May 21·edited May 21Liked by Hattie Crisell

Above my writing desk there are a couple of shelves. A small yellow Post-it taped to the edge of the lower shelf says 'Everything happens so much.' Another Post-it contains my mantra left from the pandemic. It says 'I'm all right / right now,' which in 2020 I repeated constantly.

On the lower shelf, there's a greeting card from my wife showing a big cow licking the face of another cow. Inside it says, 'I'll love you for heifer.'

Behind the card is a small blue bowl my son made in grade school. The bowl holds two teeth from an elk my dad shot in the late1950's when I was about 11. There's small arrowhead down inside the bowl with a few shells and pebbles. A large tuft of mountain goat wool sticks out from the top of the bowl. The tuft is made up the wisps of wool I gathered from the bushes along a trail in the mountains of the Olympic National Forest.

Across the front of the lower shelf, there's a foldout of small postcards that show 'The Floating Heads' by Sophie Cave from the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. Each bald 'heed' has a different expression. I have the foldout there in front of my own face to remind me that there is more than just one expression, one emotion.

Near the foldout there's a heart shaped frame with small pictures of my adult son and daughter from the time when they were babies. There are also log cabin, tepee, and totem pole, childhood souvenirs of mine. The log cabin is from the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield Illinois. The totem pole is from a souvenir store on the Makah Reservation near Neah Bay. The tepee holds several small fossils with leaf imprints that I found in a creek near where I once lived.

The top shelf holds a clock my daughter made in middle school wood shop and a wood carving my son brought back from Thailand that bestows good fortune.

To the left of my desk, a west-facing window looks out on a gravel path to the garden and in the background I can see Bellingham Bay with a view of Hale Passage and the San Juan Islands.

I write a substack called “Pieces” https://ckyle.substack.com/. I haven’t posted since March, but once the rainy season arrives again, I plan to write about two books. The first book is a compilation of essays entitled ‘Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden.’ The second book is by Carletta Carrington Wilson and is entitled ‘Poem of Stone & Bone: The Iconography of James W. Washington Jr. in Fourteen Stanzas and Thirty-One Days.’

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May 3Liked by Hattie Crisell

Hi Hattie and everyone. I've thoroughly enjoyed the podcasts - usually on headphones while walking to my local Greggs for a Belgian bun... I live in south-east London, and have published three non-fiction books on cycling, a novel, and I have a biography of a Tour de France winner coming out in May '24 with Quercus. But fiction is my first love, and I still don't really feel I've really nailed a novel (does anyone?). Today I handed the biog in to my editor, so I have a blank page - literal and figurative - ahead of me, to get stuck into a novel idea that has been circling my brain for about 3 years. So all tips, thoughts, hacks, moral support gratefully absorbed...

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Hello Hattie and writers! I'm a lapsed songwriter and journal writer looking to take some time off hauling boulders around my off grid property in Arizona to rest my body and feed my mind. I've been a free subscriber to In Writing for about a year now and upgraded to paid to get in on that writers hour. I need a little accountability and thought it would be fun to just sit with other writers from around the globe and think together. I used to do a writers group in Hollywood every week for a couple years and the camaraderie and friendships formed there are cherished to this day. Also my writing improved A LOT. So looking forward to the next one. Maybe I'll see you there! XXSM

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Apr 9Liked by Hattie Crisell

Hi. I have just discovered you. I have been told most of my life that I should write, that I am a good writer. My English comp 101 professor said I had “spontaneous overflow”. And she did not seem to say it in a way that was complimentary. :). I journal. Sometimes. Mostly when struggling. I took an online writing class a few months ago and while I had a good start, an injury kept me from participating in the third of four sessions and the last session was to read what we’d written. Class ended, and I’ve not taken the time to continue. I enjoy writing with pen/paper (journal) but my thoughts are more easily expressed when my fingers are flying over my iPad keyboard. I have struggled with what subject I would want to write about, if I did indeed write. Seems like family stories are the most likely. I love personal history and stories and tell them often to people who will listen. Most of the time I am sitting on my couch with my legs curled up. My geriatric pup curled up next to me. And always a chance of interruption from sweet neighbors. So that is pretty much where I am with writing. I’m looking forward to exploring your work here. (And now you can see what that English professor was referring to with: spontaneous overflow. :)

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Apr 5Liked by Hattie Crisell

Hi Hattie!

Love your pods and newsletters :) I'm a writer living in London (born in Paris and came to UK when I was 5yrs old). Am a freelance features writer and have had short stories published too though would love to complete a novel - complete being the key word!!

When it's warm and sunny I will sometimes write at a table outside the library café near my house feeling very much the main character with my coffee, headphones in and a nice dress on. Most of the time, however, I write features/ fiction on the floor of my kids' room against the radiator dressed in fleece joggers as it is the warmest, brightest spot in the house. I try not to write in bed but let's face it, we are all writing in bed...!

Yas x

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Hi Hattie! Thank you for the space to introduce ourselves. My writing CV is not that impressive but I have somehow managed to make a living all my life with a degree in English! I’ve been a journalist for small papers, newsmagazines, and a ghost opinion writer. I’ve blogged on and off for years. I started a Substack to chronicle our move from Montana to Portugal. I have a novel that has not been published and a bunch of ideas for creative projects. I love memoir and essays. Writing is my happy place. https://janelleholden.substack.com.

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Hi there - I am an Australian writer and academic living on Turrbal / Jagera country in what is also known as Brisbane, Australia. I currently write Angle of Arrival - my e-newsletter about what happens when women write, read, wander and wonder in the world. It's a way to try to make sense of the research I do, with the need to be moving in the world as a method of thinking and understanding. We are currently living through in a major heat-wave here, so the time outside is being kept to a minimum! You can check out my work and subscribe here: https://angleofarrival.substack.com/

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Mar 6·edited Mar 6Liked by Hattie Crisell

Thank you, Hattie.

I am a recovering TV showrunner. I created and executive-produced the HBO series CARNIVÀLE and Nickelodeon’s THE ASTRONAUTS. I’ve served as a writer-producer or showrunner on a number of popular series, including SPARTACUS BLOOD AND SAND, SUPERNATURAL, NBC’s DRACULA and THE BLACKLIST.

Currently, I am utterly devoted to my original Substack serial, GINGERLAND, a Christmas fantasy inspired by the work of Raold Dahl, CS Lewis and other masters. You can check it out and subscribe here: https://open.substack.com/pub/gingerland/p/the-innocence-project?r=2091rm&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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Hey ya'll. I'm in Oklahoma. I've written seven novels and lots of other writing (I used to be a singer/songwriter). But I've been working with "WriteWay" with my scifi novel that I'm going to pitch to an agent in about a week with the help of Joe Tower. It's been a long road getting here and this year has had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But I've survived and am still doing what I love - writing. I can actually write anywhere (with my earbuds) but my favorite place is to curl up in my cozy bed and write. I love acting, singing, reading, fishing, gardening, and loving my spouse. I've used a few different names in my writing, some legally, some pseudonyms, but all of my future writing will be under Williams. Wish me luck on my agent search.

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Heya! My name’s Christian and I grew up in Tiny Township, which is a real place in Ontario, Canada. Currently, live in Berlin. I studied journalism in Toronto and have been essentially writing for others ever since.

You know how there's this lingering, urgent, essential thing you need to do while you're doing all these other things? That's what writing in my own voice was for me. My newsletter, lol/sos (https://lolsos.substack.com), is that essential thing brought to life.

I've described love as when you mourn someone while they're still alive. I've described someone in a story as a "left-handed sketch of Vin Diesel. For different reasons, both descriptions have left readers in tears. I love feedback like this, but I'd still be writing if my audience were nothing but the void.

Thank you, Hattie, for all the great insights you put out there. Your enthusiasm for writing is invaluable.

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Mar 1Liked by Hattie Crisell

Hi, my name is Liberty and I have a been a life-long avid reader, a trait inherited from my Mum. I am from the Peak District but now live in Highgate... and yes I get the irony of becoming a writer as soon as I moved to the leafy N6 postcode.

In a period of illness last year, in some strange nytol-fuelled crazed dreams, I came up with the idea for a book. I started writing ("just to see", "as a joke"...) and I haven't stopped since. I'm on 90,000 words and just wrapping up my first draft. I have also started my second book, but will continue properly with that once the first is done.

I have enjoyed doing something creative just for me. Writing has made me a more patient reader. I don't think I will ever stop and who knows what the end goal is. For now I am just enjoying seeing how the pages pan out.

Thanks for doing what you do! xx

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Hi! I am Laura. I am a copywriter by day writer by night from Romania.

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Hi Hattie, I started listening to your podcast during the lockdowns and immediately got hooked. As I'm myself a writer it's been a huge support whenever I got stuck or needed inspiration or to just vent and think: yes been there! About me, my second book of essays just came out this week on Valentine's Day, it's called Things I Have Loved – A collection (sort of) and I've been writing on substack for almost 3 years now. I've been particular into non-fiction/essay/memoir hybrid books for the past couple of years somehow they just speak more to me. Currently I'm wondering if I'll ever read a novel again. Hopefully. Have a lovely day, Sophia x

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Hi there, I'm Ben. I've been a musician and songwriter for most of my life and I started writing fiction about 15 years ago. I've written three novels with a fourth in the works. I've always been drawn to creative expression for the promise of connection. It starts in connecting with ourselves-- tuning into a frequency to uncover something we can bring into the world and then extending that connection into the world when we share it with others.

I started a Substack about two months ago and it was the first step in a major life change for me. I've spent the last 25 years in a straight job so I could be home to feed my kids, pay for braces, and college. Though I was always producing, my art, by necessity, took a backseat. At 52, I'm flipping the script which is terrifying some days, but liberating for most. You can see some of the experiments I've been up to here: https://www.catchrelease.net/

I look forward to getting to know the folks in this community.

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Hi, I too am a serial forgetter of plots. Some of the books, which I claim as ‘favourites’, are completely lost to me in terms of what happened in them.

I’m re-reading Notes to Self by Emilie Pine and it’s as though my eyes have never grazed the pages before!

I’m really interested in your question about optimal length for Substack posts. I think yours are always a perfect length @Hattie. I’m not a fan of really long posts online, although I love to read long features in newspapers and magazines but adore short chapters in books. Just no pleasing me..

I read an article which suggested the sweet spot length for old-school blogs is around 2,000 words (with SEO to be considered) — not sure how many reading minutes that is 🤔

My current target is around 600-800 for my posts, although I do sometimes get giddy and veer off into longer.

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Hi. I’m Keris. I’ve been a published author for about 12 years but lost my mojo over the last few thanks to divorce, the pandemic, a bad publishing experience and moving house (but we moved to the seaside and it’s a joy). Finally writing again on a bunch of different fiction and non fiction projects, including a Substack about women and money (spoiler: I still don’t have any). I recently listened to and loved your conversation with James Acaster. I love hearing how different kinds of writers work.

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