Episode 2.29 – Worldcon and Writing Excuses

From July 28th through August 15th, Elan was away, on both the Writing Excuses Cruise and in Finland for Worldcon 75. In this episode, Elan talks about his experience and John and Craig do all the question-asking!


Use a story element randomizer (or story cubes/story dice) to write two 250-word short stories. Set a time limit for yourself when writing them.

Options for story randomizers:


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Episode 2.28 – The Other 70% of the Iceberg

There’s a well-known adage in genre fiction, whereby worldbuilding is like an iceberg. You only see the 30% that is above the surface, but you build the entire thing, and that other 70% is what makes your world feel real. This isn’t a universally held belief, however. How much of the iceberg to you build when you write?




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Episode 2.27 – Our Toolboxes

Pen and paper. Word. Scrivener. Ulysses. Aeon Timeline. Notecards, voice recorders, lap-desks and more! What are the tools you use to write? (Spoiler alert: we love Scrivener)

Apps and tools we discussed in the episode:




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Episode 2.26 – Strategies for Daily Practice

Writing every day isn’t for everyone, but most people want to build a daily practice. But it’s a difficult thing to do; forming any kind of habit is hard. How do you make sure that you write every day? How do you motivate and schedule yourself?





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Episode 2.25 – Fighting Distractions

We live in a world of distraction. Distraction is an enormous challenge for almost all of us, rearing its shiny head to peel us away from the work we care about or need to do. We recently talked about active and reactive work, but no matter our best intentions, distractions all-too-frequently take us away from accomplishing either. How do you fight distractions?

Recommendations from the episode:

Recommended reading: 


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Episode 2.24 – Reactive vs. Action-Driven Work

Day to day, choices are forced upon us, from the moment we get up to check our inbox and messages, to the many interruptions at work. Often, we get few opportunities to do the work we really want to do because we’re too busy reacting. Important work requires willful action to drive it, but the art of executing this requires battling the forces of reaction that surround us.

Recommended reading:

Download John’s weekly planner.


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Episode 2.23 – Plotsing, or Hybrid Methods

Plotting and pantsing are often described as diametrically opposed concepts, incompatible with each other and mutually exclusive. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, we all fall somewhere in between on the spectrum of plot and pants. We plotz.




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Episode 2.21 – On Plotting

The first of three episodes taking a deeper look at plotting, pantsing, and plotzing. While we podcasters aren’t exactly outliners/plotters, we discuss what we like about the hard work of outlining. In the future, we’ll bring in a bona-fide outliner to expand more on the topic.



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Episode 2.20 – Going Outside

We have talked about digitally marketing your book, but what about non-digital communication? Conventions, bookstores, reading events, cafes—what’s the best strategy for getting yourself out there, out there?

But beyond the discussion of marketing, what of the writing life? Writing can be a solitary activity, but the reality is that the world of writing is vibrant and dynamic, with conventions, seminars, cafes, readings, and more touching the world of writing. Should you venture out?


Find a convention! Go in disguise. Or, conversely, reach out to your local writing community in whatever way is most comfortable for you.


Download episode 2.20.