Melissa Bernstein is the co-founder of Melissa & Doug, where she has designed nearly 10,000 toys and created a $500 million dollar company. In this conversation, we talk about the importance of failure in the creative process and what it means to live and create with authenticity. She also gets very honest about mental health and why her new book has been the most incredible creative experience of her life. The book is called: LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light.
Skeme Richards has not only found a way to grow his creativity and audience, but fill his life with what inspires him. As a DJ and collector, he has found a way to infuse everything part of his life with the art, culture, and people he appreciates most. We discuss why he chose to not make his creative passion his day job, how his work as a DJ grew globally over the years, and how he has embraced the web to fill his life with like-minded people and share his music in new ways.
Today I talk with KJ Dell'Antonia about the huge creative shift she made from writing nonfiction to fiction. We take a behind the scenes look at her book launch, which she and I began working together on it months before release. She shares specifics of what she did, and how her novel, The Chicken Sisters, came to be picked by Reese Witherspoon's book club, become an Indie Next List pick, and land on the New York Times bestseller list. You can find KJ at https://www.instagram.com/kjda/
In today's episode, Anthony Trucks takes us through his story of reaching the pinnacle of his dream -- joining the NFL -- only to having that dream crash down around him. But then, he found alignment: The clarity, the drive, the balance that so many of us desire. I loved this advice from Anthony in our chat; that to get what you want, "you have to go past logic." You can find Anthony at https://anthonytrucks.com. His new book, Identity Shift: Upgrade How You Operate to Elevate Your Life comes out in August.
Growing up in New York City's Greenwich Village, Amanda Stern met Shel Silverstein when she was 12, lived on the same block and Bob Dylan, and described it as: "the whole village was like a stage, and everyone was in a show." We explore her success as a writer with 9 children's books, 2 young adult books, a novel, and a memoir, and the value of being a part of a creative community. She says: "Making connections and building community is one of the best ways to generate ideas and come up with new projects."
Today I would like to share the story of how one writer found his path to create, publish, and share his novels. Everything about this journey is so inspiring to me. In this conversation with Julian Winters, we discuss finding permission to create, taking a huge risk to pursue your creative goals, managing mental health, how one person can radically change your career for the better, impostor’s syndrome, and the responsibility an author has to get people interested in their writing.
Last week I sent out my newsletter to thousands of people, and in the very first line was a typo. Today I want to talk about how this typo represents what so many writers and creators tell me they fear: making a simple mistake that will sink their career. This can cause them to resist creating, resist publishing, and resist sharing. I discuss how this relates to impostor's syndrome, and how perfection limits our potential, and our progress.
Today I speak with Amber Coleman-Mortley who shares her wisdom on making a creative shift in your life. It includes "delusions of grandeur," a "social contribution of making the world a better place," and "needing to have a plan." She talks about the difficult parts of transitions: "[When] I took a pivot, I had a huge confidence drop. [I asked myself], what's my identity?" Her advice: "If there is a moment where you feel lost, find a new path that energizes and inspires you."
Today I look back on the moment 25 years ago that became the birth of this podcast. But not only that, I reflect on why I create, and why I share. In this episode I share the story of how I created a zine in the early 1990s interviewing my favorite bands like Oasis, Blur, Weezer, and They Might Be Giants, and how that turned into the podcast you are listening to now. I also share why these experiences are the foundation for not only creativity, but filling my life with fulfilling connections and moments.
The last quarter of every year, I focus on a creative reset. This is time to collect and organize my ideas and with a sense of intention, prepare a sense of creative clarity for the next year. In this episode, I share a bit about that process and why I'm pausing this podcast for the month of December. But it will return in January with some amazing new episodes. Thank you!
Today, picture book illustrator and textile designer Veronica Miller Jamison, shares how she made a major career shift, and how that led to illustrating her first book. She discusses the value of surrounding yourself with people who appreciate the craft you are learning, and how that community then became major supporters of her work. She is wonderfully honest about mental health, and how navigating anxiety and depression is a part of this journey.
Just as Naomi Jackson received a big promotion and raise at a job she loved, she quit. In doing so, she moved from New York City to the cornfields of Iowa with the goal of finishing her novel. In today's interview, she shares incredible wisdom on the value of having a community around your writing, why you need to be courageous, and the importance of listening to the generations who came before you.
Gigi Pandian is a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author of 10 books. Today we explore the huge creative shift she made to stop pursuing a PhD in order to fill her life with more creativity develop her career as an author. She shares the long road to getting the first book published, how that book found a readership because of her active involvement in the community of readers and writers, and how that got her the book deals she hoped for for two of her series.
For years, Valerie Bolling worked in education. One day, a visit from her nieces inspired her to write some stories. She set a goal to get published and “wrote and wrote and wrote.” Through a Twitter pitch, her book was acquired by a publisher. To find her agent, it took more than 150 queries (50 of which came after her deal for the book.) Valerie shares so much inspiring advice on creating and sharing. You can find out more about her and her book, Let's Dance! at valeriebolling.com.
Today I want to share the story of an amazing creative shift. Steve Sansweet was working as a journalist when he was allowed to see an early screening of Star Wars in 1977. That day changed his life, and he went on to amass the world's largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia. He eventually left journalism to work inside Lucasfilm, and today runs Rancho Obi-Wan, an interactive museum of Star Wars memorabilia. His story is incredible, and inspiring.
When Malcolm Lemmons shifted his career away from professional basketball, he describes how he struggled to find a new purpose. What gave him a clear path? Writing and storytelling. In today’s episode, we talk about his creative shift. There is so much in this episode that directly applies to the work that writers and artists face each day. Malcolm is the author of two books: Impact Beyond the Game and Lessons from the Game, and he can be found at https://malcolmlemmons.com
"I'm selling more books and the message is getting out there." This is author Beth Ricanati, M.D. described the results of continuing to promote her book two years after release. She has been running workshops in-person and online in support of her book Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs. In the process, she is finding new audiences she never considered before, is having more people reach out to her, and it has paved the way for her next book.
Earlier this year Andrea J. Loney's book, Double Bass Blues, received a Caldecott Honor. When I asked her about that journey she described how her very first book deal was for her 11th manscript. The next book she sold, Double Bass Blues, was her 17th manuscript. In our interview, she talks about the value of collaboration, persistence, and how her experience working at a circus, in theater, stand-up comedy, and writing for TV helped her realize her dream of being a children's book author.
Today author/illustrator Vesper Stamper shares incredibly powerful wisdom on the lessons she has learned in four decades of creative work. As a child, she found escape in books, she attended the arts high school featured in the movie and TV show Fame, and then pursued music, illustration and writing. She talks about the long road to success, the role of art in our lives, the power of collaboration, and why relationships need to be at the center of creative work. Her new book, A Cloud of Outrageous Blue is out this month!
Today I want to explore a topic that many writers and artists avoid: money and finance. I'm excited to welcome financial expert Jacquette Timmons onto the podcast. She talks about the psychology and emotion around money, and how it can limit your potential as a creator. I love the way she frames this: "We are talking about money all the time, but we aren't having the right conversations."
Welcome to the third part of my book launch case study with Leigh Stein. A year ago she and I began working on the marketing strategy for her novel, Self Care, which was released a few weeks ago. In this episode, we discuss the many ways the book has been successful, and how a year's worth of marketing work has paid off.
Today I'm excited to share my interview with filmmaker Angela Tucker. We discussed the creative and business challenges of filmmaking, and consider the many lessons that has for writers and artists as well. She is the producer on a new film that (of course) is being released into a changed world -- one where theaters and festivals are largely closed. We talk about how she is navigating that process. You can find Angela at http://www.tuckergurl.com and her new film at https://www.bellyofthebeastfilm.com
When I asked Evan J. Roberts how he has been able to promote the 18 books he has written in the last few years, he told me: "As an author, you can hide behind Amazon all you want, but people want to know who you are as a person. It also challenges you to start talking about the book and the relationship of what it means to the reader. That is a totally different conversation to have." This is an inspiring conversation of how a trip to the library catapulted him to become an author. You can find Evan at https://ejrbooks.com.
Kalynn Bayron has been a musician, dancer, opera singer, and is now an author. Her new book Cinderella is Dead was just released from Bloomsbury. In our conversation, we talk about that path to publication, including the 70 queries it took to find her agent, and the 4 year path to publication. She described the culmination of this process as readers telling her that they see themselves in the story, “I see there is a space for me.” Kalynn concluded: “If nothing else ever happens for me, that will have been enough.”
Today I'm excited to writer Sonya Larson. We discuss her role as Director of GrubStreet‘s Muse and the Marketplace writing conference, and how they are adjusting to serving writers amidst the pandemic. I love her take on finding hope amidst challenges: "The best artists pick up what's left, and generate something new and exciting." GrubStreet runs 600 workshops a year, have 1,000 people attend their conference, and are moving to a brand new 15,000 square foot facility. Find Sonya at larsonya.com.