Seattle Humor, a Freelancing Podcast, and a Lazy Easter Bunny
March 2023 monthly recs roundup
Earlier this month I attended the AWP conference in Seattle, which if you don’t already know, is a huge conference for writing programs and writers. The last time I went was in 2019 when it was in Portland.
While I always get some good info from the sessions and love meeting online writer friends IRL, the conference is so big that it can be a little overwhelming for me.
Still, I went this year because I had a panel accepted and because it was in Seattle, where I lived just after graduating from undergrad. I worked for Amazon in the early days (an experience I wrote more about in this essay in Salon), and in case you are wondering, no I am not secretly an Amazon millionaire from stock options.
When I left in 2001, my options were underwater and so I did not get to cash in on them. At the time, it was not yet apparent that Amazon would become the Walmart of the Web, and dot-coms were dropping like flies (RIP Pets.com).
It was fun to be back in a city I used to be very familiar with and have some weird random memories resurface (like that someone working late said they saw a cleaning person just dump both the recycling and the trash into the same bin and now when I put something in a recycling bin I am often like, is this really going to be recycled? Hopefully?).
In any event, one piece of advice from a panel I went to that stuck with me was that if you are feeling burnt out about your own writing, do something nice for another writer. I like the idea of spinning frustrations into something useful instead of just dwelling on them in a dark spiral (I mean, I hear that’s what some people do). So I’m going to aim to do that more.
Keep reading to learn more about what has been entertaining me this month.
Funny stuff and other distractions:
Since we are on a bit of a Seattle theme this month, I’m sharing the above post from the Seattle satire site The Needling. Also definitely going to try this next time I’m there with my kids.
TV: I started Shrinking on Apple TV and have been enjoying it so far. I have started a number of other shows looking for something funny but didn’t get beyond more than a couple of episodes for various reasons. So I’m now taking other funny show recs that aren’t going to stress me out and aren’t on HBO (because I still don’t yet have HBO. I know, I know).
Books: This month I listened to Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, which I would describe as a lighthearted suspense novel if you are looking for something along those lines. I also just finished The Guncle, which made me laugh. It also deals with some themes of grief as the plot involves a gay uncle taking care of his niece and nephew for the summer after their mother dies, so heads up if that is not what you are looking for.
Sustainable Easter ideas: I asked Twitter for some sustainable Easter basket ideas and got some good suggestions (and am honestly impressed that some people are making their own paper Easter egg grass but the Easter bunny in our house just skips the grass #LazyBunny). And on a related note, writer friend Sari Fordham has a newsletter that I always pick up some good planet-friendly tips from. Here is her most recent one.
Writing things to check out:
I’ve been getting some good info from the podcast Freelance Writing Direct about different elements of freelancing. One episode to start with is Cheryl Maguire’s episode about selling article reprints. (It was also a fun throwback to hear Cheryl and host Estelle Erasmus mention the old group Beyond Your Blog, which I was a part of and helped a lot when I was starting to freelance more.)
Recently spotted these submission guidelines for salary stories for the website Refinery29 that might be of interest.
This LitHub essay about the realities of launching a book made me laugh.
News from me:
I was happy to talk about being a funny (but not always “fun” mom) for Evil Witches.
I also contributed to this piece by Liz Alterman that has great tips for authors about asking for reviews.
And I have one closing ask — I’m thinking of doing some future newsletters on these topics:
Getting creative work done as a parent.
Managing burnout as a creative.
Do you have any tips or tricks that you might want to contribute to on either of these topics? Hit reply and let me know. I’m happy to share your tip either anonymously or with your name and a link to your newsletter/website/sandwich board/etc.
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The power of noise-canceling headphones cannot be underestimated when dealing with children and trying to get creative work done! (I mean, as long as the children are self-sufficient—better yet, age-appropriate. My kids aren't very self-sufficient. Lazy, yes. Self-sufficient, nope!)
Interacting with other people is the best treatment for creative burnout i have found so far. Writing is so isolating /solitary by nature that it’s easy to get lost in the vortex of negative self talk. As for productivity as a parent, I’ve only been a parent for 9 weeks so i guess ill let you know!