Make Writing Your Job

The pilot episode and Companion Guide eBook are live

A pilot for the Pilot! So stoked to kick this off with a friend.

I’m starting by answering the questions I’m asked the most as an experienced professional writer: how you can make writing your job.

People ask me this when they’re out of work, when they’re under-employed or unhappily employed. They ask me when they imagine the working writer’s life is romantic and full of freedom.

Sleep in! Set your own hours! Be your own boss!

Spoiler alert: none of those are true.

Okay, maybe I set my own hours. But that means no sleeping in. And the client or project is always my boss. My co-workers have been fellow writers and creative marketers… and also cats and dogs. The gig changes. The mindset does not.

The podcast audio and video are one piece of this project. The other is the Companion Guide, the eBook that will further expound on the show topic, in more depth than a podcast episode can allow. The reason for this is two fold:

  1. I want to keep the episode fun and interview-dominant and,
  2. The books aren’t free.
The first rule of being a Working Writer is “Don’t work for free.”

It’s been an intense process to get this project up and running. I wouldn’t call it a harrowing climb though. I’ve had so much encouragement and support along the way and it’s always fun learning new skills. That said, I’m relieved to hit publish on everything and get this party started.

Non-writing friends will save you from the Cliffs of Insanity.

I invited (well, she eagerly volunteered) one my oldest friends, a non-writer (with the heart and soul of one tho) and pilot, Melody Blythe. Melody and I go way, way back. We grew up in the orchestra of one of the largest megachurches in America in the late 80s.

This meant we saw each other six days a week together and twice on Sunday. We spent our spring, summer, and winter breaks witnessing to what Baptists call “lost people” and telling them about Jesus. We spent evenings performing gospel concerts. Melody and I grew up musically privileged, spiritually trained (some would call it brainwashed), and relationally close.

When you grow up in a youth group of four-hundred, with fundamentalist teachings framing your ordinary teenage development, you develop a kind of kindred bond that carries long into adulthood. Melody and I got married at the same time, had children at the same time, left abusive marriages at about the same time, and reconstructed our lives still friends. She’s one of a few people who will always understand where I came from and why I’m “me.”

Melody is a pilot, a property appraiser and a mom to a special needs son. Her sense of memory more than doubles mine, as does her sunny “brush yourself off and try again” spirit. She’s good at math and strategy. Don’t miss her wisdom on pockets and swim lanes.

For fun, I’m including a few photos of those years down below. If you want to follow my work on religious trauma, you can do so on my website or on Instagram: @tialindstromwriter.

Resources to Make Writing Your Job

This episode includes several valuable resources I either used along the way or still use today in my working writer life.

The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard 

The Business of Being a Writer, by Jane Friedman 

Writer’s Digest Magazine 

Michael Anderle of 20Booksto50k Talk on Indie Publishing on Amazon

My standing desk

The Companion Guide for this episode: Make Writing Your Job.

The interview was a lot of fun and incredibly spirit-bolstering. The marrow of how to make writing your job is in the eBook.

Growing up in a Baptist Mega Church

This is not a great photo because it’s a screenshot of a video from one of our high school performances. It also cuts off the left and right, as well as the majority of the orchestra, seated in front of the choir. Our youth group was between 350 and 400.
That’s me in the middle, in 1991. We’re wearing our teal performance dresses, a definite improvement from the previous mauve. The sleeves were puffed! I played in the orchestra at First Baptist for about fifteen years, from junior high until my mid-twenties. Our church had two full-sized adult orchestras.
That’s Melody in front with her eyes closed. She’d say she was being a dork. We all look pretty dorky. This is pre-concert shenanigans in our rehearsal room. The two photo bombers in the back are playing to type.
This is what our wild and crazy spring breaks looked like. Days spent carrying our bibles and witnessing in neighborhoods, nights spent in concert. Boys were allowed to touch each other, girls were allowed to touch each other, boys and girls were not. This photo is the perfect time capsule of the fundie-megachurch lifestyle. We were good kids headed for a lifetime of sorting a lot of those ideas out.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and get real value from it, whether you listen, watch or read. If you do, please leave a review.

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The Working Writer Video Series

The Working Writer Podcast is also on YouTube

Start a podcast, they said! It’ll be fun, they said! Put the episodes up on YouTube, they said! Make The Working Writer Podcast a video series, they said!

Turns out, they were right.

From a production standpoint, there’s quite a bit more effort in making videos. I could record a podcast in pajamas or on bad-hair days and I’m sure many podcasters do. (I’ve seen quite a few record videos that way too but eeeeek! Dress for the job you want, people!).

Video means a camera (and subsequent USB scarcity issue). It means preparing guests who might be going gangbusters about being on a podcast but hesitating about being on camera. And YouTube is a different ballgame as far as platforms go.

But there’s some solid overlap too. For instance, I record on a video call, which results in both audio and video file formats. Two files for the price of one, so to speak. My editing software is video, exported in two formats, so again, I’m getting two products for the same amount of effort as one.

Deciding to do both The Working Writer Podcast as a video and audio series increases the ad revenue potential. It also increases the audience reach. People have favorite platforms and favorite ways of consuming content. It makes sense to go where they are. In this vein, I guess it’s fair to say that print options are also on the list because The Working Writer Podcast Companion Guides will include show content, in addition to tons of content that couldn’t fit into the episode.

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