Ditch Diggers #51: End of the Year Spectacular, guest starring Hurley and Wendig!

  • The Ditch Diggers come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Nicer-Than-Chuck-Wendig’s-Writing-Shed with special year-end episode spectacular guest co-hosts, Kameron Hurley and Chuck Wendig!
  • We briefly clarify who the guests are and who the hosts are, and talk about the momentous completion of the Hurley/Wendig Trilogy on Ditch Diggers (Matt insists there will be a “third act twist” which leads to an argument about what constitutes the third act in this scenario).
  • Everyone recaps their 2017 as writers. Hurley talks about throwing out two-thirds of a new book. Chuck talks about only focusing on a single book for a change (as he usually writes approximately 7,574 books per year). Mur talks about the sale and release of Six Wakes. Matt laments many personal hurdles that added height to professional hurdles.
  • Einstein had sex with everything, including James Joyce, which segues into Hemingway/Fitzgerald slash fic (briefly, but notably).
  • A digression into grandmothers, Nazi boots, radio turkeys, hills and valleys and the difference between the two (Matt is the only one confused by the old idiom, apparently).
  • The foursome discuss Hollywood, and the differences between the film/TV industry and the publishing industry.
  • Everyone looks ahead to 2018 and discusses their plans, hopes, and fears (spoiler: those are all basically the same thing).
  • The recent Patreon debacle, what happened, what it means, and what it signals for authors, and all freelance creators, in the future.
  • Everyone performs their final shilling of the year, and we wish everyone a much better 2018!
  • Chuck Wendig: terribleminds.com
  • Kameron Hurley: kameronhurley.com
  • Hurley’s Patreon: patreon.com/kameronhurley
  • Hurley’s Tip Jar: paypal.me/KameronHurley
  • Hurley’s newsletter: bit.ly/hurleysheroes
  • The Stars Are Legion: http://a.co/1NpquVn
  • Invasive: http://a.co/2JVKIw0

Ditch Diggers #50: Your Value

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Decommissioned Disney Vault for this, their 50th episode!
  • Mur doesn’t get Matt’s cultural references, but she does bring the audience up-to-date on what she’s been working on while in the dreaded “waiting” zone of being a freelance writer.
  • Matt is choosing professional optimism and creating a shiny cocoon of success around which the whole world can burn for all he cares.
  • A bizarre and hilarious digression involving Top Gun slash fic, Patreon, and Beyonce.
  • The Ditch Diggers finally arrive at the topic of the episode, which is knowing your value as a writer.
  • Matt and Mur discuss the mass firings and sale of LA Weekly, how the new owners are despicably attempting to replace professional journalist with unpaid amateur contributors, and what writers and readers can do about it.
  • Working remotely in the publishing industry, the need to structure more entry level roles that can be performed without living in NYC, and how all of that affects writers.
  • Suggested by James Sutter, Matt and Mur discuss when and why to leave a project, partnership, or genre in which you’re heavily invested (Mur lyrically explains the “sunken cost fallacy”).
  • Twitter and email Q&A! Topics include when/how to utilize Patreon, pitching standalone books vs. pitching series, and licensing and incorporating as a freelance writer.
  • The customary shilling, including info on how to party live in person with Matt on December 9th!
  • James L. Sutter’s website

Ditch Diggers #49: Happiness in darkness

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s iPhone 7 BlueTooth Headphone store.
  • Matt didn’t know before he bought one that the iPhone 7 has no headphone jack and he is unhappy about it. Loudly.
  • Mur cites a study she read comparing apps that make people happy to apps that don’t and how much time we spend using both, and the results led her down a path of several writing career related epiphanies.
  • Matt recaps the week in professional writers getting screwed, particularly the wake of DNAinfo and Gothamist being shuttered by billionaire Joe Ricketts after both writing staffs voted to unionize.
  • The Ditch Diggers discuss what about the current online market and publishing models need to be changed and how writers have to react to begin bringing about that change.
  • Twitter Q&A! Topics include agents requesting marketing plans from querying authors, how much editing/rewriting is too much, and consuming drugs and alcohol while writing.
  • The apps and happiness study cited by Mur in this episode: http://www.timewellspent.io/app-ratings/

Ditch Diggers #48: Sensitivity editing with Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

Posting in a hurry cause I’m on my way to NYCC today! Hope to see people there!

– Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s PSA Sound Booth with special guest co-host, author, editor, and activist Elsa Sjunneson-Henry!
– Mur has a new dog, and Matt explains what Morgan Freeman’s PSA Sound Booth means.
– Elsa’s history as a child activist, and how she was still in single digits when the CIA once investigated her background.
– Elsa talks about all of her, in Mur’s words, “many feathered hats” and the Ditch Diggers discuss how being a writer sometimes get lost when you do twenty different things as a freelancer.
– An introduction to sensitivity readers/editors, what they do, and why they’re necessary.
– Elsa talks about being a sensitivity editor and the many ways writers in all mediums/industries screw up dealing with visually impaired characters.
– How much you can expect to pay a sensitivity editor, and how to find one to hire them.
– Elsa fields Twitter Q&A! Everyone wants to know how to hire the One True Sensitivity Editor, and Elsa explains why that’s impossible and how to approach it correctly.
– Obligatory rambly end-of-show shilling.
Writing in the Margins’ Sensitivity Reader Database: http://writeinthemargins.org/sensitivity-readers/
Keep up with Elsa’s writing (and hire her!): http://feministsonar.com/elsa/
Elsa on Twitter: @snarkbat
Elsa on Instagram: @snarkbat
Dead Scare Tabletop RPG: http://www.deadscare.com/

Ditch Diggers #47: Being Done // Missing Stairs

So for the first time in months, I’ve missed a week. I’ve hit a low period again, and this podcast is kind of heavy, which made me hesitate to post it. But here’s this one, and then the ISBW for this week should go up tomorrow.

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Lasso of Truth Loom.
  • Matt and Mur take the word “loom” for a fun test drive, and the Ditch Diggers talk about what they’re up to in their own freelance careers.
  • Matt offers up a lesson about the idea of wasted effort, and how to look at (and eventually use!) the work you do that doesn’t sell or get you the writing job you were pursuing (and Mur offers tips on grocery shopping online to save time for writers!).
  • Mur asks the question, “Are you ever done as a fiction writer?” And the Ditch Diggers discuss the idea of retiring from writing, or telling all the stories you want to tell and being “done.”
  • Ditch Diggers plea for someone with the juice to hook Mur up with a gig editing an anthology based on the ancillary secondary characters from the sitcom Friends.
  • Mur talks about working for Serial Box on the serialized/seasonal Bookburners series, the recent summit of Serial Box writers in NYC, and working with a team of writers on the book series.
  • The Ditch Diggers plans to market an “Overwatch Pajamas Mur Barbie Doll,” and Mur tells an adorable story about how her daughter thought video games were played when she was very small.
  • Matt and Mur attempt to tackle the very heavy issue of “missing stairs,” or how writers (or any industry professional) should approach addressing/exposing known harassers and abusers in their industry, especially when the harassers/abusers in question are industry “heroes.”
  • The obligatory end-of-episode shilling, including Mur’s new book on writing based on the podcast, I SHOULD BE WRITING, which is now available in stores and online.

Affiliate links to our books!

Ditch Diggers #46: Post Hugo report // Writer Expectations

  • Hugo losers Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Tobias Funke Memorial Sobbing Shower.
  • Matt and Mur discuss how it feels to lose a Hugo Award, what it means to be a Hugo loser, and Mur recaps the events of the post-Hugo ceremony Loser’s Party (which Matt did not attend because he wasn’t at WorldCon).
  • Matt recaps the events of his not being at WorldCon, which dove-tails into Mur praising Mary Robinette Kowal (and rightly so).
  • Third Annual Ditch Diggers Live recap.
  • Mur talks about the unexpected problems that arose on the launch day of her new I SHOULD BE WRITING book, how she as a professional author dealt with them, and the status of the book now (with bonus discussion and explanation of meta data!).
  • Matt talks about professional expectations (e.g. winning a Hugo Award right before your agent takes your new book to market) and how to manage disappointment and adjust to changing events as a freelance creator.
  • Twitter Q&A! Including several topics on which the Ditch Diggers vow to do extended episodes, including what to include on your author/freelance creator website, managing multiple drafts and story notes, and sensitivity readers.
  • If the Ditch Diggers Patreon reaches $3k a month, Matt and Mur will take the show weekly! So, give us more money!
  • A final “thank you” to everyone who supported us for the Hugo Award and got us so far this year, and everyone who continues to listen to and support the show!

Affiliate links to our books!

Ditch Diggers is on August hiatus

Matt and I are taking a break, with so much travel and moving this month. We will be back in September, and you’ll have the Worldcon episode to tide you over before then. See you in a month!

Ditch Diggers #44: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Freelance Ditches

How to dig freelance ditches

And what are freelance ditches anyway?
Digging Freelance Ditches: Sniper with doberman

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Pop Culture Popcorn Boutique, and Mur actually lets Matt do the intros.
  • The Ditch Diggers welcome special guest co-host, staff writer for The Daily Dot and pop culture analyst extraordinaire, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw!
  • Everyone immediately agrees that Gavia’s mom would make the best agent ever, and that would also be her pro-wrestling gimmick.
  • Gavia talks about being a full-time writer for The Daily Dot and her areas of expertise.
  • Matt asks Gavia what makes a good cultural criticism writer, and Gavia does her best to answer such a broad question.
  • Gavia talks about how livejournal fanfiction led to her current career, how she selects topics to cover, and the life of a piece at The Daily Dot.
  • Gavia talks about her side project The Rec Center and being steeped in fandom as a writer.
  • The validity of liquids in sandwiches, and the validity of fanfiction as a writing medium.
  • Twitter Q&A, including how a book, movie, etc. gets the attention of a market like The Daily Dot.

Links of interest:

Note: Mur will be appearing at WorldCon in Helsinki in a few weeks and doing a LIVE Ditch Diggers with writer and publisher Alasdair Stuart standing in for Matt (with Matt’s approval, naturally. We’re not staging a coup to replace Matt even though Al does have a better accent.) See my program here!


Affiliate links to our books!

Ditch Diggers #43: Care and Feeding of your Author

We are together again talking about care and feeding of the author inside you! Sadly, with technical difficulties.

Care and Feeding Show Notes

  • Fuck hemingway. And a pierMatt and Mur come to you live, actually in-person (well, the two of them are, anyway) from Morgan Freeman’s Outside OBGYN Clinic.
  • Matt’s fictional uterus and a brief history of why we’re talking about it on this episode.
  • Actually, Matt and Mur are at their yearly retreat in the backwoods of Ohio with friends and family, several of whom are in the audience during the recording of this episode.
  • Matt and Mur introduce the topic of this episode, “the care and feeding of your author” (a topic suggested by Matt’s fiancée, Nikki).
  • How writers and the writing industry/community emphasize doing the work over taking care of yourself, physically.
  • Mur talks about how we romanticize the Hemingway-esque and Poe-esque stereotypes of the alcohol-soaked, depressed author and why that is obviously wrong and harmful.
  • Self-care, how alcohol and writing don’t mix, and Matt’s unabashed love for Mott’s for Tots apple juice and how it can replace the former habit.
  • Mur and Matt talk about smoking and drug abuse, citing writers like Joe Ezsterhaus and Stephen King as examples of how both invariably go disastrously wrong when you mix them with your career.
  • The episode is cut abruptly short, and Mur explains why (and offers apologies, although we did the best we could).

Affiliate links to our books!

Ditch Diggers #42: The Freelancer’s Rebuttal Guide

Foxes fight, quote from show, rebuttal guideIt’s time for some role playing and rebuttal action as Matt and Mur bring you some FINE acting shit.

Rebuttal Guide Show Notes

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Debate Club practice room, and Mur remembers to say the show’s tagline for once.
  • The Ditch Diggers try to decide whether this episode takes place two weeks or five minutes after the last episode.
  • Matt asks Mur what she’s been up to, and the answer somehow involves John Without Garfield (edit- it’s actually Garfield Minus Garfield.)
  • Mur talks about being in the oft recurring “proposal period” of a writer’s career, sending pitches out for multiple projects including novels and interactive media, hating outlining, and learning new skills.
  • Matt talks about finally finishing his first (anti) epic fantasy novel, working on the final Sin du Jour novella, reaching the end of his current book contract, and what comes next (including a middle grade novel).
  • Mur unintentionally segues into the topic of today’s show, which is The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide, a Matt Wallace Technology (Mur makes fun of Matt for this last part, and rightfully so).
  • Matt and Mur role-play The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide, with Mur’s snarky and insightful annotations throughout.
  • Matt encourages freelancers to submit new scenarios to the Guide, which is different from emailing Ditch Diggers questions (Mur explains).
  • Email questions! Topics include freelance writers and social media, publishing rights, and how to best keep track of pending submissions.

Other links of note:

Garfield Minus Garfield, October 2016

Garfield Minus Garfield, a particularly creepy one.

As always, Matt and Mur shill their books, GREEDY PIGS and RENCOR and SIX WAKES respectively, and remind Hugo voting listeners Ditch Diggers is up for best fancast, so vote for us!


Affiliate links to our books!