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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews


Apr 16, 2018

Part II with Joanna Penn, award-nominated author of The Healthy Writer: Reduce your Pain, Improve your Health and Build a Writing Career for the Long Term. 

https://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Writer-improve-writing-Writers-ebook/dp/B0763XLK24 

Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy leaders podcast is a member of the pharmacy podcast network with interviews and advice from building your professional network brand and a purposeful second income from students residents and innovative professionals hey welcome inform seniors podcast just wanted to give you a quick intro we're gonna hear the second half of Joanna pen in just a minute but I wanted to let you know a friend of mine Janet Kennedy president and podcast host guest social health is going to be he's asking for people can help her with some abstract so what you're doing is you're taking in medical abstract or something like that and you're making it a bit simpler I asked her a couple of questions the timetable is that it's due June 30th any time before that is okay if you wouldn't want to put it on your CV it would be a writing project for the healthcare marketing Network HMN and you know are you being paid you get paid five bucks per abstract it covers the time to assess the abstract that might not be relevant and it should make you about thirty to fifty bucks an hour you work at your own pace and there's no limit you can do this is for PubMed so it's a huge project it's going to be covering whatever topics are on the file and there's no necessary background in writing it's just common sense so if you are obviously pharmacist or pharmacy student you should be into shape I asked if they have to be a writer and the answer is no and then there's a number of the abstracts or informal medical speak so again the way to contact her is could be the email that she wanted me to give you so Janet J healthcare marketing Network Dec Janet at healthcare marketing Network comm and you can email her directly its opportunity she's a great person that talked to her Carol Bush iJustine Kalbach all of them over there so they're doing so now not even any longer Joanna Penn from Bath England knows she's going to finish the second part of her episode with us talking about how you can be an author and how you can make a living in it again she's doing really great and she started her nothing so here comes okay well tell me a little bit about a lot of times people are like okay I'm gonna be and writer so they go back to their especially people with more money than time like pharmacists physicians will tend to gravitate towards MFA's Master of Fine Arts in writing and they're these you know low residency MFA s you go to some exotic place for ten days you write you hear all these things and then you get feedback in between you and Chandler Bolt are my mobile MFA in terms of your your podcast can you tell me a little bit about what you would recommend someone start reading from yours before they go and spend 20 or 30 thousand dollars on an MFA and and I'm not necessarily anti MFA I'm anti just go to the MFA first I'm like well there's a lot out there maybe you should start with something free first or something that's $15 on audible rather than just drop 20 or $30,000 oh and it's so interesting because I've been talking to my husband about this my husband has three degrees and we were talking about how and I have to have five what do you because I think we people like us like learning so we love to learn and we also value a stamp of some kind a stamp that says well I have a degree in this so that must mean something but the MFA is a really interesting thing so what you what I want people to start thinking about is completely reframe the idea of what a writer is in that way so most working writers I would probably say 99% of working writers don't have an MFA and when I say working writers I mean people who are paid for their writing the people who run MFA's will often have one book or a couple of books but they won't make the bulk of their income from their writing they'll make it from their teaching and there's nothing wrong with that but what you have to do if you want to write is figure out where do you want to get to so if you want to teach writing then for sure look at an MFA because that's where it will take you people with MFA's become MFA teachers but if you want to write thrillers then don't go anywhere near an MFA because one they won't necessarily want you to write what you have to do is you know if you look at someone like me I make you know X percent I make like a six-figure income from book sales and then I have income streams from other things but those books are zamora fiction say thrillers I have some sweet romance under another name and my non-fiction books Chandler is a teacher but he is a based around nonfiction so we're quite quite different in that way but I think we have similar energy you know quite up energy but the so the question of the MFA is are you leaning towards an MFA not you I mean anyone listening are you leaning towards an MFA because you are the type of person who loves to learn but in reality you are going to get much more writing done if you do not do another degree just right and right and this this is the thing that changed my life two things changed my life over with writing the first one was timed writing so set a 20 minute timer literally 20 minutes and instead of googling MFA's sit down and write for 20 minutes and then stop and look at what you've written and maybe you've written a couple of hundred words and that's how you write and then the second thing is realizing that the first draft is just the first draft and editing is what makes a finished product so if you're right if the writing you just did in 20 minutes is a pile of crap that's fine because you will then you can turn lots of those into a book when you go through the editing process so understanding the first draft won't go anywhere you know won't be seen it is good so I really think that you have to decide where you want to get to and also be really honest about what you love because the other thing you know as I said I'm I'm very educated so are you so are the listeners but when I was when I read I read for pleasure and fun and escapism and I read action adventure thriller and I liked movies like Connor and I just watched Thor Ragnarok because I think when you have a very brain job and you're tired you just want something that's fun and escapist and that's the thing if you want to write apocalyptic zombie books or romance or sci-fi whatever do that and don't worry about getting a degree in it because that won't make any difference okay well that gives us a great transition into what's next when I was doing my research for this podcast episode I go right to audible and I got the healthy writer but then I also any time in my audible there's only to open at a time it's always one fiction and one non-fiction but it's very rare that I get to have the same author as the fiction and nonfiction so can you first talk about how the arcane series how you do two different brands because people are working hard enough to have one single brand how do you have two completely different brands which is a nonfiction one Joanna pen and the fiction one which is jf pen you talk about branding a little bit yeah sure so you the main thing was that it branding really is about your promise to the reader so you're primarily interviewing johanna pen and we're talking about things that joanna pen writes about but I've been on podcasts about dreaming or religion or writing about death you know as jfn because my books are my thrillers are about that other side of me maybe partly a shadow side but also a sort of different part of my brain that is fascinated with religion and architecture and travel and conspiracies and all of these yes it's a complete it's it's very necessary for me creatively as a happy human to have both sides I think people are very lucky if they can focus on one thing but I can't I feel like I love doing nonfiction because I love helping other people and I think helping people is a very natural human thing but I also need my fiction to kind of feed my darker creative side so managing the two brands is mostly about separation of my audience so jfn calm you know I have Instagram separately I have Pinterest separately you know I have I have different emails I have I don't have a podcast I do have blog articles and things like that but mainly people who know jf Penn know me through my books they will read those thrillers and so it partly for me it's a creative need and partly for the audience it helps them understand who they're getting yeah you know and that's really important also just in a world of big data you know we're as we talk and there's a lot of talk about big data but the algorithms on Amazon are very important and they I'm sure everyone knows you know you'll get an email that said hey you like this you might also like that or things pop up in your when you log on that kind of endings so the recommendations very much work with the type of author the genre so I also wanted my also bots on Amazon to come up in the right way so my if people do feel like this like for example if somebody listening is published in a medical journal under a and your you're working as a as a pharmacist and that's your official name then maybe use a different name if you want to write some erotica or some horror or something that someone might judge you with but perhaps if like um Michael Crichton you know Michael Crichton was a medical doctor before he started writing thrillers but his first thrillers were medical thrillers so the Andromeda Strain was I think his first one and so yeah he really tapped into his if you're writing things that your existing people who know you are not going to be freaked out about yeah maybe use another name okay well so I I'm gonna guess that stone of fire is probably available free if it's an e-book and it was your first in the series but I bought it because it's an audiobook and I don't I don't know what free is because it's audiobooks but tell me a little bit about how so I've heard that fiction to make great fiction the nonfiction part of it has to be spot-on that is that your readers will break if they find that you're talking about a place and when they went there that's not how it is so tell me a little bit about how your visits to these places how your oxford studies leaned into you can do stone a fire or maybe maybe a different book that's more recent for you but how do you make sure that the nonfiction is spot on so that we don't lose our suspension of disbelief yeah so for me party when I looked at designing my future life when I you know back in back sort of ten years ago I one of the things I wrote down was I want to travel and I want to write and I want to read so those were the things I wanted to do with my time so my action very much my travels feed into it so for example I have a book called one day in Budapest which is based on a trip that my husband and I did to Budapest and I've actually sort of had people who've gone to Budapest and read my book and gone to the places so I know that that book works in terms of of a physical place and also the political situation so it's a very right-wing political situation so most of my thrillers have places and architecture and religious either truth or myth depending on how you see it and then I just twist things into the fiction so you should be able to read it and be like yep this is plausible and they're modern-day thrillers all of them yeah I have a couple of fantasy novels so of course they are made up but they also are based in real life so a map of Shadows which is my most recent novel which is knowing audiobooks yet so that one opens in bath which is where I live now and is based on a shop that is just around the corner a map shop so it's based on maps obviously so for me it's partly because I love travel and then I love turning my travel into stories and either I'm writing about places I have been so a lot of my books have Israel and I've traveled to Israel a lot so end-of-days was the one before machetes and and that was written again after a trip to Israel and then places I haven't been so you stayin afire does include a scene in Iran and I have not been to Iran although I really would love to go and yes some other places for example and get gates of Hell have scenes underneath the water in the the Dead Sea no diving in the Dead Sea which is very dangerous and you can die say luckily you can google these things but for me it's it's fun it's I want to enjoy the process of creating a story and then hopefully the reader will also enjoy the story so stayin afire is a free ebook so people can download that it is as you know the first in a nine book series and I've written also a crime series which starts with desecration so if people like darker books then that might be the place to start okay well let's finish up with something that you you've talked about about map of shadows in your recent entry into screenwriting things got a little you said maybe things got a little tired in in certain ways with the writing and you wanted something a little bit fresher with the screenwriting but you mentioned that somebody said that's a hundred million dollar movie and I think they said it in the pejorative like you'll never make that nobody will ever make that who are you to write a hundred million dollar movie script maybe you should be writing a little script where you can put in fifty thousand dollars and make a movie I think a lot of things a lot of people that try to write stop writing because they reject themselves can you tell me how you got the confidence to continue writing and you know the way that I would spin that wouldn't say that well hey you know what you can get this book for five dollars on Amazon that's a hundred million dollar movie and you can get it down so you want to talk about a great discount this is a great discount but tell me a little bit about the not the trolls and the haters aren't that many of them but but they do affect you and and then your own internal monologue saying oh who are you to be a writer who are you to put this out there so maybe a little bit about gaining that confidence yeah sure I mean this is the the truth of it the self-doubt the fear of failure the fear of judgement all of that never goes away it's part of the creative process I know people in that you know writers in their 70s very successful writers who still feel this so the you have to accept that that is part of the creative process and my book the successful author mindset really goes into that and I've been talking about that on my youtube channel because it's amazing how many people don't realize that this is completely normal to feel this way and again coming back to the sort of degree thing often we think by getting a degree that might make it go away I mean I have impostor syndrome and I've got like 28 books and you know whatever I make a good living with my writing and still I feel you know I went into the screenwriting course feeling like a novice so yeah don't worry about that that will always be there but I think what what again it's coming back to you and I think my awareness of death and I hope that pharmacists and medical specialists listening feel this - we will die you know this is not a surprise if you think about your life like what do you want to do with your life I was unhappy with what I was doing with my life and every day that I write something I'm happier with my life so it has to be a daily practice or if you can't do it daily then what are you creating over a year for example you know can you write that book over a year or two years or however you can fit it in so that you feel that you're progressing in your life and then the definition of success i it is as you say it is very unlikely that map of Shadows will ever become a movie but in writing that screenplay I had a lot of fun it was so much fun and I learned a lot about story structure I loved learning as we discussed and it was a 6 day course which is a lot cheaper than an MFA I think and also you know I've written a lot of different types of books now I just needed a bit of a refreshment and so now I'm thinking I'm thinking more now that this is an episodic life but as a writer you you have this you focus on a book everything goes into this book and then you finish the book and then what are you doing next you you know I like writing a nonfiction book next or am I going to write a screenplay or so it's for your own creative success and success defined as you are producing work you're happy with even if it never sells at all that's really the point and I guess but I just want to remind people that sort of 10 years ago I had none of this I had no website I had no Twitter I had no fiction and I haven't even written a novel ten years ago you know my life was completely different but by making a choice every day towards the life I wanted incredibly I made it their life I wanted which was to be a full-time author and now my definition of success is well what do I want to create next so my next book that I was working on this morning is how to write nonfiction which is completely different to map of Shadows screenplay but it keeps but it certainly keeps things fresh and as a writer you certainly probably do get some fatigue from from one or the other yeah exactly it's it's refreshing and I'm really enthusiastic about it and also it will help people because every day you people ask me it's a bit like successful self-publishing I didn't write that for me I did not need that book the same questions every single day so it's like oh well here you go here's the book with everything in it and I keep it updated so with how to write nonfiction it's kind of the same way I'm like okay I've written nine non-fiction books now I can write a book about this and you know so but after that I'll get back to writing that American arcane novels so this is the thing it's it's exciting to be creatively prolific and to me the independent mindset means I can publish anything I want and even if it doesn't sell much it doesn't really matter because I'm creatively fulfilled obviously I prefer if it's okay well I've asked you a lot of questions is there anything you wanted to say in closing that I haven't asked you well I guess I really just want to encourage people if people are still listening if they haven't turned this off they probably are interested in maybe writing a book maybe writing a novel I get a lot of you know doctors lawyers pharmacists very educated people who want to write books because of course we read books you know a lot of our life is based on books and learning but what I would say is you know try stepping away from that sort of you know must get a degree approach and think about being a bit freer with your creativity and that will really help and also double down on what you love like I said if you love thor ragnarok then write something like that you know you don't have to write a book a prize-winning novel or a Pulitzer prize-winning non-fiction book you know these are really get to know what you love and then maybe do it for some fun that's the other thing we all take ourselves so seriously but this can be really fun and it can make you a living so I hope that helps and I have a podcast the creative pen podcast pen with the double n and obviously everything else is at my website the creative pen com okay Joanna thanks so much for being in the pharmacy leaders podcast thanks for having me Tony support for this episode comes from the audio book memorizing pharmacology a relaxed approach with over 9,000 sales in the United States United Kingdom and Australia it's the go-to resource to ease the pharmacology challenge available on audible iTunes and amazon.com in print ebook and audiobook thank you for listening to the pharmacy leaders podcast with your host Tony Garrett be sure to share the show with the hash tag hash pharmacy 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