Category Archives: Career and Lifestyle

These episodes talk, at least in part, about how to manage your career as a writer, and how to keep writing.

15.14: Agent Query Trenches

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

The title of this episode comes to us from listener questions along the lines of “what do you do when you’re ‘in the trenches’ querying agents?” Our answers, predictably, have almost nothing to do with actual trenches.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Joseph Meacham, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Read some 1-star reviews of your favorite books

Seven Deadly Shadows, by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani, narrated by Traci Kato-Kiriyama

15.12: Writing the Other—Being an Ally

Your Hosts: Piper, Tempest, Dongwon, with special guest Erin Roberts

What can we do to be allies to members of marginalized groups? Many of us want to find ways to help others have safe, comfortable places within our communities, but worry about coming across the wrong way. In this episode, our hosts talk about how we can do this well as writers, as members of writing communities, and in society at large.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Find the most recent story that you’ve consumed. Do two of the following: Leave a review, talk about it on social media, tell someone in person, or tell a bookseller or Librarian

Steel Crow Saga, by Paul Krueger

15.11: Digital is Different, with Cory Doctorow

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Piper, Howard, and special guest Cory Doctorow

“How do you break in?” is one of those questions we always get asked in some form or another, and it’s also one for which those of us who “broke in” more than a couple of years ago are increasingly unqualified to answer. The path “in” is always changing, and it seems to be changing faster as time goes on.

With the obligatory disclaimer out of the way, in this episode we’ll talk about how “digital” (read: “social media + everything else internet”) applies to building a career as a creative.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Think about a pen name for yourself. Practice the signature.

Catfishing on the Catnet, by Naomi Kritzer

15.09: Choose Your Own Adventurous Publishing Path

Your Hosts: Dan, Dongwon, Piper, and Howard

“Should I go self-pub? Should I go traditional? Can I do both? How do I decide where my book fits?”

In this episode we’ll cover these, and many more questions as best we’re able.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Liner Notes:

¹ RWA membership is required for these forums. This episode was recorded in September of 2019

Play

Write the “choose your own adventurous publishing path” flow chart with decision points, and write a fun little fiction about your future career possibilities.

15.08: Q&A on a Ship

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Dongwon, and Howard

At WXR 19 we recorded live, and took audience questions aboard the ship. Here they are! (You’ll have to listen to the episode for the answers.)

  • What have you learned in the past year that has improved your craft?
  • When you’re having trouble, how do you know if it’s “I don’t feel like writing” or “there’s a problem with the manuscript?”
  • How far ahead do you plan your careers?
  • How do you tell when a fight/battle/showdown is going on for too long?
  • How do you continue to learn and improve on your craft?
  • How do you manage and prioritize your time when you’re working on multiple projects?
  • How do you feel about multiple first-person POVs in a single book?
  • What are the most important elements to include on the last page of your book?
  • What are some things we can do to strengthen our voice when writing in third person?
  • How do you decide who to have as alpha and beta readers?
  • In secondary world stories, how do you decide whether to call a horse a horse?
  • How much leeway will an editor or agent give a story when it’s not ready, but it shows promise?

Liner Notes: “Sometimes Writer’s Block is Really Depression”
Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Write three different first lines for your project.

Jade War, by Fonda Lee

15.05: Setting Goals for Your Career

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

What kind of career goal-setting do you do? We had a discussion in this vein with Dongwon a few weeks ago, but neither Brandon nor Victoria participated then, so it’s worth revisiting.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Draw up your 1-, 5-, and 10-year lists of goals.

Ghost Station, by Dan Wells

15.01: Evolution of a Career

Your Hosts: Dan, Dongwon, Mary Robinette, and Howard

Season 15 is going to be a bit broader than the previous seasons have, at least in the abstract. We’re going to focus on your questions. In this episode we tackle the topic that dominates our collection of these questions: CAREER.

Liner Notes: It hasn’t actually been 15 years. It’s been 12. Writing Excuses launched in February of 2008, and the first five seasons were not full-year seasons. 

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Whose career do you wish you could have? Research them, examine how they’ve done it, and then ask if that’s still what you want.

Follies, by Stephen Sondheim

14.52: Game Mastering and Collaborative Storytelling, with Natasha Ence

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Natasha Ence

Natasha Ence is a professional game master.

(Yes, you read that correctly.)

She joins us to discuss collaborative storytelling, and how the principles of game mastering for role-players can be applied to creating a fulfilling, engaging story.

Credits: This episode was recorded live at LTUE by Dan Thompson, and was mastered by Alex Jackson.

Play

Write about a role-playing game experience that has gone badly. Really, really badly…

Tales of the Table, the Patreon where Natasha Ence creates RPG setting materials you can use