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.

15.08: 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

14.43: Sequencing Your Career Genome

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

Let’s talk about career planning. It’s a lot more than just launching a career by selling a book, and in this episode we talk about the kinds of things we want to be thinking about and preparing for beyond simply selling our next book or project.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm at WXR 2018, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Identify an author whose career you’d like to emulate. Research their career timeline, including the release dates of their books, and possibly the order in which things were written and sold.

This is How You Lose the Time War, by Max Gladstone, and Amal el Mohtar

14.39: Positioning Your Book in the Marketplace

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

“Positioning feels like the most important question in all of publishing.” — Dongwon Song

In this episode we talk about how to ask and answer the question of positioning, which is “who is this book for?”

Credits: This episode was recorded before a live audience aboard Liberty of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Identify and describe your target reader. Use comp titles as necessary.

14.38: Volunteer Opportunities for Writers, with Jared Quan

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Jared Quan

Jared Quan serves as a volunteer on several non-profit boards, and joined us to talk about the opportunities that exist for writers. Administration, leadership, writing and editing, and teaching are just a few of the many kinds of roles available for volunteers.

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

Play

Research writing organizations, and their events. look for volunteer opportunities.

Changing Wax, by Jared Quan

14.34: Author Branding

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

Authors have brands whether they want to have them or not. It’s a simple principle of marketing, and the better we understand that principle, the better able we are to control how it affects our careers.

In this episode we talk marketing, and freely use terms like “relationship marketing,” “authentic experience,” and “brand loyalty,” despite the fact that sometimes these words make our inner artists cringe.

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

Play

Identify your brand. Think about the core aspects of your personality which you’re comfortable sharing publicly. Pick at least three things, and document them.

Be aware that “Murder Hat” is taken.

Empress of Forever, by Max Gladstone