The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, And Neuroscience


Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Man's War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.


  • How to Hyperfocus with Productivity Expert Chris Bailey

    How to 'Hyperfocus' with Productivity Expert Chris Bailey

    23/09/2020 Duración: 40min

    #PodcastersForJustice The internationally bestselling author of The Productivity Project and Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey, took the time to chat with me about tricks for focusing on what matters most, and how writers can cultivate more calm and creativity through uncertain times. "Tolkien said, 'Not all those who wander are lost.' I would argue that the exact same thing is true for our attention." — Chris Bailey Fresh out of college Chris took a full year off to study productivity. He posted his experiments to his popular blog, A Life of Productivity, which went on to become the international bestseller, The Productivity Project. His latest book is Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction, "A practical guide to managing your attention--the most powerful resource you have to get stuff done, [and be] more creative." Chris’s TEDx talk – How to Get Your Brain to Focus – on the subject of Hyperfocus has received over 5.4 million views. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done said of th

  • How NY Times Bestselling Thriller Author Shari Lapena Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Thriller Author Shari Lapena Writes

    14/09/2020 Duración: 24min

    #PodcastersForJustice The internationally bestselling author of "domestic suspense" thrillers, Shari Lapena, took a few minutes to chat with me about her circuitous path to success, how she subverts the idea of the perfect "white picket fence" family, and her unique process as a novelist. "I always just start with an idea and write chronologically all the way through to the end. I don't have a plan, but as I go along, ideas present's all very organic" — Shari Lapena She's the author of popular "suburban paranoia" thrillers – including The Couple Next Door and Someone We Know – and multiple New York Times and The Sunday Times (London) bestsellers. The Couple Next Door was an international breakout and New York Times bestseller for an astounding 23 consecutive weeks. Her books have been sold in 37 countries and sold more than seven million copies worldwide. Her latest is The End of Her, a book that "... will have readers questioning their spouse’s past and their own judgment as well." #1 NY

  • How Bestselling Hugo-Nominated Author Robert Jackson Bennett Writes

    How Bestselling Hugo-Nominated Author Robert Jackson Bennett Writes

    07/09/2020 Duración: 45min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning speculative fiction and fantasy novelist, Robert Jackson Bennett, chatted with me about turning genre conventions upside down, how he incorporates critiques on modern society into his writing, and why truth is stranger than fiction. He's the Hugo-nominated author of a handful of critically acclaimed novels including The Divine Cities trilogy and The Founders Trilogy. He has received the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Phillip K. Dick Citation of Excellence, and he has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Locus Awards. Bennett posited the idea of "industrialized magic" in book one of his Founders Trilogy, Foundryside (a Time, Paste, Vulture, and The Verge “Best Fantasy Books of 2018” pick). His second installment in that series is Shorefall, which Kirkus Review called, "Tolkien meets AI .... neatly blending technology, philosophy, and fantasy ... An expertly spun yarn by one of the best fantasy writers on the scene today." Please help

  • How the Screenwriter of Netflixs Project Power Mattson Tomlin Writes

    How the Screenwriter of Netflix's 'Project Power' Mattson Tomlin Writes

    18/08/2020 Duración: 31min

    #PodcastersForJustice In-demand screenwriter and director, Mattson Tomlin, took a minute to rap with me about debuting a film during a pandemic, what it takes to break into Hollywood, and how he was brought on to co-write The Batman with Matt Reeves. "Every script is an opportunity to change your life. Every script is an investment in yourself."—Mattson Tomlin Mattson rose to prominence in 2017 after a bidding war for his original screenplay that became the Netflix film, Project Power, starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and breakout Dominique Fishback. Hollywood Reporter describes the film as an "... action-packed tale that tackles themes [like] government control and the exploitation of marginalized communities." Tomlin recently gained attention for being brought on board to co-write The Batman with Matt Reeves; the reboot will star Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, and Jeffrey Wright among others. He is writing a film adaption of the video game character Mega Man for 20th Century Studios and sold a

  • How Award-Winning Crime Novelist S. A. Cosby Writes

    How Award-Winning Crime Novelist S. A. Cosby Writes

    11/08/2020 Duración: 40min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning, neo-noir novelist and short story writer, S. A. Cosby, took time to speak with me about his pulp fiction influences, the hard work that went into his 10-year overnight success, and the cinematic timbre of his writing voice. "Writing is like telling yourself a joke for nine months ... and hoping that everybody else gets the punchline."—S. A. Cosby S.A. Cosby's short story, "The Grass Beneath My Feet," won an Anthony Award for Best Short Story, 2019, and his short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. His latest, Blacktop Wasteland, is a reinvention of the noir genre described as "...Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist ... [the] story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime.” Already an Amazon bestseller, the book has received extraordinary trade coverage -- starred reviews, a cover with ALA Booklist, an interview at Publishers Weekly -- and has a bevy of early supporters including legends o

  • How Bestselling Legal Thriller Author Marcia Clark Writes

    How Bestselling Legal Thriller Author Marcia Clark Writes

    04/08/2020 Duración: 41min

    #PodcastersForJustice #1 NY Times bestselling author and famed criminal lawyer, Marcia Clark, dropped by to chat about the perils of celebrity, how she got her start as a TV producer, and the highs and lows of the writing process. *This is another double-episode, with a surprise (12-year-old) debut author you won't want to miss. "It's no big surprise that Marcia Clark knows her way around a courtroom and a murder mystery—but she's also a terrific writer and storyteller."—James Patterson Marcia has been a practicing criminal lawyer since 1979 – she joined the LA District Attorney's office in '81 – and served as a prosecutor for the high-profile trials of Robert Bardo (convicted of killing actress Rebecca Schaeffer), and most notably, O. J. Simpson. She co-wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller Without a Doubt, which chronicled her work on the Simpson trial. Marcia writes the bestselling crime fiction series centered on a morally ambiguous criminal defense attorney, Samantha Brinkman. Her latest is the concl

  • The State of Travel Writing Roundtable with Award-Winning Journalist Adam Skolnick

    The 'State of Travel Writing' Roundtable with Award-Winning Journalist Adam Skolnick

    22/07/2020 Duración: 01h17min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning international journalist, author, and serial pundit, Adam Skolnick, co-hosted our pandemic edition "state of travel writing" roundtable with several like-minded travel junkies. Adam is an award-winning independent journalist and author covering adventure sports, environmental issues, travel, and human rights for The New York Times, Outside, Playboy, and many others. He recently began a co-hosting gig on The Rich Roll Podcast. He’s traveled to over 50 countries, worked on six continents, and contributed to over 35 Lonely Planet travel guides. He is also the author of One Breath: Freediving, Death and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits, and was the ghostwriter and narrator of David Goggins’ hit memoir and audiobook Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, which has sold over two million copies and counting worldwide. MaSovaida Morgan is a travel journalist whose wayfaring tendencies have taken her to more than 50 countries across all seven continents. As a Lonely Pl

  • How Emmy-Winning Showrunner of The Handmaid’s Tale Bruce Miller Writes

    How Emmy-Winning Showrunner of 'The Handmaid’s Tale' Bruce Miller Writes

    30/06/2020 Duración: 39min

    #PodcastersForJustice The creator, executive producer, and showrunner of the award-winning TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, Bruce Miller, spoke with me about his storied career as a TV writer/producer, what it's like to work with author Margaret Atwood, and adapting a modern classic for the small screen. The Emmy award-winning TV writer and producer has worked on dozens of shows and movies (including Medium, Eureka, Alphas, and The 100), and got his start working on NBC's long-running hit ER in the early '90s. Miller's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's prescient, critically acclaimed 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale – considered by many to be a modern classic of dystopian literature – is a drama about a "... totalitarian society [that] subjects fertile women, called 'Handmaids,' into child-bearing slavery." In its first season, the show won multiple Emmy awards – including Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for Miller – and became the first on a streaming platform to win an Emmy for Outstanding Series (beatin

  • How Its Always Sunny... and Mythic Quest Co-Creator and Star Rob McElhenney Writes

    How 'It's Always Sunny...' and 'Mythic Quest' Co-Creator and Star Rob McElhenney Writes

    12/06/2020 Duración: 35min

    #PodcastersForJustice The writer, producer, and actor – best known for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and recent hit Apple TV+ show Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet – Rob McElhenney took a timeout at the apocalypse to rap with me about how he runs his writer's room, his humble beginnings and admiration for the great TV comedies, and advice for aspiring TV producers. "Everyone is going through the same things. At least, people that respect science are. That sense of loneliness and despair ... needs to be addressed in some way, but ultimately we want to leave people with a sense of optimism." – Rob McElhenney FX recently renewed his irreverent "It’s Always Sunny..." for a 15th season, making it officially the longest-running live-action sitcom in US history. The multihyphenate's latest, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, is a comedy series "...that follows a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game," The Apple TV+ show was co-created with "Sunny" alums Charlie D

  • How Bestselling Novelist Aris Janigian Writes

    How Bestselling Novelist Aris Janigian Writes

    02/06/2020 Duración: 51min

    #PodcastersForJustice The bestselling, award-winning novelist, Aris Janigian, had a candid conversation with me about the recently "mandated dystopia," his circuitous path to bestselling author, the city as muse, and what it means to be a transgressive writer. “As a cognitive social psychologist, I can tell you without any hesitation that the human mind really is built for deception.” – Aris Janigian The author of six novels (all without traditional representation), critics hailed his 2012 novel This Angelic Land – set during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots – as "today's necessary book," and his novel Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont, spent 17 weeks on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list. Janigian holds a PhD in psychology from the Claremont Graduate School and was formerly Senior Professor of Humanities at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He was a finalist for Stanford University's William Saroyan Fiction Prize and has been a contributing writer to West, the Los Angeles Times Sunday

  • How to Write Commercial Fiction with NY Times Bestselling Author Jeffery Deaver

    How to Write Commercial Fiction with NY Times Bestselling Author Jeffery Deaver

    27/05/2020 Duración: 31min

    The internationally bestselling author of over 35 novels, Jeffery Deaver, took a few minutes to discuss his advice on how to write emotionally engaging fiction, the merits of plotters vs. pantsers, and a 5-step process for writing your novel. "Rejection is just a speed bump ... it's not a brick wall. Keep at it." – Jeffery Deaver Jeffery is a former journalist, musician, and attorney best know for his Lincoln Rhyme series – now a hit NBC TV show – and the novel, The Bone Collector, adapted for the big screen starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. The "master of suspense" has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards and gone on to sell 50 million books worldwide, translated into 35 languages. His latest thriller is a sequel to The Never Game – The Goodbye Man (A Colter Shaw Novel Book 2) – and once again features Colter Shaw, a rugged survivalist and "reward-seeker." One of Bookpage's "Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers" of 2020, Publishers Weekly said of the book, “Deaver balances suspense and p

  • Productivity Secrets from NY Times Bestselling Author John Zeratsky

    Productivity Secrets from NY Times Bestselling Author John Zeratsky

    21/05/2020 Duración: 46min

    New York Times bestselling author and productivity expert, John Zeratsky, made time to chat with me about his mission to help you improve your focus, find greater meaning in your work, and get more out of each day. “All of the old structures and routines are gone.... When we have a schedule for ourselves ... that becomes scaffolding we can stand on, we're free to focus.” — John Zeratsky John studied journalism in college and has spent over 15 years as a designer for tech companies like YouTube and Google. He was also Google Ventures's in-house copywriter, editor, and content strategist. At Google Ventures, he helped develop the design sprint process and worked with close to 200 startups, including Uber, Slack, 23andMe, and Nest. As a result he co-authored the bestseller Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days – written with fellow "Time Dork" Jake Knapp. But they're by no means run-of-the-mill productivity experts, as you'll soon hear. Their latest collaboration is Make Time:

  • How NY Times Bestselling Author James Swallow Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Author James Swallow Writes

    14/05/2020 Duración: 50min

    Award-winning New York Times, Sunday Times, and Amazon #1 bestselling author, James Swallow, spoke with me about his superhero origin story, how he found success channeling his own anger, and the most important lessons he's learned along the way. "I try to make the details as authentic as I possibly can ... because a lot of the action in my books is 'heightened reality.'" – James Swallow James is a former journalist and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominated scriptwriter who has written for video games, TV, and radio. The prolific author of over 50 books – who has written sci-fi for storied franchises including Star Trek, Dr. Who, and Stargate – is best known for his espionage thrillers. His Marc Dane series – with over 750,000 books in print worldwide – includes novels Nomad, Exile, Ghost, Shadow, and his forthcoming novel Rogue, the fifth in the bestselling series featuring "Britain's answer to Jason Bourne," out May 28th (from Zaffre Books). Please help us learn more about you by

  • How to Publish Your First Novel with Acclaimed Author Abbigail N. Rosewood

    How to Publish Your First Novel with Acclaimed Author Abbigail N. Rosewood

    06/05/2020 Duración: 36min

    Award-winning writer and debut novelist, Abbigail N. Rosewood, joined me to discuss the roller coaster of emotions first-time authors face, how she overcame rejection and uncertainty, and her advice to aspiring scribes on how to rise above the noise. "Seeking representation didn't prepare me well for what was to come..." – Abbigail N. Rosewood Abbigail was born in Vietnam and lived there until the age of 12, so it's no surprise that she tapped into her past as a well for her fiction. After a false start in International Business, she earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University where she studied with famed fictionist Gary Shteyngart. Her lauded debut novel, If I Had Two Lives, has been described as "... [The] story [of] a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and the necessary return to her homeland." The Los Angeles Review of Books called it, “... a tale of staggering artistry,” and The New Yorker said "...the novel poignantly conjures t

  • Earth Day Special with Editor-in-Chief Simmons Buntin

    Earth Day Special with Editor-in-Chief Simmons Buntin

    22/04/2020 Duración: 35min

    Editor-in-Chief of, Simmons Buntin, helped me celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by discussing why we need strong writing voices now more than ever, how to deal with the current "infodemic" of misinformation, and resources for starting your own revolution. “The voices in this essential anthology are anything but silent. Indeed, they are voices of hope, habitat, defiance, and, most importantly, democracy. Lend your ears, and then your own voice.” — Simmons Buntin Simmons has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the CU, Denver, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, so it's no surprise that he found the intersection of "... the built and natural environments [something he calls] 'the soul of place'." As the editor-in-chief of, a nonprofit literary magazine that explores just that, he publishes works that examine how our environment influences us in profound ways. He's also the co-editor of a new collection titled Dear America: Letters

  • The Legacy of Robert Ludlum with Author Joshua Hood

    The Legacy of Robert Ludlum with Author Joshua Hood

    16/04/2020 Duración: 27min

    Military thriller author, Joshua Hood, stopped by the podcast to talk with me about being given the keys to the Bentley of Robert Ludlum's storied writing legacy, the military toughness that's written into his own stories, and how impostor syndrome doesn't phase him. "In my career, I've had almost every bad thing that could happen to a writer ... happen to a writer." – Joshua Hood Joshua was an English major at the University of Memphis before joining the military where he spent five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. As a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq (2005-2006), the author conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan (2007-2008) and he was decorated for valor in Operation Furious Pursuit. Hood is also a decorated "life-saving" sniper team leader who was on a full-time SWAT team in Memphis, Tennessee, and he has conducted countless stateside operations with t

  • How Editor-in-Chief of the LA Review of Books Tom Lutz Writes

    How Editor-in-Chief of the LA Review of Books Tom Lutz Writes

    02/04/2020 Duración: 47min

    Award-winning author, founder and editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tom Lutz, took a timeout to talk with me about his early years as a literary ne'er-do-well, what it's like to hang out with your heroes, and why you can assume every writer is faking it just a little bit. "Writing has never felt like a chore to me. It always feels like the space of freedom, and that I'm stealing the time from my job to do something I love." – Tom Lutz In addition to editing the Los Angeles Review of Books, "... a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating ... engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts," Tom also founded The LARB Radio Hour, The LARB Quarterly Journal, The LARB/USC Publishing Workshop, and LARB Books. He's a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, and the author of multiple bestselling and award-winning nonfiction titles – translated into dozens of languages – including Doing Nothing (American Book Award winner), Crying,

  • How NY Times Bestselling True Survival Author Michael Tougias Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling True Survival Author Michael Tougias Writes

    25/03/2020 Duración: 42min

    New York Times bestselling creative nonfiction author, Michael Tougias, joined me to talk about how he translated his success in the true survival genre for younger audiences, his unique research processes, and how he captures the "... heroism and humanity of people on life-saving missions..." during maritime disasters. "You've interviewed these people that have lost loved ones ... They're counting on you to tell the story right, and ... as an author you really do feel that pressure." – Michael Tougias Michael has written or co-written 29 books in a multitude of genres, including history, and humor, but found the most success with his popular true survival, creative nonfiction. He's the author of the bestseller The Finest Hours (now a motion picture from Disney starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck), and Ten Hours Until Dawn (named an Editor's Choice by ALA and praised by Booklist as "the best story of peril at sea since The Perfect Storm"). With his latest "True Rescue Series" – adapted from his popular d

  • How Emmy Nominated TV Writer Sandy Fries Writes

    How Emmy Nominated TV Writer Sandy Fries Writes

    18/03/2020 Duración: 51min

    The Emmy-nominated TV writer and professor, Sandy Fries, joined me this week to talk about the lessons he learned over his storied, 20-year career in Hollywood, and how he wrote hundreds of popular TV episodes, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, NBC’s Quantum Leap, and Spider-Man: The Animated [TV] Series. "We all have cracks, the sun shines through those cracks, and through those cracks is how one human being connects to another." – Sandy Fries Sandy has rubbed elbows with an incredible assortment of media moguls including Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons – who gave Sandy his first break – Marvel's Stan Lee, Star Trek's Gene Rodenberry, and Chuck Lorre of The Big Bang Theory fame. He's written for almost every TV genre and has had feature film and television development deals with Warner Brothers and Dick Clark Productions throughout his career. In addition to his Emmy nod he recently won the 101 Best Written TV Series in the History of Television award from the Writer’s Guild of America, for

  • How Bestselling Novelist Peter Heller Writes

    How Bestselling Novelist Peter Heller Writes

    11/03/2020 Duración: 38min

    Bestselling novelist, award-winning adventure writer, and journalist, Peter Heller, jumped on the phone to talk with me about his early life as a starving poet, breaking into journalism, how he makes things up for a living, and what it's like to be compared to your heroes. "When I read [great] poetry or prose [it] comes through my skin and straight to my heart, and pretty much bypasses my head..." – Peter Heller Peter is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a former contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in fiction and poetry, is the author of four nonfiction books, and winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for Literature. Heller is a notable bestselling author of a half-dozen novels including The Dog Stars – a lauded breakout bestseller, published in 22 languages – The Painter, and Celine (a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and winner of the Reading the West Book Award, shared in the past by Wester

página 1 de 11