Listen: A Truckload of Good Sense About Writing

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals was out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post. 

Today is Tuesday which means a tiny post. Now last Tuesday’s tiny post ran to 800 words and we’re just  not having that this week because I’m trying to take things a bit easier. And so I’m just going to direct you elsewhere which won’t take up too many words. Let’s hope.

I mentioned this in my video blog, but I am obsessed with The Bestseller Experiment. It’s a podcast by two Marks – Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux. One of them is a dream coach and one of them works in publishing and can’t say ‘dream coach’ with a straight face. They’ve set themselves a goal: they want to write and publish a bestselling book in just 52 weeks.

Now when I first heard this, I had no intention of tuning in. I thought it was going to a be cynical thing, like those ‘I self-published last weekend and I sold 2 copies’ articles that keep springing up in the online sections of broadsheet newspapers back when self-publishing fever was at its height. But here’s the thing: it’s not like that at ALL. It’s actually great. And useful. And fascinating. And their guest list is amazing. Michael Connelly, Joanne Harris, Bryan Cranston, Michelle Paver and Maria Semple, to name just a few.


But I want you to listen to one episode in particular: Episode 14, which features an interview with author John Connolly. Lads, I have never heard so much sense spoken about writing in my life. Practical advice, zero notions, refreshing honesty. Honestly, listening to it was like a minty mouthwash to the soul. I was walking through Dublin city centre with my headphones in, nodding away to everything he said. (And although he says he doesn’t do workshops and seminars and things because he’s not into them, I am willing to start a petition to get him to write his own On Writing style book. Because we need it, and it would be amazing.)

I am rationing this podcast for myself, so I’ve only listened up to 14 thus far. All the other episodes are worth listening to as well, of course; ideally you would start at the beginning and work your way through. But if you’re not convinced, or you only have time to listen to one right now, start with that. Toodles!


Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!

7 thoughts on “Listen: A Truckload of Good Sense About Writing

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      That really hit home with me too! There was major nodding on that point. And even after writing Distress Signals, I was about 30k into Book 2 and I was thinking, hmm, I’m much rather be writing my Book 3 idea but it’s just a delusion, because if I had switched I’d be thinking the same thing at 30k of that. That’s why you have to get used to finishing things, to be able to push through that and know that it’s just the creative sprites playing tricks with you, trying to tempt you away from THE END.

  1. Patti Welsh says:

    I came across your blog via Instagram and love your posts! Podcasts are my current obsession and I’m always looking for new ones. This one is awesome – Bryan Cranston? John Connolly? Where has it been hiding? Anyway, thanks for sharing links, books about writing, and whatnot! Look forward to reading more…

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