10 August 2023
I’m not a big fan of summer, but this year is different. I’m grateful for the fuzzy nature of summertime. We’ve had an eventful last few months, too eventful really, with medical challenges in my family and a round of Covid, so it’s been good to lower expectations and have some open time.
I’m calling it a wrap on this first season of The FutureX Podcast. I’m beginning, in a fuzzy summertime way, to plan season two of the show.
Since Elon Musk renamed Twitter to “X,” I’ve had an identity crisis about the “X” in FutureX. I started shopping for other URLs and went into a quiet sort of panic mode. I realized that FutureX hasn’t been the perfect name for this project. The “X” suggests an unknown future; but the future is ours to shape.
As the writer Rose Eveleth has it, “Now, more than ever, we can all stand to remember that the future isn’t set. It hasn’t happened yet. And you can (and should!) try to shape it.”
I like the idea of a future lab: It’s more in keeping with what I want FutureX to become. So next season, the podcast will be called The Future Lab Podcast. This project has always been an evolving journey, anyway, and everything about it has been experimental, so thinking about it as a lab works. Even a lab where things sometimes blow up or don’t come out right.
That’s okay, because I use podcasts to focus my thinking. The first season of The FutureX Podcast has been no exception. The sixteen episodes that I recorded made me see that I need to present more trailblazers, more people who are role models, and use the interviews to introduce you to people who can communicate their message in a way that resonates, even if the intended audience is small to start.
The next season of the podcast (The Future Lab Podcast!) will feature people who are showing the way to climate justice, and gender and racial equity. You may ask, ”If they think they can achieve these ideals, are they being too optimistic? Are they utopians?”
”Yes, probably,” I would answer, because they believe there can be a better world, maybe a vastly improved world, even a perfect world. The complication in that concept is that everyone’s vision of utopia is different. The challenge trailblazers face is not only in the freshness of their vision, but also to create cohesion, develop clear messaging, and build community around that vision.
I’ve always thought of Maui as a kind of utopia, certainly paradise, and as it burns this week, I’ve had that vision shattered. The actions we need to take to avert the climate catastrophe have been discussed by scientists and policy folks for decades. The problem they’ve faced is in communicating what needs to be done. Amazingly, we don’t have consensus yet and political will is weak. My goal, as the planet burns, is to feature guests on The Future Lab Podcast who will show the path to action and tell us how to clearly communicate what we need to do.
In this week’s episode of the podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Allen, the owner of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting. We delved into the world of publishing and discussed the essential team members you’ll need to succeed in bringing your book to life. She knows what can go wrong in your writing and your collaborations, and she knows how to keep things on track.
Here are some highlights of the interview:
[00:01:14] Skills in book editing. [00:04:23] Consistency in longer form writing. [00:07:09] Struggles of first-time authors. [00:09:43] Importance of cover design. [00:13:19] Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. [00:16:33] Enhancing chances of traditional publishing. [00:20:03] Advising on genre choices. [00:22:24] Ghostwriting and book intimacy. [00:25:38] Writing with emotional depth.
If you’re an aspiring author or an established one who wants to streamline your creative production process, this episode is a must-listen. Rachel’s expertise and passion shine through.
Through the summer I’ve been working on the first draft of Resist, the sequel to Surrender, the novel that I published this past winter. It’s been fun to dip back into the world of 2050, continuing the lives of each character and extending their stories so that they can find their destiny. If you’d like to catch up with this world, you can find Surrender at B&N, Bookshop.org, Amazon, Kobo, and Apple Books. Here are some links where you can buy it.
I’m going to take a brief break from 500 Words as I prep new projects and enjoy the rest of August. So there will not be a 500 Words newsletter next week.
All my best,
(c) Lee Schneider 2023. Take care of each other. Subscribe.