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Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick Episode 005: Become a Better Writer Faster

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.

It’s empathy.

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.

Get Twenty Minutes of Extra Content!

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!

You can get early access to the unedited edition of every episode of Sonitotum for as little as $1.00 month, the free Sonitotom theme song (“Anastasia”), and whole lot of other stuff. Click here to learn more about become a patron of Sonitotum and my other creative endeavors.

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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!

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!

Published inPodcastsSonitotum


  1. Harold Harold

    Hey Matthew, been listening since you began podcasting again a month or so ago. So far I’ve been listening as I go for a walk with one or more of my dogs, and your recordings provide me with substance not to be found on the radio dial I sometimes succumb to… I’ve found every episode resonates in a variety of ways.

    For example, empathy (a topic of this latest episode). Without it, what would a writer write about? Do sociopaths make good writers? I doubt it… A person without empathy may be able to fake her way through an essay, but a story with truly believable characters requires a deep understanding of how a person feels, of what drives his behavior… The writer who fails at empathy may as well resign himself to writing “stories” for the sides of cereal boxes.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to produce these for those of us out here yearning for substance, for truth, for authenticity. (Speaking of which, don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re feeling challenged by your own self-imposed drive toward authenticity. Try not to burn yourself out “keeping it real”. )

    • Matthew Wayne Selznick Matthew Wayne Selznick

      Aw, Harold, thank you so much for this. Means a lot.

      I’m working hard to avoid the ol’ devil burn out — balance and harmony in all the things, ideally! Knowing that folks are appreciating some of the ways I’m trying to serve… that certainly helps. A comment like yours adds a whole big ton of soul coal to the engine. Thanks again, sir.

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The Sovereign Era, The Shaper's World, Daikaiju Universe, Protector Universe, Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights, How It All Got Started, Thing, Carson Meunetti, Lina Porter, Alex Kent, Crystal Dubois, Abbeque Valley, Dana Cove, Pinnacle Records, Hagar's and related characters, institutions, situations, and representative depictions in media are trade marks of Matthew Wayne Selznick.
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