Sep 11, 2021
The intersection between digital media and the more slow, meandering works of book authorship is one that, on its surface, might not seem to be well populated. But these days, to be a writer at all means being a lot of different things. You might work across channels, platforms, industries, styles, digital and print, freelance and newsroom, and all that mode switching is a lot. It’s just, a lot.
The folks I’ve seen handle it really well tend to think and work in big phases - blogging or freelancing for a year and then diving into book writing for another year - reemerging some time later to ramp up their speedy output again. It’s an ebb and flow kind of thing, even if the changes aren’t so clearly defined as they might like.
And underneath all this is the need to have a personal life that feels more continuous and permanent in some way. Some sort of arc of the author’s own story and interests that might never make it to the page or the browser, but certainly serve as a sort of invisible-to-the-reader backdrop for the things they write about most often. These things can be world-shaping, and perspective-creating and often, lost in the rigamarole of just trying to keep up with the work.
Today’s guest, Emma Janzen, has been through all that - and this past year she’s found herself taking a big step back and weighing it all - sifting through the things that bring her joy and those things that maybe just ping her inbox, insufferably, with little value or meaning.
She’s written full-length books and worked as a digital editor, often at the same time, and most recently found a collaborative process she really enjoys. All while navigating a pandemic and it’s many disruptions - some welcome, some not - to the path she was on.
I’m sitting down with her on a farm in Michigan near where she’s been living, writing, and gardening. You’ll hear the airiness and insect-laden sounds of the farm itself as we share a couple pints from River St John brewery on-site - which if you haven’t been is a remarkable place full of saisons and freshly harvest vegetables, and on this particular day, a dead-of-summer sun that just wouldn’t quit. If sweat made a sound - you’d hear it.