Madelyn Kent | Secret Library Podcast

Madelyn Kent has found a surprising way into creativity.


For many of us who write, we spend a lot of time up in our heads. We might even pend most of our time in our heads. Since writers are making up worlds, it does make sense that our daydreams would come from our minds and that, as artists who create with words, thinking would be our happy place. But when we get stuck, staying in the mind can be a trap.

I was delighted to have a different sort of conversation this week with Madelyn, who has taught playwriting, screenwriting, and theater at NYU the past 15 years. In 2008, she trained in the Feldenkrais method and, through that work, began to see parallels between movement and the creative process. Since this discovery, she has developed Sense Writing, a mthod that combines writing with movement sequences and often opens up creative awareness and flow.

I love it when I keep coming back to a subject, like writing and creating books, and keep discovering new worlds and approaches to creativity and expression. I hope this episode reminds us all that not only are we not brains in jars, we are better writers for it. Building a connection with the body can open up all kinds of possibility in your writing. I can’t wait for you to listen to this episode and see why.

Listen up on iTunes | Madelyn’s website | Sense Writing Courses | Blog | Facebook

Discussed in Episode 48 with Madelyn Kent:

  • The relationship between the body and creativity
  • How Sense Writing was created
  • The Sense Writing process
  • Connecting movement and writing
  • The need to let go of control of writing
  • Bringing movement into a creative life
  • The Feldenkrais method

Mentioned on the show:

This episode sponsored by Scrivener


Share to Facebook|Pin Site Image|Tweet This Post

Cory Doctorow | Secret Library Podcast

Cory Doctorow not only writes about the future, he’s also advocating for a better one in reality.

As I get more familiar with the world of Science Fiction, it strikes me that most writers in this area are also secretly activists of some form or another. Cory Doctorow, author of numerous books, including the forthcoming Walkaway, is also the co-editor of BoingBoing and a technology activist. He is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. He holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a Visiting Professor; he is also a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate. In 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

What this means for this episode? I was eager to talk about Cory’s latest book, which feels incredibly relevant in the wacky times we are living in throughout the world, but I was also eager to talk about technology as a whole and the impact he sees our crazy times having on publishing and on writing books in general. One of the beautiful things about Science Fiction is that it tends to present a possible future. We are able to think deeply about how we would like our future to look when reading about one potential outcome. If we want that future to be different, we can look at the course the world is taking right now and respond differently. I was inspired to ask these kind of questions while reading Walkaway, and as I spoke to Cory. I hope you will be similarly inspired. As always, please do share thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on the Facebook Page for the show.

Listen up on iTunes | First Chapter of Walkaway | Cory’s Blog | Twitter 

Discussed in Episode 47 with Cory Doctorow:

  • His new novel, Walkaway
  • Where his ideas come from
  • The odd way books seem timely when they come out, even after years of work
  • The trouble with DRM
  • Loopholes in laws around DRM
  • Trends in publishing both in eBooks and hard copy
  • On writing for young adults as well as adults
  • How Cory came to write science fiction

Mentioned on the show:

This episode is sponsored by Scrivener

Share to Facebook|Pin Site Image|Tweet This Post

Guinevere de la Mare is a renaissance woman, with books.

I met Guinevere because I stumbled upon a meeting of the Silent Book Club at the XO conference last September in Portland. I was delighted to see a whole group of people quietly reading together, out in public. Finally, the perfect social outing for introverts!

Upon connecting with Guinevere to learn more about this reading haven, I was fascinated to hear about her career at Chronicle Books prior to creating the SBC. Even better- she has a book coming out this August and was excited to talk about that. So… if you’re into discussing the perils of calling yourself a writer, the early days of online media for publishers, how to start your own chapter of the Silent Book Club so you, too can read peacefully out in the world, this is going to be a very happy episode for you.

Listen up on iTunes | Guinevere’s Website | Guinevere’s Books | The Silent Book Club | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Discussed in Episode 46 with Guinevere de la Mare:

  • The slow and circuitous path to calling herself a writer
  • The social rules around reading in public
  • How family baggage and expectations can change what you expect out of your career
  • Art History as the alternate degree if Creative Writing is too scary as a major?
  • What being a “Writer” means
  • The early days at Chronicle Books
  • The beginnings of social media in publishing
  • Creating the Silent Book Club as a way to escape the screen
  • Contributing as a writer to anthologies
  • Creating her own book Mentioned: I’d Rather Be Reading
  • Gathering collaborators for an anthology
  • How she got a book deal

This episode sponsored by Scrivener

Share to Facebook|Pin Site Image|Tweet This Post

Katie Dalebout | Dream Book Deal |Secret Library Podcast

After winning a contract with the publisher of her dreams, Katie Dalebout sat down to write her first book.

She submitted the proposal in the 11th hour before the deadline and won, an amazing story that makes up the introduction of her book, Let it Out: A Journey Into Journaling. Instead of re-telling that story, we discussed the nitty gritty details of sitting down and writing and editing the book after she had gotten the proposal approved and received her book advance. Listen up to learn how Katie created her writing schedule, why having an advance motivated her, her decision to use part of her advance to hire a copyeditor, and the experience of doing the re-writes.

I love this conversation because we get into the process of writing, what it feels like to sit down and do it in the midst of a busy life. Katie is quite self-aware and talks opening about writing this book in her early twenties and how now, in her late twenties, she already sees that she’s quite a different person who hopes to write very different books in the future. If you’re looking for tips to structure your writing sessions and context on how to get the book done along with the rest of your life, this episode will serve you well.

Listen up on iTunes | Katie’s website | Let it Out | Let it Out podcast | Facebook |  Twitter

Show notes for Episode 45 with Katie Dalebout:

  • The joy of being a guest on a podcast when you’ve been a host (2:00)
  • The odd experience of time warp when a book came out (3:00)
  • Journaling and writing for yourself vs. writing a book for others (3:40)
  • Becoming a journaler (4:00)
  • Deciding to write a book about journaling (6:45)
  • Learning to be with yourself through writing (8:00)
  • The tension of being present (10:30)
  • Writing as an activity that doesn’t allow multitasking (11:45)
  • The fitness class and mental strengthening connection (13:20)
  • Meditation as a source of presence (13:45)
  • The impact of personal practices on the writing of the book (14:40)
  • Capturing ideas for the book when out in the world (15:20)
  • The beauty of a long deadline (15:40)
  • Writing the book once the proposal was set (16:30)
  • Strategies for writing while working a full-time job (17:00)
  • Setting yourself up for success for the next day at the end of a writing session (17:30)
  • The beauty of focusing on one thing at a time (18:40)
  • Knowing when in the day you’re productive and how much time to spend on writing (20:45)
  • The constant negotiation for writing time (21:45) Mentioned: Eat that Frog
  • The influence of the podcast on the book (23:40)
  • The tension of taking in and putting out (26:00)
  • 60,000 thoughts a day and the impact on life (26:30) Mentioned: Josh Radnor’s episode on Katie’s podcast
  • How Katie went through the editing process (29:30) Mentioned: Hay House publisher
  • The editor’s letter and the re-writing process (32:00)
  • The editing timeline (35:00)
  • On setting projects aside until the right time (36:40)
  • Looking at writing ideas and how they change as we change (37:40)
  • The final edit round (37:45)
  • Moving into the marketing phase (38:40)
  • On writing a book vs blogging and podcasting (39:00)
  • Trying out the journaling prompts and what they are inspired by (42:00)
  • Preparing and protecting against a vulnerability hangover (44:00)
  • The night before the book came out (44:45)
  • The reality of what family reads when your book comes out (45:15)
  • Defining her role as the author of the book (46:00)
  • What you know in your 20s & what you don’t (46:30)

This episode sponsored by Scrivener


Share to Facebook|Pin Site Image|Tweet This Post

Susan Orlean | Secret Library Podcast | Photo by Kelly Davidson

I knew I loved Susan Orlean the moment she mentioned the Vikings.

Ok, I loved her writing already. Of course. And not many people get to say they’ve been played by Meryl Streep. But when I saw her speak on a panel as one of the contributors in Manjula Martin’s book Scratch and she said something to the effect of “Everything I needed to know about writing I learned from the Vikings,” she had my complete attention. In the ways that no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects the Vikings. I got her to tell this story on the episode and did a lot of listening to so many important things she shared. As smart as you think Susan Orlean is, I assure you that she’s even smarter than that.

Getting to discuss the reality of being a writer in a time of such change and transformation in the world of media and publishing was invaluable. The story of how Susan ended up at the New Yorker as a staff writer is absolutely worth the price of admission and anyone, I mean anyone, who has dreamed of being a writer as their job must listen to what she has to say about writing as a profession. Period. I haven’t been the same since. You won’t be either. See you on the other side… happy listening.

author photo: Kelly Davidson

Listen up on iTunes | Susan’s Skillshare Course | Website | Twitter

Show notes for Episode 44 with Susan Orlean:

  • Writing as a small business (3:40) Mentioned: Manjula Martin’s Scratch
  • The internet, getting published, and getting paid (4:15)
  • Being an artist and thinking about money (6:20)
  • The evolution from employee to independent contractor (7:15)
  • Life inspiration from the Vikings (7:40)
  • How to decide if it’s ok to publish something for free (11:45)
  • Growing into the label of Writer (15:00)
  • The path to the New Yorker (17:30)
  • On finding the right place for you (22:00)
  • How much the publication you write for can influence your voice and vice versa (23:15)
  • Getting the clips for the jobs you want and the Catch-22 of needing experience (25:15)
  • Knowing an idea is a book idea (29:10)
  • The experience of writing a book vs. an article (31:30)
  • The research process and note-taking (34:40) Mentioned: My Kind of Place
  • On working with fact-checkers (37:00)
  • What being a writer is & where meaning comes from (38:10)
  • The joy of writing about ordinary things (41:00)
  • The timeline of researching a piece & how to tighten it if needed (43:45)
  • Challenges of travel for writing (47:30)
  • The importance of writers supporting each other (48:30)

This episode sponsored by Scrivener and The Coffeeshop Writers Group


Share to Facebook|Pin Site Image|Tweet This Post