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How do you write a memoir that inspires people to travel and widen their horizons but also delves into the truth of human experience? In today's podcast, adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys shares his tips.
In the intro: Nora Roberts files a plagiarism suit against Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya #copypastecris [The Guardian]; Nora's blog FallIntoTheStory; Plagiarism? Ghostwriting? How far would you go for a successful book? My discussion on ethical authors with Orna Ross on Ask Alli Podcast; Russell Blake's State of the Ad Union; Russell's interview Episode 247 on writing fast and successful self-publishing; Mark Zuckerberg now has a podcast [The Next Web] and why I think that is significant.
Plus, I've just released the new edition of Successful Self-Publishing. It has a green cover so you know you're getting the new one. Free ebook edition here. Also available in print and Large Print.
Today's show is sponsored by Draft2Digital, where you can get free ebook formatting, free distribution to multiple stores, and a host of other benefits. Get your free Author Marketing Guide at www.draft2digital.com/penn
Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, an author of 10 books, and a motivational speaker named as the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2012. He has cycled across the world, walked across India and the Empty Quarter desert, rowed the Atlantic, run the Marathon des Sables, as well as going on many other micro-adventures. His latest book is My Midsummer Morning: Rediscovering a Life of Adventure.
You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite podcast app or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- Lessons learned from writing 10 books
- Blogging as a way to become a better writer
- Writing while traveling
- Writing a travel memoir when nothing really happens along the way
- The value of being honest and vulnerable in a memoir
- Publishing options for those writing in the travel niche
- The importance of paying attention to publishing contracts!
- Thoughts on the business model for travel writers
- The experience of narrating your own audiobook
You can find Alastair Humphreys at AlastairHumphreys.com and on Twitter @AI_Humphreys
Transcript of Interview with Alastair Humphreys
Joanna Penn: Hi, everyone. I'm Joanna Penn from TheCreativePenn.com. And today, I'm here with Alastair Humphreys. Hi, Al.
Alastair Humphreys: Hello.
Joanna Penn: Welcome back to the show. Just in case anyone doesn't know you:
Alastair is an adventurer, an author of 10 books, and a motivational speaker named as the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2012. He has cycled across the world, walked across India and the Empty Quarter desert, rowed the Atlantic, run the Marathon des Sables, as well as going on many other micro-adventures. His latest book is ‘My Midsummer Morning: Rediscovering a Life of Adventure.'
Al, you've been on the show twice before, 2009 and 2013. Can you believe it's been so long?
Alastair Humphreys: Wow. That is 10 years since the first one. That is ridiculous.
Joanna Penn: Oh, my goodness. You would've been in my first batch, I guess, which is crazy. So, I wanted to ask, since we talked last six years, how has your writing process changed over time? Because there are people listening who might be on their first book, people who are on a later book.
With 10 books, what are your lessons learned?
Alastair Humphreys: The lessons learned are that writing books is really hard and I continually curse that. So, that hasn't seemed to change for me.
I think the thing that has got massively easier was with having written several books because now have an audience and I now have publishing options and that takes a huge stress off me knowing that if I sit down and write this book, someone will publish it.
That's quite a relief compared to when I began writing books. And increasingly, I have an audience who I'm familiar with so, as I'm writing, I can be more confident that this is going to target a certain niche of people and it'll be fine. So, both of those things are real weights off my shoulder for actually sitting down and getting the book finished.
Joanna Penn: Well, and then we should point out, you've been blogging.
When did you start blogging?
Alastair Humphreys: Even longer ago than you, I reckon. 2001, before the word blog was invented.
Joanna Penn: Wow. I started in 2008, so you're pretty hardcore. But this is important.
Do you have any idea of how many words you've written on your blog or in addition to the 10 books because that is how you've built an audience, isn't it?
Alastair Humphreys: When I decided to start taking this kind of life seriously, I needed to find a way to get people to know who I was. And the way I decided to do that was via blogging.
I decided just to treat blogging like a halftime job. Half of my time was blogging and I used to schedule them and write for a month in advance. And I've written nearly 2000 blogs now on my website.
It takes vast amounts of time and effort to build up even a small, little niche audience. But the blogging has been useful, not only for telling people who I am, for improving SEO, getting my fingers in all sorts of pies around the internet, but also just for learning to become a better writer.
The two ways I think to be a good writer, one is to read a lot and the other is to write a lot. And eventually, at the end of writing a lot, you can then sit down and start to write.
Joanna Penn: And, of course, Stephen King said that too. So, great quote. Read a lot and write a lot.
Alastair Humphreys: Oh, I thought that was original. Did I steal it from Stephen King?
Joanna: Yes. It's one of his good ones.
Alastair Humphreys: His book, by the way, I'm sure you're well aware of, ‘On Writing' is brilliant. It's the only of his I read because it's the only one that's not scary, but it's brilliant.
Joanna Penn: And, of course, he has narrated that audiobook. We're gonna come back to that in a bit.
Let's talk about this particular book, ‘My Midsummer Morning.' You walked across Spain before you wrote this book. For people who want to write while they're traveling, maybe that is on an adventure. I don't actually write much when I travel, but the process of writing while traveling is interesting.
How did you write while you were walking? When did you do it? And was it just scribbles?
Alastair Humphreys: On all the trips I've ever done, I've always written diaries, partly just for personal interests so I'll remember them later, partly to try and figure stuff out, partly because I have no friends and I'm on my own. And also, increasingly, because I'm trying to write a book.
The way I do it, it's quite old-fashioned with a diary and a pen. And every time I sit down for lunch, or in the evenings, or in morning, whatever, I just write and I try and write as much as I possibly can, just churning down everything that's in my brain.
The trips that I do are often involving me being in motion to somewhere. So, if I suddenly have a genius idea, it's a bit annoying to stop and take off my rucksack. So, I usually carry a very small, little notebook and a little stub of pencil in my pocket. And as I'm walking, I just jot down little things like that.
I found over time, that's the best way for me to get stuff recorded. When I walked across India years ago and wrote a book about that, I tried to take my notes via audio. So, I'd walk along doing audio recording, which led to vast amounts of me waffling away. And then I never got round to ever doing anything with that huge amounts of audio.
So, different things for different people, but I found that handwriting the diary. And then when I get home, one of the first jobs I do is just type up the whole diary, gradually starts to filter things in my head.
Joanna Penn: Wow. So, you type up when you get home because it's so funny right now, I've probably got nearly 50 notebooks that I am trying to pull things out of my head and try and remember what notebook they're in. And I've never written up the whole thing.
I've interviewed you for my other podcasts, ‘Books and Travel,' but the process of revisiting 25 years later is very hard. It's fascinating to hear you say that. That's crazy.
Alastair Humphreys: I keep them up on my bookshelf here. Here is Spain. Black notebook. This is my Spain book.
Joanna Penn: Is that a Moleskine?
Alastair Humphreys: It's a budget version of a Moleskine that I got free. But, yeah, it's the same. That's like a Moleskine-type thing.
And then this is the little one that I had in my pocket as I was walking along, which on the front says, ‘We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.' And that has got very bad handwriting of me writing in pencil as I walk along.
But, yeah, and I find just typing the whole thing up straight away is a good way of just getting on with the process.
Joanna: When you are typing up, do you edit as you go?
Alastair Humphreys: No. Because at that time, I don't know what the book is. I don't know what the story is, so, no. It's just typing it up, which is a way, really, of just me re-living the trip and remembering stuff.
Joanna Penn: That's fascinating. I was going to ask you about senses.
When you're writing things down, are you using sensory detail about the smells, and the sounds, and everything, or do you come back to that later?
Alastair Humphreys: No, I try to, and it depends on how I'm feeling on the actual trip. Quite lot of the time, the stuff I'm doing, I'm pretty knackered, or scared, or uncomfortable, and not necessarily in the mood for writing anything particularly eloquent. So, I just scribble down bits and bobs.
But also, I have a huge amount of time often in my trips when I'm just lying around with nothing to do, so evenings and then I just try and brain dump. I just write, and write, and write about factual stuff, any bits and bobs I've learned, some snippets of information, emotions, and going through the five senses just trying to capture everything that's around.
Because that at the time, I don't know what's going to be useful and what isn't, but I've also got a terrible memory, so I need to try and just get as much of this reality down as possible.
Joanna Penn: I know what you mean. You're also a photographer and you're a filmmaker.
How much do your pictures help your writing process or are they for an entirely different thing?
Alastair Humphreys: No. When I said memory, I thought that of exactly this point, which is that I also, later on, use my photos a lot for writing stuff, and particularly for the sort of set-piece things like I'm walking towards the castle on the hill. I just look at this picture and that helps me describe it more accurately.
Video's fantastic for that as well, for the sounds that you get in video clips. I quite often go back and do that. I also cheat as well by using Google Maps, the Street View. I used to Street View my way along bits that I've walked or the Spain book I've just written, I had to describe quite a lot of plazas where I stayed, stood, and busked.
I've done quite a bit of Google Street View looking around the plazas for details that I forgot that I can put in now and make it feel a bit more real.
Joanna Penn: That's a great tip because, of course, a lot of those plazas look quite similar. Lots of walls and a fountain in the middle.
Alastair Humphreys: Well, exactly. That's how they all start. Walls, fountains, and a church, and it's blue sky and it's hot. And then to try and make it a bit more detailed.
For example, one specific scene in the book, I've described this cafe that's across the plaza, which I remember, but I couldn't, for the life of me, have any details. So, now, I'm being able to put the thing that it said on the shutters to just make it much more present. And I do think that's cheating.
Joanna Penn: It's interesting you mentioned cheating there. And what is cheating? Like you seem to have a view on that.
I've used the word true before, but what is true, what is cheating for you?
Alastair Humphreys: I find it a very interesting thing with travel writing because it's not like writing fiction where you can just throw in a dragon and a dinosaur whenever you want. I'm trying to write about the trips that I've done.
On occasion, I'm tempted to throw in a few dinosaurs just because it's a bit boring and it would liven up my text. I feel, in terms of truth, that I never want to make up episodes. I never make up stories of stuff that didn't happen.
But I often amalgamate a lot of different truths. So, lots of different memories of, say, campsites or perhaps different individual people I've met, I often amalgamate all of these things into one nugget of a story which serves to tell, more accurately, how the experience was at the time.
And in a way, to make it more truthful. Not to make it more factual, but to make it more truthful. And all the books that I've written, the travel narrative books, I've always done that.
The Spain book was the most I've ever done that in terms of chopping all sorts of stuff up, chopping up the chronologies, mixing things around, putting things in different orders in order to try and get to a broader truth of how the whole experience was for me.
Joanna Penn: That's very cool. You mentioned that there are a lot of times when you're just tired, resting, whatever, and in the book, you say, ‘Travel has so much tedium in between the highlights.'
What are your tips on editing memoir to make it more engaging for the reader?
Alastair Humphreys: Oh, I really struggled with this, with the writing a book about walking because the essence of most of my days was just plodding down hot footpaths, really hot, feeling a bit hungry. And that was pretty much what happened most of the time. If I wrote all of that, it'd be really boring. If I left it all out, it would then mean that the highlights and the lowlights were sort of out of context.
I tried my best to give a flavor of the repetitiveness, but in a non-repetitive way. And the way I've chosen to do that, it goes back a bit to this chopping up of the truth, is that I've broken the book up more into chapters about themes.
I have, for example, a chapter about setting up camp, which is all of the different memories of setting up camp bundled into one story. I have a section about the pain of walking and the slowness of walking, which is all of the different memories and impressions of that distilled down to a chunk.
Perhaps, in a way, it's taken from my blogging background of trying to just write 1,000-word set pieces about a single topic. And quite a few of my book chapters are probably done in that sort of style.
Joanna Penn: And you did this trip almost three years ago now. I know how long you've been editing this. I'd just love you to give people a sense of your frustration with editing. Like you said, it's really hard to write a book, but yet, you've cycled around the world and walked all over the place.
What is hard for you, really?
Alastair Humphreys: We've had interesting arguments about whether I should keep on polishing, and polishing, and polishing for eternity, or whether I should just put the book out there and get on and write a better one next time, which I think is a really interesting round and round argument, but I've definitely gone for their polishing and polishing of this.
Three reasons the book has taken a long time. One is because I've gone with a traditional publisher rather than the self-publisher and they still think that dinosaurs roam the Earth and therefore the whole process is incredibly slow. They haven't yet realized the internet exists.
Two, I've really tried to polish this book because it is a book that personally means a lot to me. I've really wanted to make it as good as I possibly can for my own personal reasons. I think for commercial reasons, I should have probably chucked it out to the world a year ago and go on with something else, but personally, I wanted to really polish it.
And the third reason it's taken so long is because it's a hazard of travel writing, is you don't know what's going to happen. And in this case, nothing really happened.
I went to Spain to walk through Spain for a month following an old book busking, which is a nice idea for a book. I set off, and the trip was brilliant. I had a wonderful time and absolutely nothing bad happened at all.
I came home and I wrote the story from my diary of what happened, which is basically me just walking around eating sandwiches and playing the violin. I wrote that book and I sent it to my publisher and he quite accurately said, ‘It's quite nice, but absolutely nothing happened.'
So, I then had the choice of either scrapping the project or doing a complete overhaul of it and completely changing the structure, and the theme, and the points of the book to be much more than a travel narrative. And I decided to do that and that then made it take a lot longer as well.
Joanna Penn: You're right, it is more of a personal transformation book than a some of the summit Everest-type massive achievement things, which is interesting.
Part of your transformation is you include a lot of personal memories and personal narrative with your current life, your kids, your marriage, and how things have changed for you in your life as an adventurer. So, I think it's a very personal book.
How hard was that, I guess, to write? And if people want to write memoir, how far should they go with that?
Alastair Humphreys: This whole extra facet to the book was the complete rewriting. I've essentially lived two very different lives, two very separate lives. I live my life as a public person, so a writer, an Instagrammer, and blogger, and all that sort of stuff. Adventure Al.
And then I have real-life me, which is what I do in my normal life with normal stuff, which is I think of no interest and also no relevance to the rest of the world. So, I've always kept very separate.
I went to Spain very much as Adventure Al. And the film that I made of this is interesting because you can't retrospectively change a film. So, the film of Spain is just, ‘Here's Al having an adventure in Spain.' And consequently, it's a lovely little film but fairly bland because he's just me walking through Spain and having a nice time. And that was the book that got rejected.
So, then I had to think of a way to make it more interesting and I decided, therefore, to just be honest about the other side to my life as well, my real life and how the struggle I've had between trying to be normal me, normal guy, husband, father, and also Adventure Al, tough guy, adventurer doing stuff. And the struggle I've had between the two, which has been a huge personal one in my life for the last nine years. And I decided to tie those two things together into the book.
To answer your question then of writing memoir, I think the way to do it well is to be as honest as you dare and as honest as you're possibly comfortable with, and then a bit beyond.
I think my book got better the more honest and vulnerable I made myself, which is a difficult thing to do, but simply in terms of if you want to write a good book, then you just have to be honest, lay it on the line. And you, as a reader, will know that yourself from reading books, the memoirs that grip you are the ones that really go deep, and honest, and vulnerable.
Joanna Penn: I think it's partly your fault, and also, and another friend of mine, Rachael Herron, who's written a memoir and I've found myself starting to write one too. The question that comes off in my head is, people that you write about, how far have you gone with asking permission for some of the things you've written?
Have you gone for permission or have you gone for apology?
Alastair Humphreys: It's easier to seek forgiveness than permission. It's a great rule for being a traveler. I think, perhaps, less so for being a memoir writer.
So, in terms of my book, the only relevant people, really, was my family. I thought it'd be a bit of a recipe for disaster to write a book about domestic dispute without first discussing it with my wife.
I wrote it all and then talked it over with my wife and she just said she was happy for me to write whatever I wanted to write.
I definitely think that was important to do. In all the books I ever write, I always just change, just as a default setting, I just change names and locations of anyone I ever write about, which simplifies even the smallest squabbles or arguments you might have. But in terms of the big stuff, I think it'd be rude to not do it the right way.
Joanna Penn: I've read the book. It's fantastic and there's nothing offensive. I know some people write memoir, they shouldn't write for revenge, but you do read some memoirs and a lot of it is revenge. But, just to point out for the listeners, your book's not like that.
When we use real people in our writing, it is an important point.
Alastair Humphreys: Very much so. And you're right. My book is full of love and trying to do the right things to the right people, but it has the struggles that I think everyone has in their life, the conflict between family, and ambition, and individuality, and all those struggles I think everyone has.
I'm not writing for revenge in a way, but I'm certainly writing about a life that is a private life in a public way, I think you just need to be sensitive and understanding about doing that. But on the other hand, if you want to write a good book, you need to pour out all the dirt and be as juicy and as angry as you possibly can. So, there's a conflict in that, for sure.
Joanna Penn: I think you did a great job on this and I think that's partly why it has taken three years. Good on you for ignoring me.
Let's talk about publishing because, of course, when you first came on the show, like I think 2009 or something like that, when we talked about ‘There Are Other Rivers,' which was your India book, you self-published that and you've done lots of different publishing forms over the years.
What are your thoughts on publishing options for people writing in the travel niche, particularly?
Alastair Humphreys: I think that there's different ways to publish that suit different people at different times. So, I don't think there's a hard and fast right way to do things.
I currently have a normal, proper big publisher, HarperCollins, who are doing the Spain book. And that's great because they'll make a nice, big, flashy hardcover and they've got an editor and really got all those sorts of things. And I can show off to people I've got a proper publisher. So, that's great.
The downside is the constant frustration I have with trying to get things done my way and done things the way I think the 21st-century publishing demands. That's very frustrating. I've also published books with a tiny publisher, which is great because they do much of that sort of stuff if you haven't yet got your foot in the door for a bigger publisher. So, there's been a time and a place for that in my life.
The main caveat I'd suggest anyone doing that is to pay a bit of attention to their contracts rather than just signing anything just so they can get a book published. That has caused me a lot of pain.
As we speak, I'm writing another book that I'm going back to doing a self-published just so I can do it in a more quirky, independent, less conventional sort of way.
So, I have no set preference of what I want to do with the book. It's very much a case-by-case basis.
Joanna Penn: Let's talk about the audiobook then as we're circling back to, as I mentioned, about Stephen King narrating his book. You've narrated ‘My Midsummer Morning' and also ‘There Are Other Rivers' recently. And so, how has that been?
Why did you decide to self-narrate and what did you learn?
Alastair Humphreys: I've been wanting to get an audiobook done for almost 10 years now, which links slightly to my last answer about contracts and annoyance, which I won't go down. But finally, I've got round to doing it because audiobooks are huge thing these days. They tap into people who don't read normal books and it's just a different slice of pie.
I've been really eager to do it. And I now enjoy listening to audiobooks myself, so I wanted to get on and do it. I've got two books done in two different ways.
The ‘My Midsummer Morning,' it's just HarperCollins tell me, ‘We've got this audiobook people, turn up at there, do the thing, off you go,' and then it'll all turn up out, released at some point.
The India book, which is self-published, I had to find myself a place to do it and I found a great guy called Greg, Sound Shack near Cheltenham, who was brilliant. He's just a freelance guy. I turned up at his house, we went to his garage, which is a sound studio and I just sat down and read the book all day.
It was a difficult but simple process, I think. It was quite exhausting to do, really exhausting in fact, and quite time-consuming. And I also found it quite agonizing. I never look back at my old books, ever. Once I've written them, they're just gone. So, I'm just now opening this book, which I haven't looked inside for about eight years.
I was absolutely dreading it. As I started to read, I was thinking, ‘This is going to be terrible, it's going to be awful.' I was really dreading that, but I was pleased. It was actually quite a good book. And so, I think it was a good experience to do and definitely worth doing. It really wasn't much of a hassle at all.
Janna Penn: I've talked about this, about how much hard work it is.
It takes stamina to read all day, doesn't it?
Alastair Humphreys: It's really tiring. You get quite a sore throat and get consciously till you start to sort of lose a bit of enthusiasm. You have to have breaks.
I think it would be wise to not try and rush it through, best to spread it out over a chunk of time so you can be doing it in an upbeat and enthusiastic kind of way. Having said that, I'm also quite competitive and stubborn, so I also wanted to bash out the entire book in one day, which I did manage to do, but it was quite a hard work.
Joanna Penn: Personally, I wouldn't do it all in one day. But then, you're also a professional speaker and you also narrate your own films. So, if people watch any of your videos, they're going to hear you speaking as well.
How much do you think your professional speaking ability or training has helped with doing the audiobook?
Alastair Humphreys: I think it helped massively that I do a lot of speaking and that I do lots of presentation things where I still have to read out to an audience and therefore you get the pitch and tone and things right. So, I think that helped hugely.
I'm good at reading, and I know there are quite a lot of people who just find reading hard. I have a friend who's doing an adventure book and he just acknowledges that he's not good enough. He's good at writing, he's not good enough at reading to narrate it. So, I think it depends on what you're like.
I think also, it probably depends on your voice. I think some people have got voices that are easier to hear. If you've got a real hardcore accent, you might struggle with getting wide listenership in different countries. So, I think there are quite a few things to consider before doing it yourself.
But on the other hand, surely, if you can, it's the best thing to hear the author telling their story in their own voice. And then you just have to decide what to do about accents. Because my book was about walking across India, I thought, ‘Do I start to try and do an Indian accent?' I thought, ‘No, that is just going to be an appalling thing to do.' But Spain, I quite fancy my Spanish accent, so who knows?
Joanna Penn: Talking about speaking, I've heard you speak and I know people ask you questions about, ‘If I do an adventure, can I just get a book deal and that will give me a million pounds and thus I am going to just do it for the rest of my life?' So, what's the reality if people want to get into travel writing as a career? Is it based on book sales?
What is the business model of a travel writer/entrepreneur/adventurer?
Alastair Humphreys: I think the first thing to do if you want to be a travel writer is to go traveling. I think quite a lot of people worry about getting publishers, and agents, and stuff like that before they're doing anything.
Really the thing to do is just get yourself out the front door and go do something massive, crazy, exciting, quirky, whatever it is, but something that you personally are genuinely very, very excited and passionate about. Go do that, write your diary, and come home.
Once you've come home, write your book. It'll be absolute rubbish, so you spend a few months writing. It's absolutely terrible first draft. Then rip it all up, rewrite it again, gradually you're starting to get to a point where you've got something, something that's a little bit good.
But still, no one knows who you are. That's why I spent years building up a blog audience. These days it's social media audience, YouTube audience. And so, I've been working away at this now for, gosh, getting on towards two decades of more or less fulltime travel writing adventure. And I still can no way live from my books, which I know you will berate me for, for all sorts of reasons…
Joanna Penn: No. Not at all.
Alastair Humphreys: But the reality is I make my living out of speaking, giving talks about the travel stuff that I do and these days, making films about the travels, things for brand partners. I'm a long way off actually earning a living from writing itself. I think anyone needs to bear that in mind.
Really, even if you somehow, fluke yourself on massive hit, in the travel sector, you're not going to be retiring on that for sure. Writing needs to be part of a bigger portfolio of things that you're interested in doing, which may well include a fulltime job that happens to give you two months off a year to go traveling and you write your book in the evenings. So, I think that's as sensible an option as any.
Joanna Penn: That's fantastic. And, of course, this show is all about multiple streams of income.
Alastair Humphreys: I need start listening to this podcast rather than just being on it once a decade.
Joanna Penn: One last question. For these people watching on the video, they can see what's behind you. And there's a globe, and there's lots of books.
Alastair Humphreys: Hopefully, just out of view, there's a massive poster of myself, which is ridiculous. I try and get that just out of sight.
Joanna Penn: I wonder if you'd tell us about your writing space because I think it is quite special and something you worked hard to get to.
Tell us about your shed or, as you call it in the book, your ‘oasis, and teleporter.'
Alastair Humphreys: This is my shed, which I love very, very much. I've been writing in here for four or five years now. I actually bought it when I wrote a book called ‘Microadventures,' which is my biggest ever royalty…no, advance. That's when I hit the big time with my first ever big publisher, and I spent my entire advance on a shed, which gives you an idea of the sort of wealth level of my travel writing.
I built this shed from the advance in that. I've wallpapered it with all the maps that I use for writing the ‘Microadventures' and I've gradually, as you can see, filled it with travel type things and books.
I find having a space that feels inspiring to me really helpful for actually getting on to write a book and having a load of books that I love on the shelves. I take them down and they give me ideas for other sort of things. I find it really, really useful.
I find it very helpful for separating my real life from my working life, and coming here with the attitude of thinking, ‘Right, I'm here now. I need to get on and do some work and write a book.' Rather than what I've spent a lot of time doing, which is, ‘Oh, I am a writer, therefore I'll sit around and drink coffee all day and do absolutely nothing.' So, I found it very, very handy.
On the other hand, I really would caution against thinking that you need to have a proper writing shed in order to write a book. Some bloke called Stephen King wrote a good book about writing and he wrote his first book down in the laundry room. So, you definitely don't need a fancy shed to write a book in, but it certainly helps.
Joanna Penn: We should say Stephen King was working in the laundry as he was in the laundry room. He was working nights in the laundry. But, I think you're right.
It just reminded me of the Virginia Woolf quote or the book, a room of her own. I know it's her own. But because you have kids and a family, so having a space that's separate from like the kitchen table, I think, is fantastic.
Tell people where they can find you, and your books, and films, and everything you do online.
Alastair: Well, thanks to 18 years of blogging, it should be quite easy to find me on the Google. Alastair Humphreys will take you to my website, and Twitter, and Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. I'm active on all of those sorts of things. And then the book is going to be on Amazon, on my website, and all other websites like that.
Joanna Penn: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time, Al. That was great.
Alastair Humphreys: Thanks for having me again.
Yes on continuing your fantasy and audio book—now just need them in audio…🙂!!
Bradley Charbonneau says
Hi Joanna! I know you’re such a fan of audio (as am I) and I came across this 35-minute video that helped me with voice–and how can improve our range (and why to do that).
A voice coach (coach to everyone from Bradley Cooper, Earth, Wind & Fire, to Brendon Burchard) goes through a few tips that I found super helpful.
P.S. You asked about how we listen to podcasts (and/or audio) and how we’ve changed. I’m in the same camp as you are: I hear about someone from one podcast and then often go look that person up. Just like I did with Roger Love.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Bradley, that looks great 🙂
Gunasindhu Saikia says
Wow..it so inspiring.I am starting to write my own book and ended up landi g here..I lucky.