Gabriela Pereira doesn’t think you NEED to get an MFA.

However, need and want are two different things. An MFA grad herself, Gabriela realized that many writers struggled with the dilemma of whether to MFA or not to MFA and took her own grad school experience and created a template so others could get all the benefit of the degree with none of the loans, debt and stress that can come along with going back to school. Gabriela is a wealth of information and was incredible generous in sharing that with us on this episode.

If you’ve ever wanted to take your writing seriously and pursue it with great focus, but believed you don’t need to go back to school to become a “real” writer, this episode is going to feel like one giant permission slip. Happy listening and happy writing, for those of you who finish listening and realize you can start writing right now, degree or no no degree.

Listen up on iTunes | Gabriela’s Blog | DIY MFA Writing Resources | DIY MFA the book

Discussed in Episode 68 with Gabriela Pereira:

  • What’s great about the MFA degree
  • Which subset of writers the degree works for
  • What the degree includes and what it doesn’t
  • Why you don’t need a degree to write
  • The elements of the program that you can recreate outside of it
  • The true cost of an MFA degree in the US
  • The relationship between an MFA and employment
  • The reassuring truth that you don’t need an MFA to get published
  • How Gabriela launched the idea of DIY MFA
  • The creation of systems for writing
  • Looking at the DIY process as more of an experiment than a creative project
  • Drilling down on what conditions help you write best
  • Systematizing your life, the real lesson in the book
  • The different types of reading and why they are all important
  • The living outline formula
  • What to do when you get stuck
  • The wall everyone hits in act 2
  • Rule of three and the way out of tricky spots
  • Archetypes and how they can help you write
  • The Wainscott Weasel
  • How to create an amazing critique group
  • The DIY MFA course launches again soon

This episode sponsored by the Central Coast Writers Counference

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Scott Stabile has earned the right to share advice.

There are many books out there that share life advice. There are whole sections in bookstores dedicated to this sort of book. But I have not encountered many where I am so willing to trust the advice of the author. It’s often hard to imagine that a writer would relate to my life, or understand the particular thing I have been through and that we could connect.

Scott is an excellent antidote to this belief. His life experience, which includes his parents’ murder, his brother’s death from overdose, and belonging to a spiritual cult, has more than prepared him to share about the human experience. I loved reading Scott’s book and talking to him because his insights on finding happiness felt so generous, given what he’s had to overcome in order to find happiness in his life. We talk about how getting vulnerable and raw and specific about your life experience makes you more connected to the reader because the specific opens up to the universal. I love this as it is a lovely shift away from the fear many of us have: that if we write on one obscure topic no one else will understand. Scott is here to tell you that people will relate, and it’s worth sharing the dark parts of your story as well as the warm fuzzy ones. I’ve been waiting to share this episode. I hope you enjoy listening.

Listen up on iTunes | Scott’s site | Big Love | Facebook

Discussed in Episode 67 with Scott Stabile:

  • Writing about losing your parents to murder and a brother to an overdose
  • Going from Facebook page to book
  • The unifying effect of human bullshit, grief & uncertainty
  • The need to show the dark side, even in a place of positivity
  • Avoiding the Pollyanna downside
  • Vulnerability and its role in writing and a fulfilling life
  • Fears that came up around releasing such a personal book
  • Scott as Eminem (my assessment)
  • The role of shame in writing
  • The curse of the baseball cap
  • Why it’s a good thing that people are not paying that much attention to what you’re doing
  • How to write in the face of fear
  • Figuring out how to take care of ourselves
  • Beating the fear with structure- Scott shares the one that worked for him
  • Writing as a tool for healing
  • Journaling versus writing non-fiction
  • Introverted extrovert on a book tour
  • Having a supportive community as the book launch approaches
  • A word of encouragement to anyone who’s dreaming of writing a book
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This August, we’re taking a break. Here are some favorite episodes to enjoy in the meantime:

Whether you listened to these episodes the first time around or if you’re just coming to the show right now, I can think of no better way to get started than with these episodes.

Happy listening!

Listen up on iTunes | InstagramTwitter | Facebook

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Kameron Hurley is a marvel.

The first thing I noticed about Kameron Hurley is how incredible her laugh is. She has a laugh that dares you not to join in, to enjoy the conversation and what she has to say. I hope you enjoy it, because I did- I absolutely adored it. Kameron is a two-time Hugo award winning writer and yet, she still holds a solid day job. This is the truth of a writing career, even one as well-awarded and Kameron Hurley’s.

I so enjoyed talking about what it was like to dive into the underpinnings of geek culture and write an essay about it, as well as what it does to your awareness to write about a society whose rules you have created entirely yourself, only to discover that you’re still playing into tropes and social expectations of your own world. Kameron and I dig deep into what being a feminist writer means and what the process of breaking down your writing does when you try to subvert convention. It was so fun to explore with such a self-aware guest. I know you’ll learn a ton from her. Happy listening!

Listen up on iTunes | Stars are Legion | Geek Feminist RevolutionKameron’s site | Twitter | Facebook

Discussed in Episode 61 with Kameron Hurley:

  • Wonder Woman
  • Sci-Fi’s ability to take us outside normal convention
  • ​“When it changed” by Joanna Russ
  • Tomboys & misogynists
  • Taking responsibility for the words on the page
  • getting started and the career path of a writer
  • Clarion West writers workshop
  • The garret life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
  • Winning awards yet keeping the day job
  • Her writing schedule
  • Weekend binge writing
  • Overshooting your goals to still hit something good
  • Having multiple projects
  • When to write non-fiction
  • The perspective of chronic illness
  • ​Samuel R. Delany on racism in SF
  • The tricks of dystopian fiction
  • Why you should not turn in a crappy book on time.
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Megan Hannum is about to help you face your first draft without fear.

Have you ever been writing away, actually building some momentum in your writing only to have these sorts of fears creep in: “Is there enough detail? I’m only writing plot, how is anyone going to know what anything looks like??” Or perhaps yours is “I need to do a LOT more research before I write this. I have no idea what the dating customs of medieval Mongolia actually are. Guess it’s back to the drawing board for the next six months.”

I have suffered from these fears, as have the members of the Coffeeshop Writer’s Group and when Megan joined us recently as a guest expert, we all started to feel a lot less freaked out by simply getting on with a draft knowing that everything will not be answered the first time around.

I had Megan on to talk about what you should worry about in the first, second, and final drafts of a project, and what you can set to the side for each of these drafts until the next time around. Finally, we talk about when it’s time to get an editor involved and what you should look for when seeking one.

This promises to be an episode you can return to again and again as you progress through your projects. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. And… woohoo for 60 episodes! I cannot believe we’ve gotten to such a big number. Thank you all for listening and supporting the show. It means so much that this project makes you as happy as it makes me.

Listen up on iTunes | Whynottedit | Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Discussed in Episode 60 with Megan Hannum:

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