The Thinking About Podcast invited me to talk about my writing life and being a self-published author. I was thrilled to be asked. The wonderful Kirsti McNabney hosts this show, which gets her audience thinking about interesting topics.

We recorded the episode back in November 2022, but it aired February 7, 2023. Here’s where you can listen:

Promo image from the Thinking About Podcast celebrating E. M. Williams’ appearance on the show

Kirsti and I met in 2021 through Growclass, Sarah Stockdale’s online growth marketing community. I’ve been a big fan of Kirsti’s podcast work since she launched her show in March 2022.

On the Thinking About Podcast, Kirsti talks with thoughtful, interesting people. Many are also entrepreneurs sharing lessons and insights they’ve picked up on their journeys.

I spoke about writing Chaos Calling and my journey through self-publishing. We also talk about balancing career commitments with creative work, having a life, and finding the motivation to persevere when chasing a long-term dream.

Who is this conversation for? Anyone thinking about writing a book, wanting to publish a book, or pursuing a long-term creative project.

It’s a tough world. Motivation can be hard to come by. We talk about that, too.

Part I: Writing Topics on the Thinking About Podcast

  • 0:00 – 4:00 — Kirsti’s intro, which made me tear up, I won’t lie
  • 4:00 – 6:00 — Why I chose E. M. Williams as my pen name, segmenting a professional life, thinking about privacy, and whether a pen name might be a good choice for you.
  • 6:00 – 8:00 — Should you couple your business divisions? Why grouping consulting and publishing under one company works for me (so far).
  • 8:00 – 13:00 — ‘Don’t Stop Believing‘: I believed at one point that my writing dreams were dead. We talk about the Medium essay I wrote, and why you can’t give up when life pivots around you.
  • 13:00 – 17:00 — My wild experience writing Chaos Calling. Being open to a fresh inspiration download helped me to level-up my writing work. And, I also talk about how pivoting my approach to writing with Wattpad.
  • 17:00 – 23:00 — Where did these characters and the Chaos Calling story come from? I tell Kirsti how I built the series in onion layers, and give an overview of the plot. Do I see the book in my head as I’m writing? Yes, I do. And people reading say it feels like watching a movie.
  • 23:00 – 26:00 — Tricking your brain into being productive: I wrote the first three drafts on my phone while riding the TTC.
  • 26:00 – 28:30 — Writing a story set in Toronto, why I wanted to write fantasy set in the city where I live, and taking inspo from the Raptors’ victory parade in 2019.
  • 28:30 – 35:00 — Book production and feedback: How I took the manuscript through the editing process. We also talk about finding beta readers and editors. Is it scary to share your work? Yes, but you get over it.

Part II: Book Production Topics on the Thinking About Podcast

  • 35:00 – 38:00 — What would I say to that younger version of me stuck in that car? We talk about how you don’t get to stay in the high place of inspiration, or the low place of despair.
  • 39:00 – 50:00 — Book production and launch: We cover my process and decisions I made, and how to make space for the things you don’t know. Weirdly, Frozen 2 comes up a lot. I suggest places to look for resources and people to help with your creative project.
  • 50:00 – 58:30 — What’s the most rewarding part of chasing your dream? I talk about the beautiful conversations I’ve had with people post launch, and why Growclass is the best. We also discuss the importance of focusing on the process and enjoying the ride.
  • 58:30 – 1:04:00 — Books I recommend and how early Twitter (pre 2017) taught me how to be a better creative person on the Internet.