A call for writing advice led me to seriously consider the best “shortcut” I know to become a better writer. It’s not a book. It’s not “butt in chair” or “writers write.”
And it’s not a shortcut.
But if you’re just starting out as any kind of storyteller, cultivating this skill will shave years of effort from your writing practice… and maybe even make you a better human being in the process.
Listen to find out the how and the why… then come on back here and leave a comment to tell me what you think!
Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
Here are some of the things I talk about in this episode. Many of these links are to products and services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase those products and services through my links.
- The beginning of this episode suffered from a lot of background noise that I think I scrubbed out of the audio you hear. The cause? Turns out my window was open. Urk.
- This episode kicks off with my monthly transparency report detailing my revenue and social reach in the month of May, 2018.
- Listen to episode two of Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick, “State of the Start.”
- Subscribe to be part of my mailing list community of friends and fans, and / or to get every Scribtotum article and Sonitotum episode in your email inbox.
- My social media hubs on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- The books I mention as focusing on writing theory over craft:
- “I am large, I contain multitudes” comes from Walt Whitman’s classic poem Song of Myself.
- “Get To Know Your Worst Self,” my Scribtotum article featuring an exercise to write better antagonists.
- I have not-kind things to say about Pacific Rim... but you can still learn about storytelling from the movie!
- Brené Brown explains the difference between empathy and sympathy in a talk from The RSA that’s been adapted into an adorable cartoon.
- “The unexamined life is not worth living” was purportedly spoken by Socrates at his trial, as described by Plato in The Apology of Socrates.
- Sam Raimi created a fun, silly, Hercules TV series starring Kevin Sorbo… and it was light as air, and each episode blew out of one’s awareness just as soon as it was over.
- You know who Han Solo is.
- Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started” is my ongoing serial fiction project available exclusively to my patrons. Read the first three installments and then get the rest for as little as $1.00 per month!
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My patrons get exclusive, early access to the uncut / unexpurgated version of Sonitotum a few days before it goes out to the rest of the world. Their version of this episode has over twenty extra minutes of content and context on empathy as a key to being a better writer… that’s about 55% more show!
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Making the Episode
This episode took six and a half hours to record, edit, and produce the two different editions of the show, and to prepare and write these show notes and accompanying graphical assets.
Equipment and Software
For those who are interested (folks sometimes ask), here’s what I used (and use) to make this episode. I have affiliate arrangements with some of these products and services. If you make a purchase when you click through using my links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a great way to help support the podcast… so thank you!
- Aurycle a460 large diaphragm studio condenser microphone
- Zoom R16 Recorder:Interface:Controller (digital multitrack recorder)
- Akai Professional MPD218 (MIDI drum pad controller for performing drum parts of “Anastasia”)
- Sennheiser HD 202 headphones
- Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio (digital audio workstation / music creation software — used when recording and producing “Anastasia”)
- Adobe Audition CC (digital audio workstation for recording, editing, and producing audio — used to mix and produce the podcast)
- Zencast.fm (podcast media file hosting and distribution service)
What Do You Think?
So what do you think? Is empathy over-rated as an important skill for writers and other storytellers? How do you use empathy when you’re writing? Do you even empathize..? Let’s hear from you in the comments!