Ep 44 Our top 10 most downloaded interviews, a surprise Writer in Residence and Christmas shenanigans – see you in 2015!

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In Episode 44 of So you want to be a writer we reveal our top 10 most downloaded interviews for 2014 (in no particular order): Graeme Simsion, Fleur McDonald, Allison Rushby, Kylie Mason, Deborah O’Brien, Liane Moriarty, Lex Marinos, Kylie Ladd, Chris Ducker
and Charlotte Wood.

Click play below to listen to the podcast. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher Radio. Or add the podcast RSS feed manually to your favourite podcast app.

Show Notes

Top 10 most downloaded interviews for 2014 on “So you want to be a writer”, in no particular order.

Graeme Simsion
Fleur McDonald
Allison Rushby
Kylie Mason
Deborah O’Brien
Liane Moriarty
Lex Marinos
Kylie Ladd
Chris Ducker
Charlotte Wood

And this week co-host extraordinare Allison Tait was our (surprise!) Writer in Residence.

Thanks for all your support – we finished the year in the #1 spot for Literature in iTunes! See you in 2015!

Sign up to the Australian Writers’ Centre Newsletter!

Just fill in your details over here.

The Mapmaker Chronicles is on sale!

Find out more here.

Your hosts

Allison Tait
Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers’ Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait
@valeriekhoo

Email us
podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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Transcript

 

Valerie

I think that we’d really like to know is a little bit of your career, and I know you’ve dropped little snippets here and there, but I wanted to do a proper interview with you. So, there you go.

 

Allison

But, I haven’t done my hair or anything, Valerie.

 

Valerie

Oh my god. I’m starting now.

 

Allison

OK, I’m thinking rapidly.

 

Valerie

When did you know that you wanted to write?

 

Allison

See, you’re going to start with the biggies aren’t you? Those are the hard questions. That one —

 

Valerie

Well, you’re smart, you can do it.

 

Allison

Those ones and ‘what’s your favorite book’ are always my favorite questions.

 

Valerie

I promise I won’t ask you what your favorite book is.

 

Allison

Thank you. Look, to be honest with you, I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision that I was going to write. I think it was just always something that I did. I wasn’t that kid that was writing novels or anything like that. I wanted to be a journalist… I remember being in Year 11, and I was quite determined that I was going to go and work at the Sydney Morning Herald and I got work experience there and I went and I did that in the newsroom and I walked away from it just thinking, “I never want to do that.”

 

Valerie

Why?

 

Allison

Because I did two days with the reporters and I remember it was like 5:00 in the morning and we were sitting outside the house of somebody out in the suburbs of Western Sydney and their family had been involved in a terrorist attack or something in Germany and there had been a bomb, and we were on their doorstop at 5:00 in the morning wanting photos from them. I understand that is the news process, I get that, but I didn’t want to do that. I just — like it just turned me off for life. I thought, “If you can’t do that, Allison, then that’s not the job for you.”

 

I kind of walked away from it at that point. I was really quite lost. I was going off to uni to do a BA, you know, like, “Really?”

 

Then I sort of decided that I would do a business college course because my other career plan, and this is very important, my other career plan was I was going to be a Hollywood star.

 

Valerie

Oh.

 

Allison

Yeah, really.

 

Valerie

And you thought the business college course would help you become a Hollywood star?

 

Allison

Yeah, you know why I knew that? Because I knew that Hollywood stars, that actors, had to do a lot of waitressing and stuff like that, like while they were waiting to be famous. I’m a really bad waitress, I had done a few years of waitressing at one of my local cafés and realized that I really needed to go and work at the corner shop instead, so I did that. I thought, “Well, if I learned to type, then I could do that while I’m just waiting for Hollywood to ring me.” So that was my plan.

 

Valerie

Of course.

 

Allison

So that was basically what I decided to do, I would learn to type and then I would wait for Hollywood and then I would go and I would be rich and famous, but that kind of didn’t work out for me. But, what did work out for me is that my business college course got me a job at Federal Publishing and I worked there typing for about 12 months before a cadetship came up, and I put my hand up for the cadetship and convinced them that they needed to turn me into a magazine journalist.

 

Valerie

Wow.

 

Allison

I know.

 

Valerie

What were you typing?

 

 

 

Allison

Oh, I worked at Electronics Australia magazine and Your Computer magazine, and I used to send out… so my job initially was to send out… because on
Electronics Australia magazine it was like all of these electronics projects that you could make at home, like radios and things.

 

Valerie

Oh yes.

 

Allison

So people would write in and they would want the instructions from a back issue like 20 years ago for how to make a radio or whatever, and I would have to find it, photocopy it and send it out to them. That was my first job.

 

Valerie

Oh my goodness.

 

Allison

And I typed all of the letters for the editor. Like, back in the day there was no computer, so I was on a manual typewriter, typing up the correspondence and… yeah, that’s what I did for the first 12 months.

 

Valerie

So you got the cadetship and what happened then?

 

Allison

I got the cadetship and I worked on Prevention magazine for about 12 months, but I also worked at Countdown magazine and got to go out and ask James Reyne what color underpants he wore. I edited a heavy metal magazine for a little while, so I was the actual editor.

 

Valerie

Right.

 

Allison

So I was ringing all of these heavy metal band in the US at like 7:00 in the morning to talk to them about their sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle.

 

Valerie

Do you like heavy metal?

 

Allison

No, not all. The hilarious thing was it was like the late ‘90s and the fashion was awful, like floral frocks with Doc Martins and things like that.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Allison

So I would be sitting in my office in Sydney in my floral frock talking to some bloke wearing black eyeliner and leather over in LA, which was quite hilarious.

 

I did that for a while and I eventually ended up at Australian Country Style magazine, and I was the sub-editor and production editor there until I went to London. I went to London about — I think I had been at Federal Publishing for about three years when I went to London.

 

Valerie

And how long did you spend in London?

 

Allison

I was in London for two years.

 

Valerie

Doing?

 

Allison
Well, I traveled around and drank too much beer and did all of that stuff, as you do.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Allison

But I also managed to get myself a job at Homes and Gardens magazine in Britain, and I worked there as a sub-editor for about 18 months, and I was like their random pet Australian that they used to all stare at. Honestly, you would have thought I was some exotic creature from outer space the way they carried on sometimes. But, anyway…

 

I lived in a share house over there with 70,000 people sleeping on the floor.

 

Valerie

So you came back to Australia and you worked at –?

 

Allison

I came back to Australia and I worked at Vogue magazine. I went to Vogue Australia as the chief sub, I did a maternity leave position there for 12 months, as chief sub, which was a step up for me, which was great. I had the most hilarious steep learning curve about fashion.

 

I remember I’d be sitting there, because it was the chief sub’s job to write a lot of the headlines obviously in the fashion copy and stuff, and I’d be sitting in the fashion cupboard with these glamorous young things in all of their gear and they would be trying to explain to me why the pointy shoe was so important and why that particular A-line skirt was vitally essential. I would be like, “Really? Can you just tell me what it’s for?” Like, “Why do I want to wear this?” They’re like, “Oh, it’s so this…” and it’s, “So that…”

 

So, it was a very, very good learning curve on taking foreign information and turning it into stuff that people could read. It was really, really good for that. But, they were great. That was one of the most glamorous magazine experiences I’ve ever had, it was fantastic. Loved it — loved it.

 

 

Valerie

Then you moved onto –?

 

Allison

The 12 months was up and I decided at that point that I really didn’t want to edit other people’s copy anymore. I had been writing bits and pieces for the magazines I had worked on all that time, but my main focus at that stage was still editing, it was still
sub-editing and that sort of stuff. I actually just got really sick of getting really bad copy in and making people look good, I got really sick of it. So I decided I was going to be a features writer myself.

 

I got myself a job outside of the industry, I went to work for the public service at the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority as their publications coordinator. I basically like put together brochures for them during the day and I started freelancing. My first job was at Cosmo and I started to just build my portfolio from there. I also started, because the job was so boring and I had so much time on my hands, I started writing romance fiction while I was sitting in my office.

 

Valerie

Oh, even back then?

 

Allison

Even back then, because I was just like, “Well, I need something to do here that makes me look busy, I know I’ll write a book.”

 

Valerie

Why romance fiction?

 

Allison

Well, it made sense to me at the time, romance fiction, because I had been working in magazines and I sort of thought… the way that romance fiction works is that there are so many different — they call them lines and each line has a certain level of sex or a certain level of humor, or a certain level of dastardly sheiks taking women across the desert somewhere — all of that sort of stuff. So you could choose a line that kind of appealed to you and you had an idea of the voice that you needed for that and stuff.

 

It was like magazines in a way, like I thought it made sense, like I could write the line and I had a target market and demographic and all of that sort of stuff. And that was a good theory, shall we say, but it didn’t work out like that, because there’s a lot more to romance than meets the eye.

 

I found that I could write the stories all right, but what I really, really struggled with was not getting bored with trying to keep an emotional bond going for 55,000 words. I really struggled with that, and I kept bringing in too many characters and there was too much going on, but anyway, that’s when I started writing my first one, when I was working at the Sydney Cove Authority.

 

Valerie

Gosh. OK, so then you were freelancing and then what happened?

 

 

Allison

So I was freelancing and then I applied for a job at Cleo and I got it. So, I went to Cleo, my title at the time was the lifestyle editor, I went to Cleo and I was at Cleo for nearly two years. It was my first full time writing job, like I had written, obviously, brochures [inaudible; 0:32:43.9], I was freelancing and stuff like that, but that’s where you really learn about deadlines and really, really learn about productivity is working in an environment like that.

 

It was a huge upswing for me, and managing sort of all of the different interviews that you needed. Of course, we’re talking about a time when you couldn’t just google an association for people who… so when you’re looking for case studies you’re on the phone and you’re through the yellow pages and you’re like ringing people up cold, saying, “How would you like to be in my story about women who were left at the altar?”

 

It’s stuff like that, it was hard work in a lot of ways, but a lot of fun. Everybody dressed like they were going to a cocktail party everyday, so you the atmosphere around you is really quite fun. But, it was a really, really good grounding in, “This is how you meet a deadline,” and, “This is how you get the words done,” because if you didn’t get the words done you got into big trouble, basically.

 

Valerie

Absolutely, and that’s where I met you.

 

Allison
And that’s where we met, exactly.

 

Valerie

Do you remember those, speaking of those glamorous environments and things like that, we need had to buy make up or lipstick or perfume — ever.

 

Allison

No, I had truckloads of the stuff.

 

Valerie

Truckloads… and CDs and books…

 

Allison
CDs, you’d go home with bags full of stuff.

 

Valerie

Yeah, bagfuls. Do you remember, we used to have those — they called the ‘grabs’ at the time, I’m sure every magazine has a different term for it, but where all of the free stuff gets piled into this huge table in the middle and everyone has a go and picks one thing and it just goes on forever, because there’s so much stuff, and you end up with all of this makeup and perfumes and… you know, stuff.

 

Allison

And so much stuff you never used.

 

Valerie

Yeah, that’s so true.

 

Allison

I used to give a lot of it away.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Allison

Because I never used it.

 

Valerie

Then after Cleo you went to?

 

Allison

I did two years at Cleo and I, at that point, decided that I could not write another orgasm story to save myself.

 

Valerie

Yeah, I know.

 

Allison

Do you know what really tipped me over the edge? Let me tell you about my defining moment at Cleo, because it’s really quite fun. I was doing a story where I had to get ten guys to identify the clitoris on a diagram, it was called Can He Find Your Clitoris? So, I had to find ten guys willing to identify the clitoris with an ‘x’ on a diagram and then have their photo next to it with who they were and how many girlfriends they’d had, and all of this kind of stuff.

 

Valerie

Oh my god.

 

Allison

Yeah, a really high point in my journalistic career.

 

But, one of these guys I had to go to Kings Grove petrol station. I took the train out there I had to go to Kings Grove petrol station and meet him there, so on the bonnet of his car he identified the clitoris on a diagram for me and I had to take a photo of him against the petrol station wall and get him to fill out the questionnaire and head back into Sydney. I got back to Sydney and I walked into the office of the editor and I said, “OK, that’s me done. This is my notice. I’m finished. I’m not doing this anymore.” It completely tipped me over the edge.

 

Valerie

I didn’t even know that.

 

Allison

No… that was the low point. And then I went to work for HQ magazine.

 

Valerie

Yes!

 

Allison

Three days a week I went back to subbing three days a week and decided that I would just focus on my freelancing career at that point. That is what I had decided to do, because I thought, “I just need to get away from this.”

 

Valerie

During this time were you writing the romance novel? Were you writing other things?

 

Allison

During that time I wasn’t writing very much of anything, because I was writing so much at work and I was working such long hours that my writing — the writing kind of inspiration thing was being fulfilled to a degree, beyond the clitoris story, but writing for magazines like that is a lot of fun and you’ve really got to work hard to get the voice right and all of that sort of stuff. I was doing an awful lot of writing, so I wasn’t writing fiction at all, that had just gone on hold while I worked at my career at that point.

 

I was also at that stage still thinking that maybe I wanted to edit a magazine, like I was still thinking that career trajectory might be towards going into that. But, I think being at Cleo showed me that being an editor would take me away from what I liked doing the most and that was the writing, because essentially as the editor of a magazine, and it’s even more so now, but as an editor of a magazine you’re running a business. You’re essentially the business manager and it’s your job to make sure that the content is going to sell and the cover lines and things like that, but you’re also in 1,000 meetings a day with advertisers and 1,000 meetings a day with management. It just really opened my eyes to the fact that probably wasn’t actually what I wanted.

 

When I went sideways a little bit, back to HQ and back to sort of thinking that I would focus on freelancing, at that point I started to reconsider writing fiction again. But, then I went and worked at House & Garden three days a week as their features editor, and I did that for a couple of years. We’ve talked about this before in workshops and things we’ve done, you can never underestimate the absolute bonus that a two or three day week job can be while building a freelance career.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Allison

I had the three days where I was really, really busy and then I had two days at home in which I was freelancing, and I was freelancing a lot. I had a lot of work at that point, because I was still writing a lot for Cleo. I was freelancing not just for — not just working three days a week at House & Garden, but also freelancing for them, because there was a lot of stuff that needed to be written. So, I was doing a lot of work.

 

I did that for two years, and then I went back to Cleo three days a week as the online editor, which was great, because it was a new — it was very new then, websites and things. I had got in at the ground floor and I learned a lot about how it worked and then I got pregnant.

 

Valerie

Ah-ha.

 

Allison

Ah-ha. I was still freelancing and I was pregnant and I decided at that point that I was going to freelance full time I wasn’t going to go back.

 

Valerie

Wow. When you decided to freelance full time did the fiction and other types of writing step up?

 

Allison

Yes. Absolutely. When I was at home with the baby and I was freelancing — I wrote my first freelance story when my oldest son was about three months old. I continued working with the freelance stuff, but obviously as much as you can around a baby. So, it was kind of like a part time thing at that stage still.

 

I started writing fiction to keep my mind from going insane. That’s basically why I started. I would just sort of sit there at night when everyone else was asleep and I was awake, and I was an insomniac as well and I just started writing fiction again, quite furiously.

 

Valerie

But, why fiction? Because you could have stopped yourself from going insane by writing articles.

 

Allison

No, that would have just driven me more insane.

 

Valerie

Really?

 

Allison
Yeah, it would have, because fiction was something that I could do completely independently of anybody else, whereas freelance writing requires interviews, requires phone calls, requires all of those things. So, I did those things, I made all of those phone calls and did all of that stuff in the 45 minutes in the middle of the day when my son had a sleep. I was wedging them in around sleeps. I was sitting there with him on my lap at one stage trying to do an interview with a guy. It’s really difficult to juggle that, you can never underestimate how difficult it can be.

 

But at night he had gone to bed, my husband’s a builder, so he would go to bed early, I would be sitting there and I would go, “I’m going to do this, I’m going to have a go at this.” I had been writing some short stories and I had them published in Women’s Day and various magazines that I had written for, so I had written some short fiction stories and I thought, “I’m going to go back to this and see if I can make it work. I also started going to the romance writers’ conferences at that stage.

 

Valerie

Did most of your fiction have a romance theme at the time?

 

 

 

 

Allison

Yes, at that stage I was still thinking that I would write romance fiction, because my thinking on it was most of those romance girls are writing — at that stage they were writing a minimum of about four books a year.

 

So you’d write a book every three months, it was like a contract situation and it was almost like the — it was the very earliest stages of write, publish, repeat — do you know what I’m saying? That model was set up by the romance publishers really, because they put new books out every six weeks.

 

There’s a lot of certainty of knowledge around that romance market, there’s a lot of information available about it. So, being me, I did a lot of research and it made sense — again, it still made sense to me to do that, to write that sort of work. Because I had read it, I really liked it in my late teens and stuff like that. I must of have read a million of them when I was about 17.

 

Valerie

Did you read all of the Sweet Dreams books?

 

Allison

I read all of those — Sweet Valley High. I read everything. When you’re a voracious reader, like I am, series are a really good thing.

 

Yeah, so the first novel I ever wrote was a romance novel and the second novel I ever wrote was also a romance novel, category romance right straight down the line, and then I won a mentor in a competition and I was sending her this second book that I was writing and she kept saying to me, “Allison, I think you need a broader canvas…” “Allison, I think you need a broader canvas… try something bigger.” So that’s when I sat down to write my first commercial women’s fiction was after this mentor said to me, “I just think you need something with 90,000 words, you’ve got to go bigger, so I did.

 

Valerie

When you’ve got the background that you have had and it’s very much feature writing and non-fiction, it is steeped in journalism, it’s facts and interviews, they essentially shape the story. Of course, you bring the story to life, but the facts are the facts and they exist, you don’t have to make them up. But, when it comes to writing fiction it has to come from your imagination, where do you get your inspiration from, the ideas for your stories?

 

Allison

Always from around me. I know people say that and you kind of look at them like, “What are you talking about? There’s nothing down on the South Coast.” But ideas come from conversations that you have or from things that you’re going through.

 

The first commercial women’s fiction novel that I wrote, I wrote it at a time when my husband and I were talking about moving to the South Coast. I went to high school down here, so for me it was like coming back. In some ways I had a real issue with it, because in some ways it feels like a failure to return to your hometown, even though you’re coming back for different reasons, for whatever reasons you’ve got. I basically wrote a book, my first novel explored that.

 

I had three characters at different stages, one of the things I had never really understood, and I still to this day do not understand, is people who grow up in a town like I lived in who don’t ever leave. Who just stay and get married, and they’re happy as clams. They’re so happy. But, I was never that person. To me, writing the novel gave me a chance to kind of explore that world a little bit as well.

 

That’s where the idea for that came from.

 

The idea for The Mapmakers came from two conversations that I had with my son. We were talking about — one night we were standing out the back and he asked me, “How far does space go?” When you start thinking about that and what might be at the edges it really — it hurts your head. Then the next night he sort of asked me, we were reading a Horrible Histories book, which he loves, and he sort of said to me, “How do they map the world?” Because he knows I like maps, I’ve got lots of books about maps and I’ve got antique maps around and various things. I said to him, “Well, they had to go. They had to get in a boat and go out and see what was there.”

 

And then I had that moment of mothering genius where I said to him, “They would have felt exactly the same way as we felt when we looked out into space last night.” Just right there and then I had the idea for the book, right there, just in those conversations. I mean obviously I then went and developed it and I had a race, but I had the idea for a race to map the world and a boy who didn’t want to go, because, seriously, who would? Just right from those two conversations that I had with him.

 

I think ideas are around you, and it’s like I say to my school groups when I go out and do school talks, they’re all around you and it’s a matter of training yourself to see them, that’s what it is.

 

Valerie

How about your earlier romance novels? Where did the inspiration come from for those?

 

Allison

The inspiration for those came from every romance novel that I had ever read and I think that was the problem with them. Do you know what I’m saying? I think what I was trying to do in those stories was to mimic every romance novel that I had ever read and that’s why they didn’t work for me. I think you have to approach a romance novel the same way you would approach any novel, you have to take into that flash of inspiration that just makes an idea come to life.

 

With The Mapmakers it was just I couldn’t not write that idea. It was so interesting to me that I couldn’t not write it. So, I think, you know, you have to look for those ideas, you have to look for the ones that give you little goose bumps and make you go, “Oh, that could be really good,” those ones are the ones you look for.

 

Valerie

Now the first book in The Mapmakers Chronicles has done ridiculously well, it’s already in reprint.

 

Allison

Yes, and it’s actually being reprinted again I found out today.

 

Valerie

Oh my god.

 

Allison

I know, I’m just about to announce that.

 

Valerie

Congratulations.

 

Allison

I know, it’s very exciting, yes.

 

Valerie

Wow, and also very exciting that you were in the top ten books of 2014.

 

Allison

Yes, that was on Bookworld.

 

Valerie

Yeah, from Bookworld.

 

Allison

It’s made a few of the Best of 2014 lists, which is just really overwhelming to be honest.

 

Valerie

Yeah, wonderful. Book two comes out next year, what month again?

 

Allison

It comes out at the beginning of April in 2015.

 

Valerie

Book three?

 

Allison

Book three is out October 2015.

 

Valerie

OK, so now you’ve written book three and what are you working on now?

 

Allison

Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? I have written book three, my publisher has done the structural edit on it and I’m just going through that at the moment, just finishing a few things and adding a few bits and pieces in and stuff. I’ve been proofreading book two, so they’re pretty much done. A part of me just doesn’t want to let go of them, so I think I’m going to tinker with that for a bit longer.

 

But, I have been considering my next move. I have just handed to my agent a manuscript for another commercial women’s fiction novel. So, I’ve just sent that to my agent. I finished that last week, which was exciting.

 

I’ve spent some time thinking about what I might do for next year. I’ve got quite a few festivals to go to, and school group things to do and stuff like that. I guess I’m at that point now where I have to balance in promotional stuff as well as writing stuff and all of that sort of thing. I have somebody who has approached me wanting me to do a non-fiction project. So, I’m considering whether I might do that.

 

To be honest with you, I think I just need to lie down for a few weeks.

 

Valerie

Yeah, fair enough.

 

Allison

And give it some thought, because it’s not —

 

Valerie

In our first episode back in 2015 you’ll tell us.

 

Allison

Oh, sure. Yeah. I’ll be totally ready. I will be lying on the beach, thinking to myself, “What am I going to do in 2015?” I mean I guess the joyous thing is that I have some options, I’ve got things to choose from, so that’s always a really nice place to be.

 

Valerie

Yes. So when you are writing, in the middle of writing a book, tell us about your writing routine, because there’s that book that we’ve referred to in the podcast before called Daily Rituals and it’s about how some artists and authors have a daily ritual that they stick with no matter what. Do you have any rituals before you start writing or anything like that to get you into the zone?

 

Allison
Not really, because I’m usually working on so many different things, like I’m still doing freelance work, I’m still doing writing websites, I’m still doing social media work. I’ve got a whole lot of things on. Basically, I sit down, I send myself an email every night of all of the things that I need to do the next day. I have a look at that, I work where the priorities are, and obviously the paid work is always prioritized, the deadlines are prioritized, if it’s due that day, clearly that’s what you work on.

 

I look at that and then when I’m actually writing a novel I just basically try to get some words done everyday. I don’t put pressure on myself to do 1,000 or anything like that, but I try to push the story forward everyday. So I start on a certain day and I usually have in my head, like with The Mapmakers Chronicles, both of those books that I wrote in 2014, my deadlines have been fairly tight this year. I like to get a first draft down, I just really like to push forward and get that first — I’m that person. I’m not someone who sits there and edits everyday, I don’t go back, I don’t go back and edit or anything like that. I read the last few paragraphs of where I was up to and then I just go forward. I just write and write and write until I stop. I stop at a natural place.

 

If I’m writing and writing and writing and writing and if I write 400 words and they feel like I’m walking through concrete I go and weed the garden.

 

 

Valerie

Yeah, sure.

 

Allison

Whereas other days I’ll sit down and I’ll write 2,000 words in an hour, you know? So it just depends on the day, but I don’t put pressure on myself, I just try to push the book forward, I just try to keep the momentum going forward.

 

Valerie

I think that’s kind of cute. You send yourself an email everyday of all of the things that you need to do.

 

Allison

I do. Do you know why I do that?

 

Valerie

Tell me.

 

Allison

I do that because I am an insomniac and if I don’t write it down before I go to bed, like it’s the last thing that I do everyday is I write this list and I email it to myself and then I know that I can go to bed and everything is there. I don’t have to lie there thinking, “Oh, what if I forget to do that?” “What if I forget to do that?” “Oh, did I do that?” “Oh, did I do that?” So, it’s all there. I learned that from a sleep psychologist years and years and years ago — this is the other great thing about features writing, you get to talk to all the experts.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Allison

I was having trouble with insomnia so I did a story about that and I got to talk to, like, Australia’s number one sleep psychologist. It was she who suggested writing it all down before you go to bed and then you don’t have that mind churn that you can have. So, I’ve just always done it and now I just email it myself because I can’t read my handwriting.

 

Valerie

And so when you wake up in the morning and you open your email do you ever reply?

 

Allison

To myself? No. I don’t, but I do take an enormous amount of joy about deleting things during the day. I open it up and then I just delete bits of it until it’s pristinely empty — love it. Love it. I know.

 

Valerie

All right.

 

Allison

Whatever gets you through, Val, right?

 

Valerie

Yes. I love it. You can reply to yourself and say, “Nah, not doing that. I don’t have time. Get real.”

 

Allison

Don’t be ridiculous. I’ll forward it to you.

Crazy woman.

 


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