What’s your favorite TV show to fold laundry to? You know, the one you can half pay attention to and still keep up with the plot?
Maybe you don’t have any shows you only half-watch because everything on TV right now is so good. Peak TV is a real thing.
Or maybe you think watching TV is a waste of time. It’s a “guilty pleasure” or a purely leisure activity.
I’ve seen writers who encourage others to trade TV watching for book reading, but those activities don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Yes, to be a really good writer, you have to be a really good reader. But, my friends, there is some excellent TV on right now. And if you want to be a better writer, you should be watching some of it.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved space. Rockets and robots, planets and pulsars, constellations and comets. When she was eight years old, she knew she was going to work for NASA one day, and she did. And it was awesome.
Then, somewhere along the line, it stopped being so awesome. Sure, it was cool, but it wasn’t fun anymore. The magic of the cosmos got sucked out with the daily grind—it’s hard to see the stars over the piles of email in an inbox.
“When you grow up, your heart dies,” indeed.
I’ve been a writer all my life; I’ve been writing professionally for over 20 years.
I’ve written almost every kind of product you can write. Some have been my ideas, some have been written for fun, and some have been written for huge brands or senior organization officials.
There’s only one kind of writing that scares me: anything about myself.
I hate writing my own bios. Personal essays are my kryptonite. Journaling? Too introspective.
When it comes to building a brand, I can help any individual or organization find their way. But when it comes to my own brand? Well, that’s a horse of a different color.
Buckle up, campers. Together we’re going to figure out how to tell our own stories professionally.
I was a latecomer to the podcasting trend. It wasn’t until a 16-hour drive to my home state about four years ago that I really got hooked. I listened to the entire season of “Serial” and also started binge-listening to this wonderfully weird fiction podcast.
It started with the words: “A friendly desert community, where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.”
There was a dog park where dogs and people were not allowed and government agents from a vague, yet menacing government agency and angels that can’t be angels because angels don’t exist (but there are tall winged beings, and they’re all named Erika).
Because it’s so distinctive and strange, it’s a place I would know the second I stepped across the city limit. But it’s also a place I see every day in the world around me in little details.
Both those things are true because the creators of Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, have built a tangible, engaging world that is both strange and familiar.
Creating your brand is like building a fictional world. You have to invite your reader into a place that you’ve fully realized. There are characters and backstories and inside jokes—all shared with the reader.