nonfiction has those. In early drafts you realize, ‘Oh, wait, I thought I was writing an essay about going to night school, but it’s about this other thing.'” —Tom McAllister

Tom McAllister returns!

He has a new book coming out, a novel, titled The Young Widower’s Handbook, and since I haven’t read it yet, we didn’t talk about that, though we did talk about the process of writing it a bit. He also wrote Bury Me in My Jersey (2010), a memoir, which we do touch upon.

We riff on his podcast, Book Fight, which he co-hosts with Mike Ingram (@mikeingram00), and that was fun to nerd out on a few audiophile stuff. But largely we talk about dealing with ugly middles (not those middles, you perverts), making big cuts, and knowing when a piece of writing is done.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or (!) Google Play Music. All you raving Android users can now enjoy what the world now refers to as, “Yet another podcast.” They didn’t say that, but they were saying that about blogs about 10 years ago. The podcast is the new blog. Whatever.

Subscribe to the monthly newsletter for book recommendations and give the podcast a review somewhere. Email me. Tweet at me. I’m here for you.

Why waste anymore time? Here’s my good friend, Tom McAllister.

Books Mentioned

Holy Land by D.J. Waldie
Speedboat by Renata Adler
Body Politic by David Shields


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 Book, a 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!