In the thirteenth episode of This Podcast Needs a Title, Peter and Erica talk with Grant Faulkner (the Executive Director of NaNoWriMo) about day jobs that help keep the creative well filled, the current state of the publishing industry, and the questionable existence of Boo Berry cereal. Bonus Content: Erica babbles in nerdy joy about her history with NaNoWriMo. Bonus Bonus Content: Peter tolerates a perfectly executed Dirty Dancing joke. Sort of.
Hey, everyone, welcome to this podcast needs a title. I'm Erica Davis. And I am Peter Malone. Eliot. And this is real talk about Writing, Publishing and everything in between. In just a few minutes, we're going to be talking to our superstar. Guest Oh my God, grant Faulkner, author and the executive director of NaNoWriMo. But first, Erica, yeah, how you doing? Every time you nerd How am I doing? How would you think I'm doing that? We have the executive director of NaNoWriMo here. Pretty fucking sided. I'd say Oh my God. John Cosgrove. Can you tell Peter to stop trying to talk like it's that's a British accent though. He's he's a he's a it's an attempt at one. Yeah. PD. I'm, I'm actually doing okay. It was it was a rough week for me. Our oldest dog Henry gave us a bit of a scare. And by us, I mean me. My husband was like, He's fine. He's just getting older. And the short story is Henry is fine. He's just getting older. But it was a sharp descent from older adult dog to senior dog like you, can you I can tell you slowing down, I can tell all this other stuff. My vet has been really understanding she knows that I have anxiety. And she knows that Henry is my baby. My 10 year old canine baby. And we don't have human children. So these are that's where that energy goes. And because I do have feel that maternal stuff sometimes and Henry Ridley and Finnegan are the recipients of that. Actually, Isabel coached me, our guests from Episode 12. She coached me through it. Yesterday, she gave me a 20 minute session, in which she helped me sort of tracked down why I was having such a hard time. And she helped me figure out as like a writing coach, she helped me figure out that because I've already been through grief to huge moments of grief. It's like I'm blaming myself for not being better at grief. Like I should be okay with this by now. And in this case, we're talking about anticipatory grief. I'm okay. I'm calm and calmer. Rather. Well, commerce good. Commerce. Good. Good. calmer. Do you say what the hell are you that guy? Call calm, calmer? Ha. How do you say comma? Know what? Nothing. How are you? How about you what's going on? I'm good. I'm good. The big thing is my, my movie is coming out on the 30th, which we're recording this on the 16th. So that's two weeks from today, which is God so that the next episode we do, it'll probably be the out. So how do you feel about that? I feel good. I feel Do you ever come on? Would you ever come on my podcast to talk about it? It's called this podcast needs a time. You know, I could interview myself, it'd be really meta. I would really need you to do that. Okay. And I'd like to let Peter Peter answer your question. Yeah. So I mean, that's kind of the big thing. So Alex, Alex, who's the director and the CO producer with me, we're doing we're starting to do you know, press events virtually and whatnot. Other than that, I finished the first draft of my book. Yes. said about that. We're kind of kind of leaking into the the accountability goal. But yeah. Oh my god. That's great. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I took a very nice vacation in the woods. I was in a log cabin in the Catskills with the nearest people was like a 15 minute drive, which was delightful to do put baby in a corner that's fine. That's fine. That's fine. I'm good. Yeah, sure. Nope. You need a minute. Okay. So that trip was lovely. I wish it was still there. So kind of coming down off the high of the wood burning fireplaces and whiskey and leaves. Oh, dang. That's amazing. Yeah. So I'm good. The short answer. I'm good. Hey, Erica. Yeah. Let's talk about accountability calls. Let's do it. Yeah. So Isabel Sterling was I guess in Episode 12. And if you guys recall, her original accountability goal for today was to quote, finish prep and start on the new version of her work in progress with at least a few chapters done, end quote. And her update for us was, quote, I finished up my prep and wrote my first 4000 or so. Hey, Finnick gets excited about it again. It's so excited for you as a Shelby, he shouldn't be that's really exciting. Yay, Isabel. How about you, buddy? How'd you do? I completed my goal. My accountability goal was to finish the first draft of my book before I went on vacation, and I should I did just that. Thank you very much. That's amazing. That really is amazing. I know what that feels like. I think I think it's been a while. I'm getting there. How did it feel when you hit that last word. felt very good. feel very good. I mean, you know, there's still work to be done. But it's it. Yeah. I mean, this is the first novel I've written. So it's it's I've never written anything this long before. It's amazing. Hey, if you need some feedback on it, I know a really good evaluation workshop service, book pipeline, workshop evaluation service. We didn't even plan that really, really good plug in. Effortless, Erica, what but how did you do in your accountability cycle? I didn't do great. Again, the dog stuff threw me off. But I did dismiss every child of Adobe. And I actually might end up buying it because I can mock up what I envisioned for the chapters because it's a nonfiction book. Like I'm picturing a really user friendly textbook, but sort of a mock of a textbook, read lots of whitespace helpful illustrations, clear captions. I mean, yes, textbooks do have that. But because this is a nonfiction book about academia, getting out of academia. Yeah, I'm basically giving myself and my fellow PhD students, the textbook we always needed but never had. So that kind of made up for it. Especially because NAT told me, my agent told me to go ahead. And if I could mock up the vision, it's okay, if it's not just gray space. Text, it's almost better if it isn't. That's 100% a good idea, I think. Ah, thanks. So I think that having that tool was kind of what might have been, like holding me back anyway. So emotions notwithstanding. Sure, Erica. Hmm, should I tell you about our guests, please? I really, you guys, I need everybody to know. Okay, because our guests is spoiler the executive director of NaNoWriMo NaNoWriMo. Oh, my God, I, I have been doing nano on and off since probably 2005 2006. that I have for, and Peter hasn't. And so I've been doing it for about 400 years. We're going to talk to grant a little bit about that. But I just think it's really exciting for me to have us both being able to ask him questions. You who don't need Nano. That's my take on it. This is a whole other episode. But you're a good drafter you're already a good drafter I am not I struggle so nano unclogged that drain for me. Cool, but tell me about Grant. I will tell you about Grant and I'm going to try not doing the really bad Dick Van Dyke, cockney accent that I've been doing. Alright, here you go. Why it's hilarious. And I get to make fun of you a little. Cheers. Well, Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo and the co founder of 100 word story. He's published two books on writing pep talks for writers 52 insights and actions to boost your creative Mojo and rave the page. A teen writing guide is also published all the comfort sin can provide a collection of short stories, Fisher's a collection of 100 word stories and nothing short of 100 Select details from 100 word story. His essays on creativity have been published in the New York Times poets and writers lit hub, Writer's Digest and the writer. Dang. He's also the co host of the podcast right minded one. So let's bring him in here. Hey, great. Grant, thank you so much for being here today. Sure thing, it's a tree. Oh, awesome. And I was just telling grant everybody who's listening, that his podcast partner wrote a book that helped me figure out how to write a nonfiction proposal. Brooke Warner, Brooke Warner. Yeah, get an angel. I broke. Yeah, big fan. I actually I know we've got a list of questions, Peter. But I want to start out by saying that when our co worker Jeannie mentioned, she knew you, I might have screamed a little bit. She's like, I know an exempt from NaNoWriMo. I'm like, oh my god is Chris Beatty. She's like, No, it's great. I'm like that's even cooler. Let's do it. You got some NaNoWriMo history. Absolutely. I do. Yeah. All that to say I'm excited to have you Peters excited to have you but I'm more excited than Peter. I think it's a combination. Competition. I was gonna mention that. But I didn't know that was polite enough. I've just been stone facing grant this entire time. I've got his arms crossed over his chest, shaking his cane at Grant. Yeah. I'm like Eric, it's nice sunshine and rainbows. Peters like Grumpy fireballs. So grant, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into writing and what made you want to be a writer? You know, I cannot answer the latter because I've wanted to be a writer since the very beginning. I'm just genetically writer I legit don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. And my, I guess my parents had a lot of you know, they had a lot or enough books around the house. And I always remember taking up the books even before I could read them and being very attached to them and pretending that I read them and even once by I got some idea for a series like a kid's book series when I was I must have been four or five it was before I could write but I remember running down to stairs to tell my mom and she was unfortunately on one of her long phone calls with her friends. So I never got to tell her what the series was about. And I've since forgotten, but I'm sure it was just going to be a blockbuster series that would have just missed opportunity. Yeah, they miss an opportunity. She bought me this wonderful oak roll top kids desks. So I was very attached to that. And I wrote, you know, from I don't know, she probably got me that when I was, you know, six or seven or so. And so there were times where I was like, you know, wondering, should I be a lawyer? Should I be something else? You know, but but writer was always running through things never never stopped thinking about it. Within lawyers in your family. Yeah, I mean, I mentioned lawyer just because it was one of many professions to kind of toy around with my dad was a lawyer. That's okay. Yeah. never considered Doctor though. Yeah. Just textual side of life. Sure. Yeah. I guess I guess the true that the the more tangible answer, though, is like when I was 20 years old, I was deciding whether to be an econ major and English major. And I very fortunately took or went on a semester abroad to France. Basically spent the whole semester sitting in cafes, reading and writing until decided on the English major, very clearly the right decision for me, I would not have done well in econ. So yeah, but no, no, looking back after that. Awesome. Were in France, where you tour. Yeah. So back then it was about two hours from Paris. I think now the trains about an hour. Wow. Cool. Yeah. Spent a lot of time Paris to, I basically thought this is the life you sit in cafes. Right. So I mean, like, why not wrong? I mean, that's what Hemingway and Fitzgerald did, right? No, I know, I have to tell your listeners, I haven't quite had that life. I have to confess. But I think you're doing pretty great, actually, which is a really perfect and seamless transition into into my next question, Peter, I'm taking this one. Um, how did you find NaNoWriMo? Professionally, I was, am and was very lucky, I have to say, because I, when I became a writer, when I was 20 years old, I didn't really have a plan B. And I spent a great deal of my adult life in a state of anxiety, kind of wondering what my plan B should be or trying out different Plan B's. And very fortunately, it led to Well, first, it led to, after a few detours to working at the National Writing Project was, which is a nonprofit here in Berkeley dedicated to helping teachers teach writing better. And so I worked there about seven years. And somewhere in the year five, six or seven, I reached out to Chris Beatty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, who you mentioned earlier, and Chris was an acquaintance of mine. And I basically just reached out to him to see if he knew of any East Bay, nonprofits, arts, nonprofits who might need a board member, I was looking to kind of learn more about nonprofits and learn more about nonprofit management. And he said, Oh, you know, let's have lunch and talk about the NaNoWriMo board, which actually was not on my mind at all. And we talked and interviewed with the board and all that, and they invited me on. And then when I joined the board, Chris Beatty said, By the way, I'm stepping down. This was like the last thing I said, You should apply for the job. And I honestly, I was reluctant. I didn't quite quite see myself going that way. And yeah, Chris, as you might imagine, is a very persuasive guy. And so he persuaded me to apply and then got the job. And yeah, then it's now 10 years. That's amazing. He got me to write for crappy books. So hats off to him. I know. Chris is responsible both for more novels that exists in the world and more crappy novels. Yes. And a lot of good ones too. Here's to Chris, baby. Well, I'm still like, forgive me, I'm still kind of new to the to the NaNoWriMo. You're forgiven. I thank you. Thank you. Thank God. I didn't realize that like the Like Water for Elephants came out of NaNoWriMo there's been so many really big selling traditionally published books that have come out of NaNoWriMo. That's fascinating. I get asked all the time. I'm like, wow, this is kind of an interesting question, because we've been around that 20 wanted to. Yeah, I have no I we've had, you know, I think three or 4 million people sign up in total and 1000s 1000s 1000s of novels written in mini Britain published and I'll get asked that all the time to like, have any of these been published? Well, the law of odds, actually a lot. And a lot of good ones and or, you know, and best selling ones. So yeah, like Water for Elephants was one of our first big ones. Yeah, yeah. It'd be made into a movie. Yeah, there been a number like right now. Hugh Howey. He's actually I think, in production with his novel wool, which was written in 2011. Rashida Jones sound signed on for that. But yeah, we've had a had a number of bestsellers. Marissa Meyer, Erin Morgenstern, Rainbow Raoul. And, you know, they've been Elizabeth Acevedo many that we don't know about actually. We only know about them when they tell us or when we read it in an interview or something. So just imagine there's so many novels out there that started with NaNoWriMo. Peter, for you, I want to say, I mean, you and I talked about some, I think, either Twitter or in DMS recently that you draft and edit as you draft. So you're already you're already ahead of the game with that, Grant. Peter had asked the community or Twitter community recently, like, what would I get out of nano? Well, I don't remember what your question just a frame of reference grant, I like joined Twitter like five months ago, I'm like an 89 year old man and a 27 year olds body, so I don't understand. Yeah, and he was, so he was asking about it. My generation was raised with, let's brainstorm an idea, right, the draft and turn it in for a grade that was really traumatic for me. And I think that carried over into it, like self inflicted pain, even when I started writing. When I was, I think 23 or 24. I was trying it and it was like, around then when I started doing Nano, and I'm like, oh, so it doesn't have to be perfect. And I don't have like three steps of revision, the revision process to complete. I think my point is, it's not for everybody. And I'm curious, do you agree with that? Am I miss reading it? I'm gonna counter that point. Yeah, okay. Yeah, please. Yeah. Well, first of all, you know, many writers who are very way along their path, you know, and some of the NaNoWriMo bestselling authors I mentioned. For instance, Marissa Meyer, and Hugh Howey. Marissa tells me she does it. She does NaNoWriMo for each of her novels, always. Wow, it starts a rough draft with the NaNoWriMo. Framework gold deadline, crank it out, revised later. Yeah. Hugh Howey does the same thing. So I think it can I think that around the can work for writers across the spectrum, you know, accomplished published writers and beginning writers, I think that's part of the beauty of it. I also think that every writer should try it once because it's a creative experiment. And it's like, you know, we all have different muscles, just like if you're a track and field person, you should, you know, occasionally run 100 yard dash or sprint, just as you should, you know, run distance as well. Different different muscles, different things to waist train. And from much like Peter, I write and I like to write in edit at the same time. Both of you, but there are those moments where you have to turn into an improv actor and kind of say yes, and to what you have within you. Sure. Manorama really teaches you that skill, or to write fast like, like you mentioned, Erica, like, Yeah, I'll go to NaNoWriMo write ins and experience word sprints, and it'll be this amazing. It'll always be like an creative epiphany for me, I'll be like, Wow, in five minutes of writing, this is a whole different technique. And it actually like leads somewhere really productive and interesting. Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. I would love to do it. It's not it's not like I'm against everything. It's just completely different to the way my brain is wired. It's just more like, wow, people can Yeah, no, I maybe maybe the next project I do. Maybe Maybe I'll try it and see Oh, yes. There's camp nano in the spring. Is that it? April? Yeah. Maybe Peter, I'll drag you into our camp. Can you explain what Camp NaNoWriMo is? It is a version more casual version of NaNoWriMo happens in April and July, I was gonna say what's valuable about it is what's valuable. The NaNoWriMo premise. It's it's a goal and a deadline, the challenge of a 30 day goal. And I get that we call that a creative midwife. It really puts pressure on your writing. So Camp NaNoWriMo, the thing that makes it more casual, it's not necessarily a 50,000 word novel. It could be 25,000 word novella. It could be collection, short stories, could be flash stories, poets, poems, you know, anything you want it to be. So the main thing is that gold deadline framework, though, and otherwise, everything just the same. We've got a community of writers, you can write with people, collaborate with them, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I think there are a number of ways to experiment with NaNoWriMo, too. And so even even up there, I think if you're going to write and edit at the same time, you just need to allow a little bit more time. Sure, in November to meet your word count goals. Because like I said, I'm like that too. But it's an interesting thing. To have an ambitious word count goal hanging over every day, or it's kind of driving you. You're right, like, like John Updike. His goal every day was 1200 words. And he was he was a writer editor, you know, and that's a pretty ambitious school, you know, but it's kind of near the NaNoWriMo goal of 1700 words a day. So grant, how would you say the current season of Nana was going are you guys still doing in person events or write ins or anything to the pandemic kind of question that? Yeah, just so listeners know what you're talking about. We generally have about 900 volunteers around the world how municipal liaisons and so they're like in my hometown, but kind of in my hometown. I grew up in this town, small town in Oskaloosa, Iowa. There's about 60 miles from Des Moines. So There municipal blazons volunteers and Des Moines who will host writing events that include people in my little town in Oskaloosa. So these volunteers are located around the world and they, they organizing writing gatherings because we believe that writing doesn't have to be a solitary affair. And that actually it can be creatively energizing to write with people, it can hold you accountable. It can, you know, just bring you together make it fun, too. And so we ordinarily have those events. But the last two years because of this, I don't know if you've heard about it. COVID kind of shut down those write ins. We also generally host events and about 1000 Libraries host events every year. You know, some of those libraries are still doing and I think about 500 Are but yeah, we're we've been affected by COVID. It's, in some ways, it's unfortunate, because you know, I think people gathering together is just invaluable magic. But it's also allowed a lot of people who might not have been able to attend those write ins to participate by zoom. So our volunteers has been amazing how they've adapted through with online tool. Yeah, well, in kind to that point, I was looking, I was poking around your website before we talked and I saw the other young writers program, which a that's amazing that you guys are doing that it's one of the most important things that we can do is encourage literacy with the youth. Can Can you talk a little bit about that? And what's going on with that program? Yeah, so thank you for noticing that it's it's a huge program unto itself, about 100,000 kids and teens take part in it every year, we support about 10,000 classrooms with free novel writing resources. And I should say that everything we do is free, we're nonprofit. And we believe that everyone should have the support, they need to write their novel and put their voice in the world. And so what's cool about this is K through 12, actually, so kids can set their own word count goal, according to their age, and abilities. And so you know, a fourth grader might have a 2000 word count goal for the month and a, you know, eighth grader might have a 20,000 word count goal. And so, but it still teaches them all those same things, it teaches them to show up every day and writes heaps of them writing stamina, teaches them a goal and a deadline and teaches them the value of breaking a big task into small chunks. And then what I think is most important is most kids don't get to choose what they want to write about. They also don't get to choose something that's fun. And that's the best way to learn anything is by having fun with it. And we have this thing about writing instruction where we do not make it fun. Generally, teachers do not make it fun. Yeah. And you know, like, if it's fun, you're more likely to be interested in learning about it. And so that's what we find with these kids. Even the most reluctant writers, some kids will go come kicking and screaming in the class, they won't want to do it. But because they get to choose their topic, and have fun with it and just plunge into their imagination. You know, they're just more likely to learn, you know, commas and punctuation and some of the more dry aspects of language. So yeah, we've had a lot of success with it. And a lot of like, exactly that teachers and kids tell us exactly what I just told you. And it'll be really interesting, especially when a whole class or sometimes a whole school does it because we'll hear about like kids, either telling their stories to each other in the playground, or people that like the school be abuzz with how many words to do. Right. You know, it's like this kind of friendly competition. So very, how can we read more about it, find out more about it, just go to Google NaNoWriMo young writers program? Yeah. And you'll end up on it's a whole separate website, the NaNoWriMo. Website? Awesome. Yeah, I wish I hope more teachers do that. Yeah. Cuz I was just thinking what you were talking about, about teachers, sometimes not always making it fun. And I just think about, you know, I ended up being a writer, right. But like, I think back to like my sixth and seventh grade classes, where we were learning how to diagram sentences. And my, you know, I just wanted to, you know, do anything, but that's, and it would have been more it would have been, it would have been better to do something like this. I hope more schools encouraged that. Grant we kind of talked about, he kind of touched on this already. We could talk about your writing process. I'm assuming you do participate in nano every year. Now. You do. Absolutely. But I will say that when I first heard about NaNoWriMo, I think it must have been 2001. Chris Chris Beatty. First year he did it was 1999. And he got 20 of his friends to join him. The next year, those 20 people told a few people and 150 people showed up. But anyway, my friend Jake was pretty close friends with Chris Beatty, and he did it in one of those early years. So it must have been 2000. And he and he told me about it. And I said what? And I'd gotten my MFA program like a few years earlier, and I was just like, that is a horrible, horrible illness and I was totally snobby and elitist and had, you know, didn't have any desire to participate. So look at the irony of that be I take those words back because I think I've heard those words I still see those words levelled at NaNoWriMo by more kind of snobbish writing community, and they're entirely wrong because there's plenty of legitimacy, like I said, from writers like John Updike. and plenty of legitimacy from all these writers who've had I want either a wonderful creative experience, which is good enough unto itself, or who've published books, because of NaNoWriMo, which is awesome. So yeah, I also just I don't understand the point of people pooping on each other's writing process, like, Whatever, whatever works just Yeah. It's just a creative experiment in the end. And it's just a writing process. And it is just a community creativity event, and, you know, many other things, but none of those things exactly. Do anybody harm. Right? Exactly. Actually, yeah, the content to the contrary, I feel like if I try a writing event of some sort, something similar to Nano, something totally different than Nano, and it doesn't work. For me, that is also helpful to know, it's just something to cross off the list. And it's like, alright, that's not going to be part of my process. It's just as helpful as finding out what does work. We don't say it's the way and we don't say that anyone has the way it's a way to go about it. And like I said, I think everyone should experience it at least once. Just, you know, just as an experiment. Yeah. What what is the favorite thing that you've written during it? Or I know, do you have one? It's probably hard to pick but it is, you know, I would say I actually well, two things actually. Strangely enough, they're very different projects. There's I wrote an epistolary novel, meaning a novel through letters. And that was several NaNoWriMo is ago, but that's, you know, I stuck with that and revised it endlessly. And that's now with my agent, and hopefully it will be published sometime soon. I wrote a nonfiction book during Camp NaNoWriMo of what's this year 20. It was some I spent 2020. And so I spent a couple camps on that. And it's a book on the art of brevity. My, my other life, other than NaNoWriMo is running this literary journal called 100. word story. And all the stories are exactly 100 words. And I have a collection of flash fiction, and love writing with that kind of aesthetic and brevity. So it's a nonfiction book craft book, kind of a meditation on brevity, I need to get that book. It'll be out in about a year. Oh, we have to wait the whole year. Sorry. Sorry. I'm getting my publishers email address it will spam. like to talk to the publisher. And yeah, thank you. Speaking of the 100 word Story series, this whole thing that you're doing? Yeah, good. One thing you're working on at the moment, anything specific, you know, I'm strangely in between projects. I, other than the NaNoWriMo project that I started, but the brevity book, I just sent that in and about a month ago, and I'm waiting for edits from my editor. So I feel a little bit in limbo with that kind of project that's going to be sold and published. But I am like, dipping my toe into a novel with NaNoWriMo. Currently, this is the wonderful thing about NaNoWriMo is that it's only 30 days. So you can test out a novel idea without you know, you know, because a lot of novels, I have spent years on novels before I found out like, oh, I should not you know, it's like going to grad school, and that doing nothing with your PhD. Not picking on you here. Okay. I didn't get a PhD. But no, I can tell a lot by writing something for 30 days, like for instance, I can tell my passion for it like because if you're going to see a novel all the way through, you might be spending several years with it. So I can assess my passion, I can assess the potential for the story. You know, I can, I can just see what draws me about it. And if I want to continue it, and so that I like using NaNoWriMo for them. So sometimes it disturbs me that I've got a bunch of novels lying around the house, or a lot a lot of unfinished novels rather, but you know, it's also good. To me. That's like having groceries in my pantry. Yeah, I'm not going to use everyone every minute of every day. But sometimes, yeah, I want to eat some blueberry cereal. And you say blueberry, I heard blueberry? Yes, I heard blueberry. Yeah. Count Chocula frankenberry. Oh, no, no, blueberry. I was just being an asshole. I thought you mispronounced we all need a blueberry novel? Once in a while, Frank. Okay, I should just Count Chocula Yeah, some days I'm just gonna want some Count Chocula maybe it's gonna be carrots the next day, it doesn't matter. I do focus on one project at a time within a week. On the weekends, I need to pivot to my beta project. So I was gonna say that's exactly how I kind of tend to work as I like, I like jumping. I like having focused times on projects but also juggling them because I feel like I feel like it's something about my attention span I can be especially once I hit the wall on something is to take some time and nourish myself with something else and then come back to it. So absolutely. You have some blueberry, like you said, blueberry, carrots. Cheez Its, yeah, maybe some promise like a whole food chart. like the equivalent of Count chocolate with a novel, you know, I think you guys are screwing with me. I don't think blueberry exists. I think my god, don't meet me take off my headphones, go get the two boxes out sitting. Just like the food pyramid, and then my creative pyramid, like different things on different days. Wow. That's profound. Erica, good job. Thanks. Yeah, profound here. Sorry, could be prolific, depending on what might just be delicious. I mean, just kind of what you were talking about in terms of like testing things out to see if you had the passion for it. I mean, I just finished the first draft of my novel. And this is the first novel that I've written. I primarily write scripts, which, you know, I mean, scripts are hard, obviously. But you know, you can finish them usually in a few months. But yeah, I mean, I've been I've been working on the novel since January, and I just not finished it. So it's such a marathon as compared to a script Summit. It's it's just it's been a very different muscle like you were talking about before. I'm actually curious, given all the projects you got going on, you've been wanting to write since you were a neonate. It sounds like, Have you ever wanted to quit writing? Ah, how interesting. I don't think would quit, I think, probably most writers have held it in question at certain moments of either frustration, or just, you know, it is a tough life, in the sense that you're not going to earn a lot of money, especially if you live in a high priced urban area like I do, you know, it just puts a lot of pressure on life. And, yeah, I think it brings up that question, but I think like, the answer is that I couldn't quit. And that also that I'm perfectly happy writing without it being something that makes money for me, because I actually don't make much money off of my writing, you know, I happen to have a career that's related to writing. But it's, you know, it's not my, I'll meet these people from my past. And they'll be like, Oh, you must be loaded. up and I'm like, oh, man, that is the last way to be loaded. I think most writers have to arrive at this place where they're very content and maybe beyond content because of their writing. So writing gives me I mean, I'm only a piece when I'm writing so so I have to do it. Yeah. So I don't question it on that kind of profound existential level. Yeah, yeah. I think there's this common misconception, I was guilty of this too, when I was younger is the that if, if you're a writer, and you still have a day job, that that means you're a failure? Right? I think that's like a common misconception. And it's, it's just a huge misconception. I mean, like, you know, 98.7% of all writers have a day job. And that's something that needs to be talked about more. I feel like it isn't taught. I think so. I think the whole everything about like, just what I said about what writers really make, yeah, what the dream is really about, I think too many people think it's about fame and fortune. And it's not. You know, it's like, what the writer friend the other day, and I, I mean, I wish I had this tally of how many hours I put into writing in a lifetime and how much money I've made in total, but I'm pretty sure I'm not at minimum wage yet. You know, so that's, that's, that's something for any writer to consider is that it's a it's an act that you're just not going to be that well paid for. But you can still get a lot of deep satisfaction out of it. Early in my writing endeavors. I had that pipe dream of like, oh, yeah, bestselling author by the time I'm 29. And yeah, I'll go to lunch with Meg Cabot, and whatever. And that was just in my head for about probably four months. And then I'm like, Okay, no, that's not going to happen anytime soon. But I'm still really enjoying this. Let's just see what happens. And oh, crap. I had a point. And I totally forgot. I'm sorry. That's okay. I can I can ask my next question. Oh, yeah. Just Lunch with Meg Cabot, we'll come back to you. Perfect. Thank you. Yeah. So I mean, God bless you. Since we're talking about, you know, writing careers and publishing in whatnot. I this is I'm going to hit you with a pretty existential question. So I hope you're ready. Yeah. You've already hit me with some. So if there's one thing you could change about the publishing industry as a whole, what would it be? Wow, what a good question. I think there is something very provincial about the publishing industry, it's very cliquey, and it tends to be very elitist, and it tends to be very close. And I think those are all intertwined. And I think that that has been its its heritage. You know, it's been very New York centric. So me on the West Coast, you can you can see it, you can tangibly feel the effects of that, and that's on the west coast in an urban area. So think about other areas of the United States. And it's it's strange, but it is geographic, even in this day and age. And it is very clicking club. And you can think of like, if you look at the pay structures in publishing, most of the entry level jobs only. I mean, they used to, I think, I think the average now is 44,000 or somewhere around that it used to be in the 30s. And so to live in New York City at that right at that wage, you've got a usually have parental support, you know, six roommates, yeah, or six roommates, but you know, so they were basically only hiring people of a certain class, you know, and intended to hire people of a certain race. So there were a lot of white, relatively wealthy people working in publishing. And that also led to who they published, you know, now we're now we're seeing this very tangibly and having this really deep unnecessary reckoning that wow, you know, they, I mean, it's, it's just, it's embarrassing, and it's horrible, the percentage of, of white people versus writers of color, you know, that have been published and how far we are on our history. And they were still, you know, just so backwards with this. So that's what I changed. It's all related. For me. That's a really nice question. Yeah. It's a great answer. We've been asking that question. Last few episodes, it's Peters question. Such a great one. And the answers have been very similar. What about that accessibility and representation? Yeah, you know, I mean, and even beyond, like another class, as I mentioned, the Class of who gets hired into publishing. It's also like the class of authors who they look for. And so like, I've talked to agents about this, and they hate this part of agent thing. But but a lot of like, the expected paths that agents would, you know, they would go to the top 10 MFA programs, and they would go there and recruit authors, you know, design. And so you know, to go to those programs, again, you're talking about a certain class of people in general, there's a certain class of people who would even think about getting an MFA. You know, once you think about it, you're like, Wow, this is a wild card thing to do. Especially nowadays, it costs a lot of money to go Yeah, and I say way more than when I do that. Yep. And so you know, so that's just like, it's a vicious cycle. But I think it is the definition of like systemic racism. Damn, thanks. Thanks for that. The Meg Cabot thing I don't remember. Oh, no, have to cut it. No, no, don't cut it. She's a lovely lunch partner, I'm sure. There you go. That was my that was my vision as an early writer. Like I'd make the bestseller list. I was friends with Meg Cabot. And then once that the dust settled, and I realized I was still ready to put some work into it. And I treated it like a part time job. But no more than that, because I found if I tried to do more than 20 hours a week on a work in progress, I burned out for everything else in my life. Yeah, it's a good thing to think about, especially as a young writer of what how your job is going to support you. Yes, not only financially, but how it's going to support your creative life or allow you to be creative. We all need dreams of having lunch with our mag cabinets in our lives. So you can really be we all have them, right? Yeah. Who are you my cabinets, Peter and Grant who are you? Gosh, you go first Peter. Okay, but Oh, boy. are we limiting it to just novelist or writers of all stripes? famous person you want to have lunch with? How about that? Inspiration person? Okay, I'll give you three. I'll give you I'll give you a playwright. I'll give you a screenwriter and I'll give you a novelist. Okay. Playwright would be Sam Shepard. Screenwriter would be Aaron Sorkin. And novelist would be John Steinbeck. Alright, I'll ask Uncle John if he wants to meet you. Yeah, call him up. Now. I'm not related to him. I was gonna go just live ones. Yeah, fair enough. I'll say this one. I mean, I've had many, many authors, or people like Sam Shepard who are beyond authors who have wanted to like yeah, get to know. Yeah, have lunch with but um, so Liz fair musician. If you know her, she she's done. NaNoWriMo several times. Cool. Just came out with a new album. I really like her album. She also came out with a book of essays a memoir, which was really well written. really smart, really honest. But all she's very honest. So right now I'll go with Liz fair, because, you know, we could have lunch cut an album, who knows? All right. You know, this is a really good transition, or what is it? Segue? One of my final questions for you, sir. Grant. What's on your author bucket list? Being on our podcast was that on your bucket? Yeah. Gotta think of a new one here. Is sounding so sincere. You guys. I have an author bucket list. I don't know I have a lot of projects. I want to finish the burning one. The burning water near Yeah. Gosh. Yeah. I mean, you know what's interesting about me at this stage in my writing is per our conversation about having a lot of like half finished novels or a lot of blueberries in our closet. You know, maybe some of those boxes of blueberries have gone stale that some of them you know, are still able to like eat them you need to kind of sort through the blueberry boxes and get rid of the old ones. But no, you know, I think I think for me, it's it is like taking account of some of those things that I have started and wanting to finish them. Like four years ago I got a writing residency and I wrote what started out to be a why a novel but I think it's not really a why a novel and it's but it has a lot to do with my youths So Scott, I usually don't write very directly about my life, but this one had a lot of my life in it. So I was like to finish that novel. And then I've been finished. I've been toying around with different forms of writing, like, and I think this veers into like the 100 word story side of writing a novel, you know, with in a very fragmentary way with different snippets of text. You know, I like I've been experimenting with like confessional narratives, meaning like telling a story through diaries. And so there's, there's this author Sarah Mancuso, who I like to launch publishes with gray wolf, and she'll, she does a lot, she has several books, at least two, I guess. And one of them was about her diary, where she has about a sentence per page or just like a tiny paragraph or page. And I like the way that that has a kind of narrative shape and texture and what she does with that, so I'm interested in doing things like that, too. That makes me so happy. Or collages, you know, are stories with photos, like I do take a lot of photos. And we have on the 100 word story site, we have a photo prompt. So every month, we post a photo and we accept stories that people write to the photo and so I love a snap. I think a snapshot actually is the perfect story because it's like captured this, like, just this flash of a story. So I'd love to put out a book of photo stories. Awesome. That's, that's such a better answer than my answer. Wow. Geez. Why? You're special just like everybody else. Peter. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your bucket. Oh, there we go. Got my bucket. It's a real AG. I've been handed this by my producer. Blueberry. Well, Barry. Yeah. Okay, so delicious. I guess. It's I mean, it's blueberries. It's not delicious. But it? Is it food. It cereal? You guys have never heard of frankenberry. I'll be I'll be completely honest with you. I've never seen that box. Either. This is an alternate timeline. Question grant. My my like, my bucket list project that I would love to do. One day is a super weird dark comedy about old Hollywood impersonators. Oh my god. That's amazing. Yeah, great. Yeah. I it's just one of those things that it's just so weird and nice. I didn't know that about you, buddy. That I would love to do that one day. Yeah. Great film to hear. Well, that's that's kind of the idea. Yeah, like, but I haven't quite. I think I need to be at a certain point in my career where I could just like walk into a 24. And just like, give them a pitch and like, okay, great. Yeah. On behalf of Peter Milan, Elliot, he connected with pipeline by winning the screenwriting competition for a biopic on the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra, Jr. Is that correct? That is correct. Isn't that crazy? Cool. That is yeah, like my mother. I love historical stuff. So I tend to write a lot of period pieces as well, as you know, thrillers like the thing that's coming out is a super gritty, dark home invasion thriller with a little dash of horror. So those are kind of my two boxes. Get back on topic here. Um, so for someone that is thinking about starting NaNoWriMo, obviously, next year, since we're in the middle of that, if you could give them one piece of advice, what what would that be? Yeah, I think it's interesting to me, because I think NaNoWriMo while it teaches you things about your creative process, and it teaches you about eating itself, and storytelling and all those kinds of things. I think the number one thing that will help people be successful is actually coming up with a time management strategy. Because I think too many people, you know, 50,000 words is a lot to write in a month, reading 1700 words a day takes most people about two hours, that's very strenuous writing. And most people don't write that way in their normal life. So if you just, if you don't make any plans for how you're going to write for two or three hours a day, it likely won't happen, you likely won't succeed. And what happens is that when people fall behind their word count, they unfortunately get too discouraged too early, and they just quit entirely. And so I think those two things together is like thinking about ahead of time making up a strategy, like maybe you're not going to spend as much time on social media, maybe you're not going to watch the movie you might watch every night, you know what, think of those pockets, at times you can open up to write maybe it's like you'll write during three or four different small periods of day, like five minutes at lunch, you know, 10 minutes after work, you know, whatever it is, and sometimes those accumulate or do power writing on the weekend. So anyway, coming up with a strategy, how you're going to get those 50,000 words and then also when you fall behind, don't give up because what happens is that one, it's just, we're all about just writing for the month. So like, like recalibrate your goals, instead of like having it be 50,000 words, try to write every day for the month. And and what happens is, a lot of times people get second and third winds and they'll have some marathon riding day and they'll catch up to their word counts passing. I mean, we hear this all the time. So we really just want people to write for the duration of the bump. So then the There's only one thing left for me to talk about. And Peters Peters laughing It's it's, it's the hardest question. It's the hardest hitting question of the entire. I want to tell you, Peter, and all of our listeners who've been following this emotional journey of asking if authors and agents and publishers and editors write while they work. It comes from my experience with Nano because I remember a chapter in the book in the handbook, the NaNoWriMo handbook, it was like, get some snacks that aren't messy. You want something like crunchy to you know, when you need some nourishment. I think that snacking while I write habit comes from my NaNoWriMo experience. And so this is like coming full circle for me. And I've had mixed answers. And by that I mean some people like absolutely do not it is forbidden to write while they wouldn't. I mean, some people don't like when I spill Pollock. funnier on my keyboard. And granted Yeah, it's a little sticky. But Peter full circle. NaNoWriMo is why I snack while I write. Got it. Okay. And it's also why I don't focus a lot while I'm writing because I'm eating. Grant Faulkner. Do you snack while you work? Well, Erica, it's interesting to me a number of different levels. One I've never been asked this. And it's interesting to me, that's such a burning question for you. And you asked it in like 10 years. And then I was gonna ask you why it mattered to you. But you I guess you kind of said that community identity. You haven't conflicted. I guess thoughts about your own snacking and therapy session. I am Sicilian and Sicilian. My Sicilian families are very emotional eaters. And writing is very emotional for me a good, bad, ugly, so I've never really thought about it. And I'm perfectly happy to snack while I write. But I think I generally write with just a cup of coffee. Yeah. Which is not to say the snacks. I'm not against them. I think like what's nice is that when I'm hungry, I'll get up and then eat. And then come back. It'll be a nice little break. All right. Yeah. It's inadvertently a part of the process. Part of the process. Yeah. Yeah, but I've never thought about it. I think I would actually have problems like eating potato chips and writing or something like that. Yeah, it gets a little sticky. I write super early in the morning. So I don't usually feel like, like eating stuff like that. So I usually write coffee. Yeah, coffee is very necessary. Yes. How much coffee we talk in a day grant. Oh, boy, I drink less now. I think I you know, 234 cups, but I used to be in this coffee throughout the day. So I have no idea how to count it. Yeah, yeah. And I met three very strong espressos every day. Which is not great. But you know, yeah. Good for you. Generally, you know, antioxidants. It's good for you. So, do you have a favorite brand or flavor of coffee? That's for either of you, blueberry and fuse? Oh, my God. comes full circle. There it is. There it is. I'm gonna send you both the box in the mail. So, grant, we do this thing at the end of every podcast where Eric and I do a cat. So grant, if you're up for it, what would your goal be for this these next two weeks? Oh, since I happen to be writing in November, which happens to be NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month, I think I'll keep my accountability goal. 50,000 words by midnight November 30. About that. Solid. Okay, I'll go kill. My accountability goal for next time will be to let's say my book is 20 chapters total. So I want to have I want to have revised say the first eight chapters. Dang. All right. Yeah. Well, wait. Let's say that. Let's try that. And if I don't end up hitting it, I don't. Don't let my reaction discourage you. I'm a very slow reviser. Okay, because I'm at it. Erica. Yeah. What about you? I am just going to reset my accountability goal from last time, which I did not meet. So I would like to get by December 1. I'd like to have the sample chapters of the nonfiction book proposals sent and hopefully received back from no more than two beta readers. Nice. Fingers crossed. Grant. This was awesome. That was fun. It was so good. And it really was an honor to talk to you, especially someone so close to the project. Can you tell Chris I said hi. I'm a big fan. I'm the one that wrote that crappy book back into. I'm sure know what I mean. Yeah, he'll know. Grant Thank you so much. We'll don't know how the fried fried at this point. Yeah, off to eat my blueberry. Oh, you guys know so for really? Neither of you have heard of no and heard literally Chocula yes, that I've heard of grant count. Chocula Oh, Yeah, this is this is his accomplice. You know, I mean, good review. I just you know, Buffalo was a weird place to grow up. I worry about that being toxic. Yeah, I mean, I feel like blue food. Anything is just not a good I just made the mistake of reading the ingredient list. Yeah. And everyone did that. Oh yeah. Okay, bye. That's it for episode 13 Lucky 13 That's my lucky number. We did it and what a great guest thing I was so cool. Grant. That was awesome. NaNoWriMo changed how I drafted and that got me unstuck from a lot of stuff. So this was really cool for me. NaNoWriMo NaNoWriMo Hey, who's up in Episode 14? I'll tell you. Up next in Episode 14. Our next guest is Kat Bab makura, the author of the book Poe for your problems, which is a fantastic title and guide you guys. It's so funny. I've got it in my hand and I cannot wait to talk to her. If you have any questions, rants raves about writing or you want to learn more about us your pipeline, please visit pipeline artists.com And you can also follow us on Twitter at the podcast title and on Instagram and Facebook at this podcast needs a title or you can follow me at the Davis girl can even follow Peter Maloney yet at PME writer Erica NaNoWriMo oh my god, a dingo is going to eat your face. You've started you've started something here. You've started something. Let's end it. Click