On Writing

Poke Average in the Eye

If you’ve ever seen their “angry beaver” advertising on TV, you’ll have a fair idea of who Duluth Trading Company is. They’re the outdoor gear people with a startlingly good sense of irreverent humor. They take their name from Minnesota’s coldest city, so you know...

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To Write a Book, You Need To Plan for Dragons

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” —JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit Honestly? There are no dragons in this post, I just really like that quote. There are, however, calculations to be made. Plans, intentions, a strategy, if...

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Give People a Magic Wand

The last in a series of seven blog posts on interviewing techniques to draw out people’s most authentic stories. I love asking a speculative question in interviews. These can seem outlandish and a bit crazy, but especially if you’re getting rote responses, they are a...

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Choose Your Words Carefully

Sixth in a series of seven blog posts on interviewing techniques to draw out people’s most authentic stories. Even the smallest words you choose in your questions can make all the difference to whether your interviewee opens up to you or snaps shut like a clam. This...

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Ask All the Challenging Questions

Fifth in a series of seven blog posts on interviewing techniques to draw out people’s most authentic stories. [When a guest is hesitant], I say, hey, our listeners will like you more, will identify with you more, and I promise will be moved by what you say if you can...

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Ask All the Dumb Questions

Fourth in a series of seven blog posts on interviewing techniques to draw out people’s most authentic stories. Maybe you are concerned that if you interview your father, he will be shocked or offended that you know so little about his story. Maybe he will leave out...

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