Episode 7: Dark Forest - Jessica Abel
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Answer these 10 quick questions to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able to take control of your creative work.

Episode 7: Dark Forest

The Dark Forest is where we go when we’re deep in the writing process and lose our way. Overwhelming feelings of self-doubt, confusion, and inadequacy threaten to halt our stories’ progress. Sometimes, we forget why we started on the path in the first place. Luckily, many people have been here before, and they can help us find a way out. This week, we get very lost, and find our way back out again, thanks to Jad Abumrad, Jay Allison, Ira Glass, and more. Plus an interview with Kazu Kibuishi, creator of the graphic novel series Amulet.

Listen to the show:

 


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If you’re looking for a written version of this episode, you can find our transcript here.

Let’s make great stories.

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Check out the Out on the Wire Bonus Pack. Featuring all of the new interviews we conducted for the show, plus our soundtrack music by Matt Madden. It’s ten bucks (or more, if you’re feeling generous.) It’s a great way to spend more time with our fabulous guests and support the show.

Includes full length interviews with:

Stephanie Foo (This American Life)

Jonathan Mitchell (The Truth podcast)

Larissa MacFarquahar (The New Yorker)

Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet)

Our edit with Robert Smith and Jess Jiang (Planet Money)

Rob Rosenthal (the Transom Workshop, How Sound)

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Find us elsewhere on the internet

I’m on Twitter @jccabel, Producer Benjamin is @BenjaminFrisch.

Besides our Soundcloud, we’re on Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest. We’ll be sharing some goodies and answering your questions—see you there!

Take a look around my website. Check out the great comics on Ben’s website. Find out more about experimental comics on Matt’s blog.

Out on the Wire Bonus Pack

Check out the Out on the Wire Bonus Pack. Featuring all of the new interviews we conducted for the show, plus our soundtrack music by Matt Madden. It’s ten bucks (or more, if you’re feeling generous.) It’s a great way to spend more time with our fabulous guests and support the show.

Includes full length interviews with:

Stephanie Foo (This American Life)

Jonathan Mitchell (The Truth podcast)

Larissa MacFarquahar (The New Yorker)

Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet)

Our edit with Robert Smith and Jess Jiang (Planet Money)

Rob Rosenthal (the Transom Workshop, How Sound)

Get the Bonus Pack

Get the book

Discover the nitty-gritty of how shows like This American Life, Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Planet Money, the Moth Radio Hour, Radio Diaries, and 99% Invisible weave their magic spell in Out on the Wire.

Links

Your challenge:

Collaborate. I know I told you to do this last time, but I’m betting you didn’t do it. 

So now, I’m keeping it simple: Hold a Focus Session. Find someone to sit down with you for half an hour, and explain to them what you’re working on, and where you’re stuck. They don’t need to be experts on your subject or your medium. You just want their honest feedback and their honest questions.

Record your conversation. If you have a smartphone, it will have a recorder built in. If not, you can get a cheap digital voice recorder. It’ll be worth having.

After your Focus Session, I want you to post a quick debrief of what you learned.

If you want to find someone to work with who is more attuned with your goals, find a local or online writers’ group and ask for volunteers, then meet at a cafe or do a Google Hangout or Skype conversation with them. But make sure you’re talking out loud, not exchanging email. The talking part is the magic.

And of course, if you’re in the Out on the Wire Working Group, you’ve got a tested field of possible collaborators. Just reach out to someone whose work you like and see if you can find a time.

I know this will make you feel vulnerable. It’s scary to admit you are stuck. It’s scary to ask something of someone. But I think you’ll find that it’s all worth it. And very likely your collaborator will too. Just make sure you pick up the tab for the coffee.

If, on the other hand, you’re struggling to even get your creative work off the ground, I’ve been writing a lot about creative project management on my blog, including designing some activities you can try.

Next time on Out on the Wire

Episode 8: Your Baby’s Ugly in which we explore the agony and the ecstasy of the edit process, as we are forced to kill a few babies of our own.

Answer these 10 quick questions
to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able
to take control of your creative work.