Writerly Lifestyle

What is Gentle Productivity and Why Do Writers Need It? Freelance Writer, Author, Writing Coach Paulette Perhach Explains (Season 2 Episode 3)

May 23, 2022 David Season 2 Episode 3
Writerly Lifestyle
What is Gentle Productivity and Why Do Writers Need It? Freelance Writer, Author, Writing Coach Paulette Perhach Explains (Season 2 Episode 3)
Show Notes Transcript

Writerly Lifestyle Free Newsletter
Paulette's Website
Connect with Paulette on Twitter
Connect with David on Twitter


  1. Focusing too much on productivity can be...unproductive
  2. Writing is a process and focus on the process instead of the results (especially rejections)
  3. Don’t be afraid of the business of writing

Last time on the interview series I talked to professional editor, Ericka Baldwin. She had so much information about how to find an editor, what to do when you're done with your first draft, and more! 

But today we're talking about productivity, what to look for in a routine, how to approach your day, how to handle rejection. Plus, what to think about if you're looking for a writing coach and more! 

Paulette Perhach is an amazing writer, coach, and all around hilarious human being. You're going to really love this interview!

Paulette Perhach has been published in the New York Times, Vox, Elle, Slate, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire, Yoga Journal, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hobart, and Vice.

She wrote a book called Welcome to the Writer's Life which was selected as one of Poets & Writers' Best Books for Writers

On her blog, she talks about writer’s craft, business, personal finance, and joy at welcometothewriterslife.com and leads meditation and writing sessions through A Very Important Meeting.

She also works with writers as a coach to help them figure out how to build their writing careers. 

Learn more about her here.

Tweet me @DavidRGwyn
Check out the YouTube Channel

Paulette Perhach: [00:00:00] Did you just say productivity journey? 

David Gwyn: I didn't mean to, 

I am so excited to share this interview with you. If there's anything I know about writers, it's that we're always looking for a way to boost our productivity. We obsess over the kind of writer we are. Plotters pantsers somewhere in between. We want more words in less time. We want to edit on the go. We want the publishing industry to move more quickly.

So why are we so obsessed with productivity? Because we want to write more books and reach more readers. There are so many interesting things in the. So today we're talking about productivity, what to look for in a routine, how to approach your day, how to handle rejection. What to think about if you're looking for a writing coach and more, I got to talk to Paulette, Perhach she's an amazing writer and book, coach and all around hilarious human being.

She's written for the New York times. Vox L slate, cosmopolitan glamor, McSweeney's Hobart, vice, and more. [00:01:00] If anyone can teach us a thing or two about getting writing, done, it's Paulette. I was drawn to her idea of gentle productivity. And we talk about being comfortable with our own writing and about handling rejection.

So if you've ever felt like you wanted to get more writing done or felt guilty for not writing, then this is the interview for you because you shouldn't feel like that. And yes, I'm talking as much to myself as I am to you. So Paulette is going to spill all her writerly secrets starting now. 

So you do a bunch of things. 

You're a writing coach, a freelancer working on a novel you're ghostwriting. I don't even know where to begin, but I guess the best place maybe to begin is what made you decide to be a writer. 

Paulette Perhach: All my feelings, probably when I was a little kid, I have a very specific memory of being upset and then writing.

And I was probably 10 years old. And then like really realizing they're like, oh, all these words that were like in my head kind of swirling around are now on the page. You [00:02:00] know, sitting still and like, I feel more calm. My best friend. Growing up, their grandmother was also a very successful romance novelist.

She was like on 48 hours. And so I'm sure that affected me. And then in high school, I was at something called apifany in my very Greek hometown, and a reporter came up and interviewed me about it. And I was like, oh, that's so cool. Like, they're not like in an office. They it's just like, go hang out everywhere.

It's really fun. So let me do that. And yeah, and I you know, just everything from, from middle school yearbook on that's what I was. That's cool. 

David Gwyn: And so was that, I mean, you really early on, did you always know that you could make a living at full-time as a writer? I mean, was that something that was on your radar or did, did anyone tell you to like have a realistic goal along the way?

Paulette Perhach: Yeah, I mean, I told my best friends at the bus stop in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. And my, the one, the granddaughter of the romance novelist said, do you have any idea how hard that is? [00:03:00] And she was totally right. I didn't. Yeah. But what was funny was I grew up in a very financially chaotic household and being a writer and especially a reporter was my way to get things that otherwise cost money.

I actually had such a narrow viewpoint as someone who didn't have access to a lot of money that like, it wasn't like, oh, well, earn enough money to do that. It's like, how can I get to do X, Y, Z oh, a magazine will send me. Which was a thing when I was 10 years old and is very much so, less a thing. Now that I'm 20.

David Gwyn: Yeah. So what are you working on now? What's the, what's the like big project you're working on. 

Paulette Perhach: I have a novel that is taking me forever. I try to work on that every day and the last. The more doubt. I feel the less likely I'm to work on it. And the more I work on it, the more likely I am feel to feel hopeful.

I'm like, oh, that's so scary. Like this is goofy. I love it. [00:04:00] And then I do my morning pages through my meditation and writing group called a very important meeting, which is just getting cooler and cooler as we go on. And I coach writers. And I'm helping four people with book proposals right now. And it was so funny.

I just got a reminder of just how, how many different kinds of projects I do. I was helping a guy who was applying for the broken wing award, which is an award. They give people who navigate the crash of, I believe any kind of aircraft in the military. And so I helped him prepare 4,000 word document about his helicopter crash in the middle east.

And that was like bananas. And he just texted me last night. He's like my entire team was awarded the broken wing award. And I was like, yes, like, cause it was, you know, it wasn't like an assured thing. So it was really, that was really fun. That's so cool. 

David Gwyn: And, and how do you, I mean, I can't even imagine starting, like how do you get through these projects?

Are you just like digging out? Do you go like [00:05:00] writing process first or are you like, are they sending you words? Like what does that look like? Or is it different? 

Paulette Perhach: It is definitely different. Every time I'm helping, you know, the four people I'm helping with their book proposals. One person just needs a co-writer because English is their second language and she doesn't have a narrative background.

Another person completely wants me to ghost write it for her. So there's always, I think, really starting with what they want in the end. So, you know, it was interesting with this award, he needed a, he needed a persuasive document. Right. He needed people to believe he deserved this award. And so going into persuasive writing with him, and, and all the proof and the evidence, not just being like I deserve this award. So it's interesting how, you learn these skills as a writer and they can be applied in so many different ways. I mean the same narrative structure that is going to, be the engine of my novel is also the engine of a great PowerPoint presentation.

And that's pretty cool when you realize. Yeah, less profanity, usually in a [00:06:00] PowerPoint, 

David Gwyn: usually, usually, usually. And so I, is that, would you consider those, are those freelance jobs, is that writing coach, like how do you delineate between the two? 

Paulette Perhach: Yeah. You know, that is freelancing for sure. And coaching versus writing.

Definitely a fluid line. It's really fun when I'm just coaching, because it's so easy to see what other people need to do and to tell other people what to do. It's like, oh, this is great. Super easy. So, you know, with my coaching, I have a program which is a 10 week program called your personal editor and people, you know, that is definitely has more of a structure where people come in, they read their work out loud, then we workshop.

, I just had a student who's like, I'm not ready to read this out loud. I was like, okay. You know? And so I definitely adjust. I'm like, it's just me. Like, I'm here to get you where you want to go. Right. Because everyone comes looking for a writer to get something and really focusing on how do we get that [00:07:00] thing?

Whether it's more confidence, more time, more words on the page. A completed document. A book deal, something like that. You start there and then you reverse engineer. Hmm. 

David Gwyn: That's so interesting. And so when, you know, a lot of people who listen to this podcast are writers. And so writing coaching is something that I'm hearing more about, and maybe I'm just like, kind of falling into those spaces, but what should, if writers are looking for a writing coach, like, what do you suggest they look for?

What are some things they should think about? 

Paulette Perhach: Oh, oh yes, I have I had a terrible experience, which was a great fodder for a blog post because as someone who has studied sales, I. wrote Proposals for a tech company helps sell $10 million in, in in tech products. And I would be in these kind of sales seminars. And I had an experience with a woman who like you could just tell she took some kind of slimy seminar and no matter how I answered her questions, I was just getting wrapped tighter and tighter in her web of [00:08:00] hard sales.

And she's, you know, Oh, my God. She's trying to make me make a decision right on the call. So you should have someone who you feel like cares about your success has done what you want to do, and really doesn't make you feel pressured to spend more than you're comfortable with or put it on your credit card.

That is a really bad behavior that I've heard of. You know, if I actually did put a, I did. Okay. So I took a coaching course with the sales. He gets person I've ever met because I want it to get just, I wanted to get a little salesy because like writers, we can't sell at all. And she convinced me to put it on my credit card and write.

And I don't regret that because I've made, you know, it really did help me establish my business. So that was fine. So, but I think if you're looking for a writing coach, looking for someone that makes you feel comfortable yet pushed, not someone who Feels like they're just trying to make a sale or, you know, [00:09:00] like talks real fast that you, or I don't know, it's just that gut feeling.

And I did, I ended up hiring someone who I just was as much as the other person who she scoffed when I said I couldn't afford this. And then she sent me an email after our call and she said, I said, I would follow. And I just don't think I'm the right person to work with you with your level of commitment, AKA the money I had to spend.

I think I would just push you so far out of your comfort zone. It would just paralyze you. And I was like, this is the grossest email I've ever gotten in my life. I immediately forwarded it to like five of my friends in there. You is so designed to make me be like, no, please take me on I'll pawn my car.

Like, oh, just so gross. Right. Someone who wants to work with you help you pay for it, you know? Yeah. I don't know. Just someone who doesn't feel like. And someone who's work you admire. 

David Gwyn: I think, I think that's a good point like that, that feeling, that kind of litmus test of just like, how do you feel getting into it?

I think being [00:10:00] guilted into it is never the feeling you want into a relationship with a writing coach. So I, I know that you, you do the a very important meeting. Meditation. And so I don't meditate. Am I a bad person? 

Paulette Perhach: Oh yeah. We're going to have to 

David Gwyn: stop. That's what I figured. I figured I was a terrible person, but I had no idea.

Paulette Perhach: No, it's So I just went to AWP and I got there. I had to leave at four in the morning, arrived at 6:00 PM after a layover. And I had trouble getting the trolley to the hotel. And by the time I was walking to the hotel desk, I was dreaming of that bed. And I was just going to flop on that bed and it was going to be so good.

And they're going no other humans. Oh my God. It was gonna be so nice. And I get there. Somehow my name hadn't gotten on the reservation and I was going to have to wait four more hours in the hotel lobby and I could feel how much I wanted to just Karen out. And after two years of doing a very important meeting and doing meditation, [00:11:00] I really, I just noticed this whole shift of like, oh, I can look at that desire to Karen out and this rage inside me and I can just like, let.

Simmer and let it go. And then I was like, okay, I'll just go work in the, in the bar. The wifi was down in the. And I was like four hours. And then the whole weekend, I was like I was like, man, this meditation is really kicking in. I feel really good about this. And then that Monday I lost my car key to the rental car for four hours.

I looked three hours that night until two in the morning. And then I had it. I looked another hour in the morning and the whole time. It's like, there's this joke that we don't meditate to get good at meditation. We meditate to get good to life. And sometimes I'll tweet, like we don't meditate to get good at meditation.

We meditate for when we have to go to ups, you know? And it's like looking for that car key, which is very triggering because I used to lose things all the time. It wasn't pleasant by any means, but like I never flipped. Right. [00:12:00] Like I was able to maintain. And so that's why I really love and appreciate meditation.

You don't have to do it. There's a lot of tools I don't use. It's one tool available and like, it's, it's really cool to see all the writers when we do a 10 minute meditation at the beginning of the writing, and then we do 45 minutes of writing together. People who've never done that before saying, oh my gosh, you know, wow.

I was really able to like drop it in much faster and get more done. Yeah. 

David Gwyn: Wow. And so when does that happen? Like when are, when are those meetings? How can people join? 

Paulette Perhach: Yeah, we have 17 meetings a week, so we have three on weekday mornings and then one on Saturday, one on Sunday, and you can go to a very important meeting.com and find them there.

And so, you know, it's just small groups and yeah, it's just a very lovely community. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, I think I'm going to have to join. I'm typically, you know I have like a two year old in one hand and like a six month old and the other and like bodily fluid, like I'm just gonna sit up and like, whatever else.[00:13:00]

I feel like that's what I need the meditation. I need like to tap into that for sure. That would definitely be helpful for me. 

Paulette Perhach: My Buddhist friends moved to Myannmar and it was going to be this whole like meditation thing. And then in me and Mar they like blast music in the streets to scare away ghosts.

And I was like, wow, like what a place to meditate. And he goes, it's actually the perfect place to it. You know, it's like, we're always meditating in the real world. I'm, you know, I'm going around right now. I'm dog sitting and I'm like, I'm like, there could be barks. There could be baby cries, and there's one woman.

She was just like sitting on the ground next to her baby on, on the floor, you know? And I'm just like, yes, I love that. Like, silence is nice, but it's not always an option. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's great. So I want to shift gears slightly and, and make another confession, which is that I'm an absolute productivity junkie.

Like I cannot relax and I think maybe the meditation maybe goes in with this. Maybe this isn't quite a pivot as much as I thought. I in, in listening to your interview that you did with, with [00:14:00] Emma Dhesi, you talked about productivity, but you talked about it and. I think the, the phrase use was gentle productivity where like you value productivity.

But and I think I really need that. And so I think there's a lot of writers out there who are, I'm getting up early and writing, going to a day job coming home and writing, you know, doing, you know, whatever with kids and going straight to bed, getting up early, like that kind of that hustle that isn't always the best.

And so can you talk a little bit about how you think about productivity? 

Paulette Perhach: Yeah. So I'm going to read you this excerpt from a poem that I read a poem at the end of every one of my meditations, and this is what I read over and over. It's just a, it's a max ermine excerpt. He says beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be.

So to me, that is about getting up, doing my work when I'm tired, I sleep, you know, sorry, this is a very mean to say that to parents of young children when I'm hungry, I eat right. And. [00:15:00] Not thinking that you're going to get to a place of perfection, not thinking that, you know, if I can just get these hundred to do's done today, I will be a worthy person.

I think that's a place that before, you know, like when I did peace Corps was so funny, I could have chilled out so much more than I did, but I was like, I have to be a good, I have to be a good peace Corps volunteer spoiler. I wasn't. But I really tried and in a lot of ways And so like, it's so hard to get things done locally, but like, I'm like I have to make, I made a podcast during peace Corps to teach the indigenous language in English or as well as I could learning it myself.

Because I just, I had to get something done. I couldn't just chill out. And so my, my Paraguayan buddies were great. They were a great help in helping me to chill out. And so, yeah, it's always a balance because it's always, you could live to a hundred, you could die tomorrow. So what does that mean about today?

Like you can't live each day, like the last day of your life, or you will not have a home. Because last day of my [00:16:00] life, We're going to be out and not going to work. It's going to be all like donuts and donuts and party time donuts and gin. So yeah, that's a really tough, I think how hard should we work is like a fundamental question.

That has no real answer. And you know, people are like, oh, it depends on what you want. And I'm having this thing lately. I mean, I'm 40, I'm turning 40 this year. I keep saying it to like, prepare myself. It's not going to happen until July, but I'm like, I'm 40, you're getting ready. You're going to be 40. And like, a lot of my friends have like second homes now and I'm like experiences over things I'm like, but also things.

So I'm kind of in a place where I'm like, well, I'm going to work a little harder because. Like some more things. I don't know. Yeah. It's really tough. And it varies among, you know, among cultures, among people. So I have no idea. Yeah, how's that for an answer? It's a 

David Gwyn: great answer. I feel like it's the right answer.

I think if you, if you said this is what you should do, I'd be like a little bit more skeptical. But I think [00:17:00] it is, it's one of those things where you're just, you're trying to figure it out. And, and I mean, for me, I have no boundaries. I will work until I pass out, but like, that's not good. That's 

Paulette Perhach: not good.

I will do. And I did that, especially during during lockdown, I was like, well, I'm just going to be a workaholic. Yeah. Because I'm going to be a holic of something during this time. 

David Gwyn: That's maybe the safer one, but maybe not. So I want to ask actually for personal reasons, because I'm interested. I, I found when I kind of doing some research before we were chatting, I, I found the, the writers mission control center deluxe.

And so how does that fit in with your productivity? Cause that. Like the system that I need. I'm one of those people who like, has the papers everywhere kind of thing. And so , is that, was that part of your productivity journey? Is that something that came out later? Like where does that fit in?

Paulette Perhach: Did you just say productivity journey? 

David Gwyn: I didn't mean to,

you know, what? I think it fits [00:18:00] I'm on a productivity journey and I'm, I am, that's why we're talking 

Paulette Perhach: because you're, I want to be on a productivity journey. If I'm on a productivity journey I want off and went off this 

David Gwyn: ride. Well, maybe we're leaving productivity on a journey to, to less. I'm trying to 

Paulette Perhach: just let it go.

Just let notes. Yeah. Okay. So the writer's mission control center that is it started, it started way back in college. When I got out of taking foreign language classes by taking three semesters of personal software. So my final project was a 200 page business plan and Excel. When it, when I printed it, it was 200.

So a little bit ago, and you'd like everything about Excel. And I was like, oh my God, this is so, so I just last year, or this year got diagnosed with ADHD. and it was so funny because the writers mission control center, is a, like an official Google add on now or extension, it got approved the same month.

So I was like, oh, of course, of course I designed a system to keep [00:19:00] writers organized because I have ADHD it all coming together. So it is essentially. An organizational system for the working writer who has contacts and opportunities and story ideas and submissions and all that. Trying to find publications where their work fits.

 Trying to keep track of, of deadlines and assignments and things like that. 

David Gwyn: Mm. Yeah. It's super cool. I'm gonna I'll link it for anybody who's listening and wants to check it out. I'll I'll link it so that you, you have access to that. Cause it was, it was one of, I feel like, you know, always trying to find a process of keeping.

Track of everything is, is sometimes impossible. Yeah. And I'm, I'm sure it's even worse or more hectic on your end where you've got, you've got clients and you're, you're working on deadlines. I mean, I can't even wrap my head around that. So kudos to you. 

So there you have it, the ultimate non productivity productive minus.

And the second part of this interview, we talk about rejection word count. She shares resources. And the [00:20:00] one thing she hopes you take away from this conversation. And I absolutely loved her answer. Let's go back to the interview. But I do, I do want to talk about word count, cause you recently.

Had a post on your, on your blog about word count and about how you cut word count, how you think about cutting word count. And a lot of people who listen to this podcast are novelists. But I thought that the, the process that you go through to cut words could really benefit novelists, who overwrite, which I think is like a lot, a lot of us and thinking, and it helped me to like, think about my book as instead of saying, I need to cut 10,000 words.

Well, if I look at my book and where where's, where's it bloated, right? My middle should be about 50% and it's actually like 65%, like well. There's the 10% that I need to, to kind of find a way to cut out from. And then from there, you know, there's 2 25 chapters or whatever it is. And so from each chat, you know, and so can you talk a little bit about that, that blog post and, and where, how you came up with it [00:21:00] and like what you, what your process is for cutting.

Paulette Perhach: Yeah. So this is part of my, my nerd life, where I was just like, you know, it's it's for the times where you are like, I've read this 50 times and I still need to cut X number of words. I trust that all the big chunks are where they need to be everything that like, there are no more big chunks to cut. So it's so intimidating to say, oh, I need to cut this much.

So what I would do sometimes is just like, Pop in a spreadsheet, you know, okay. This thing is 1500 words. I need it to be a thousand words. I need to cut 33% and I would make it so that I could put in. I could like highlight a paragraph and be like, okay, this paragraph has a hundred words and put that in the Excel spreadsheet and be like, this is how many words it needs to be.

And then I would cut it like that. And I know it sounds so nerdy, but it was. It just, it cut it into little chunks and then I could handle it. You know? So finally I was just like, all right, I'm going to write about this. I'm like you guys, this is how I'm doing this. And I'm so ashamed, but also here's the spreadsheet.

If you need [00:22:00] it to, I was I was doing something for a modern love, which has to be 1700 words and it was complicated story. So that was the last time I. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. Yeah. And like I said, for me, I think it just reframed the way I think about cutting words and, and you know, like I said, I'm a serial, overrider like if, if you know, word counts important and novels and I'm way, always way over.

And so it, for me just really. Helped me because I'm in that process right now of, you know, done with first draft looking at kind of my second draft and thinking, okay, it's too long. It's too. This it's too, that doesn't make sense. And that was one of those things that I think for me, I was like, wait, this is perfect.

Like, I'll just take my middle, cut it down by chapters. And then like, you know, Are you miss, you know, but I think just, 

Paulette Perhach: yeah, totally. Like sometimes I'll go over it, be like, Ooh, I've got a few more over, you know? And and then I'll do it like again, you know, sometimes I do it multiple times going through it like that.

And sometimes I'm like, no, I can't get a paragraph. So yeah, but it just, it, it definitely [00:23:00] helped. 

David Gwyn: Yeah. Cool. So we, we talked a little bit actually, before we started recording about, about failure and the importance of failure. And, and one of the things that I think in, in reading your bio, I thought it was so funny is you had and, and I'm quoting here that your writing has been rejected from some of the nation's finest publications.

And I think that, that, that idea of like, I wish there was a different word than failure. Maybe like, I don't know, maybe you can come up with it, but like, That idea of like normalizing in writing careers, especially in creative careers. There's a lot of rejection. There's a lot of failure and it's not that it's not something that like people have to look down on.

It's something that is just like part of the process. And it's like part of the growing process. And so I was wondering if you could share a little bit about like, how you think about like, as somebody who freelances and writes articles and , how do you think about rejection? How do you think about, pivoting and in these times when things don't seem to be working.

Paulette Perhach: It can be really hard, but I think I have a PhD in humiliation, which was [00:24:00] peace Corps. No one talks about how humiliating peace Corps is. Like, you're kind of a celebrity in your town for two years, but you're also the village idiot for two years. Like literal three-year-old children have pointed at me and laughed and runaway and made fun of me and then run away.

And he was like, I can't. I okay. Like, yeah. Here. Here's where we at we're at. So literally, I mean, it was such a huge, in so many ways, I was , so rejected and humiliated that I'm like, oh, I'm like someone doesn't wanna pose my story. Like, whatever, I guess nothing. Like I asked an entire family if they wanted to see my genitals, essentially, because I thought the word for tattoo was just tattoo with a Spanish accent.

But in the indigenous language tattoo is the word for lady parts. So I was like, do you guys want to see my tattoo? Rejection letter nothing. That's, that's not a big deal at all. So I, I wish that we framed it that an acceptance is a positive thing, right.

That, and that, that is the thing that is special and unique. So that it's like, oh, this wasn't the time for my acceptance. You know, [00:25:00] rather than they rejected me right. I loved what you said on your other episode where it was like, this is. This is such a subjective business.

There are a thousand ways that someone might not accept your piece that has literally nothing to do with the quality. Yeah. And just knowing, like, there are a ton of good writers. It's not, you it's that, we're all in here doing it together. And sometimes it's one of it's someone else's turn and sometimes it's your turn and that can be really hard.

I mean, I I'm certainly, I'm not like, like I just wrote a piece for McSweeneys that I was really excited about and I thought it was really funny and I was like, oh, maybe this will get in. Nope, not even like a, oh, Hey Paulette. Wow. This is really close. We laugh. We hate you. Goodbye. Never talked to us again.

No, it didn't say that either. And so when I think, but I try to also celebrate that feeling because it's like that I think it's good enough to be in is cool. That I feel that great about my own writing right now. If you [00:26:00] just out the gate, 18 years old. Are like, no, that was good enough. It's like, man, I have questions for you.

If I were starting over, I would be like for three years, at least just write, read and write don't submit. So yeah, I mean, and the reason that I post all my rejections on Instagram is so people know like, Yeah, this is what it looks like your entire career probably. 

David Gwyn: And I think too, it makes it less scary in a lot of ways.

 When you see somebody who's had success, like you've had, and you're like, look, I like, this is where I am published. Like, I clearly can write, but like, I'm still getting these rejection letters. So like, why would you know, for me, I'm looking at that. I'm like, why would I think. You know, why wouldn't I put myself out there.

If here's a person who, you know, I've read your work, it's phenomenal. It's hilarious. Like if you're getting rejected, like I have nothing to worry about. Like, if I'm getting rejected, then that's fine too. I think it is that just that idea of like, feeling like we're all in the same.

Paulette Perhach: Yeah. I think the depersonalization of it is very important. And the reason that I, you know, made that [00:27:00] bio, I have on my website, my author's bio. And then after that, just like failures, humiliations and rejections in like the form of an author's bio. Because I think when I moved to Seattle 10 years ago, it was the first time that I really met a bunch of writers.

And I was like, oh no, one's as hot as their author's photo. That was a long time ago and a few Photoshop layers ago. Like everyone's scared. Everyone's confused. Everyone's getting rejected. Nobody's happy. I'm just kidding. I mean, happy ish. Happy as you can be happy can be as happy as a writer.

But it just is interesting to me how it really looks and versus how someone's author's bio makes them look and I still fall for it all the time. Or I see someone and they look so fancy online. Then I meet them in person and get to know them. And I'm like, oh, they're super cool. They're also struggling with XYZ.

Or like, you know, they're, they're going through all this stuff we don't even know about. So like, I made that where it's like, Hey, here's all this stuff you don't know about it. If you just read the bio. Yeah. 

David Gwyn: No, no, I think that's really good and like really [00:28:00] valuable, I, for, for, for us, the rest of us to, to see.

So as we, as we wrap up here, I've got a couple of questions that are a little out of left field maybe, but I think that they'll, they'll fit the, the general conversation that we've been having. So if you had a magic wand and could fix one part of the freelancing. Writing coach business with the writing business that you're in.

What do you think it would be?

Paulette Perhach: I would love for there to be a market that editors shop where writers say, Hey, I've got this essay, this essay, this essay and editors can go in there and shop around for essays. That's what I would make happen or essays or pieces or what. 

David Gwyn: Wow. That feels like a whole platform that really should exist. 

Paulette Perhach: I know that's like, that's a free idea.

Take it. I can't do another one that and an app called inside voices for those of us who talk too loud so that it buzzes every time you're talking too loud, I need that someone please make it. 

David Gwyn: You're just like full of business ideas here. I feel like 

Paulette Perhach: [00:29:00] this is and band. Really that's 

David Gwyn: like a skill of yours.


Paulette Perhach: yeah. 

David Gwyn: I have of so many questions, but there's so little time. Yeah, I feel like we're needed, we'll need to circle back on that one, because I feel like that's like a, that's one of those things that, that I need to know more about. But so if you, if you could go back in time. To when you were in fifth grade, standing at the bus stop telling your friends that you are going to be a writer and you, you know, that was what you wanted to do with your life.

If you had like 30 seconds to talk to that fifth grade version of yourself, what would you say 

Paulette Perhach: don't send any of your workout until you're at least five years in read more you idiot and the world doesn't owe you anything. Hm. 

David Gwyn: Hmm. Well, what valuable advice for really anybody at any, any of us? All right, cool.

Are there any books, movies, resources you suggest for aspiring writers, either in. [00:30:00] You know, novel writing fiction writing or in freelance writing coach realm. Is there anything that you're like stuck on that you either use all the time or have read recently?

That's just still marinating in your. 

Paulette Perhach: I love the book made to stick. I think that's great for non-fiction writers and freelancers. I love the book influence about sales. I'm really, I love sales in a big way because so many people think it's so icky and it can be like such an amazing kind of matchmaking thing that can feel really good on both sides.

So it's like not becoming afraid of sales because. It's a kind of power. So influence helps with that. That book is great. And God, there was this book. What was it called? Oh, like welcome to the writer's life or something by that hot chick. Yeah, that 

David Gwyn: book, that one too. 

Paulette Perhach: Yeah, about writing. Oh, I love Chuck Palahniuk book after this, I believe it was called he, and he also in that book made being a really [00:31:00] famous writer sound kind of terrible, not only his own stories, but like Stephen King stories and stuff.

David Gwyn: Yeah. Interesting. I'll have to check that out. 

Paulette Perhach: It's really good. And it's very, like, we both come from the kind of the journalistic background and not the, I, you know, I, I'm still making up for. Childhood laziness and like reading the classics and, you know, so I'm kind of more of a modern twist on it. 

David Gwyn: Oh, that's cool.

That's so cool. I've never heard that one. I mean, honestly like a, the, the business books obviously don't hear much of it, but the Chuck Palahniuk book, I have not heard. 

Paulette Perhach: Yeah. I don't even know how I came across it. I was like, oh, what Chuck Pahliunk? Yeah. And it was a great, I mean, he's great. You know, so, 

David Gwyn: yeah.

Yeah. Cool. So if there was one thing that you would hope people would take away from this conversation, if you could boil all this down to one, one thing, what do you think that one thing would be.

Paulette Perhach: If you want to pursue a writing life where you [00:32:00] can support yourself financially through your writing, knowing that what makes you a great writer is also going to make you a great business person and that you don't have to be afraid of that 

David Gwyn: you come up with great stuff right off the top of your head.

And you always, you have the face, like your face is I'm like, oh, I caught her off guard. Like she's gonna, it's gonna, and then you're just like drop, like you dropped like an. A whole platform and then like that nugget, that should be on like a billboard somewhere. And like, you look like I'm like, oh, but you always come up with it.

That's good. That's good. That's certainly a skill in and of itself thinking on your feet. So my last question is where can people find. 

Paulette Perhach: Oh God, that was going to make a joke about a porn site. I won't um, I, that writer paulette.com or my blog. Welcome to the writer's life.com where I have a year of daily writing prompts.

Should you need some writing prompts? And if you want to come write with me and hang out a very important meeting.com. [00:33:00]

David Gwyn: Yeah, those are great. And I'll, if you're listening, I'll link all those down below. And I, I am definitely going to attend a meditation. I, I feel like that's a, like a have to for me. Become a staple of my, my life.

Maybe not my 

Paulette Perhach: babies. 

David Gwyn: I know they'll if they're around my two year old, not shy. But Paulette, thank you so much. I had an absolute blast. Like I expected it was just like a treasure trove of information. I feel like I learned so much and had so much fun doing it. So thank you so much for taking the time.

Paulette Perhach: Thank you so much. 

David Gwyn: Of course. 

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Paulette was so great to talk to.

And if you're looking to connect with her, be sure to check the show notes. I also hope to see you at a very important meeting for some meditation and writing. I'll see you there.