Kathleen Shannon 0:01
Hello, and welcome to Being Boss.
Emily Thompson 0:03
A podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.
Emily Thompson 0:06
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.
Kathleen Shannon 0:07
Hey guys, today it's just me and Emily. And today we are talking about finding your voice, creating honest content, and how we bring the Being Boss principles to new projects. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at www.beingboss.club.
Kathleen Shannon 0:23
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Kathleen Shannon 1:13
So we've got a lot of guests on our roster. We're like fully booked for a while now, which is awesome. But I'm also super excited to just talk to you today about what we're working on. And really kind of about creative process and finding your voice.
Emily Thompson 2:03
I am too. I sat down yesterday and ended up listening to the episode that got published. And I don't do that. I don't listen to our episodes after they go live. It's not something I do, really, very often. Unless there's an episode or a guest, especially that I just really want to go back and listen to because I remember the conversation being super, super fantastic. So yesterday went back and listened to one and I was so blown away by how like, together our shit sounds.
Kathleen Shannon 2:35
I tend to have the opposite experience. I feel super critical of the podcast.
Emily Thompson 2:42
Do you listen to it? Do you ever go back and listen?
Kathleen Shannon 2:44
I feel like I should. I should. I feel like people who are super pro and who are dedicated to honing their craft, which I like to think I am, would go back and review their tapes. You know, just like a fighter, they would go back and analyze their fight second by second, right? They would look at every single move. And I would love to be able to do that with the podcast. But at the same time, if I listened to all of our content, man. One, there's not enough hours in the day. And two, I have enough of a vulnerability hangover after recording them.
Emily Thompson 3:20
Right? So okay, that's one of the things that I really sort of took from going back and listening and being more impressed than not. Is that we do usually leave our episodes thinking did we just sound like idiots? Or you know, was that thing I said ridiculous? Did it make any sense? And like, you know, sometimes we'll come back in the morning and be like, hey, remember that story I told you yesterday? Was that totally not appropriate or whatever it may be. So we definitely do come out of recording episodes with vulnerability hangovers. But like going back and listening to it and seeing that we don't sound as ridiculous as we think we sound was pretty gratifying.
Kathleen Shannon 4:00
Alright, so something I want to talk about whenever it comes to this podcast and finding your voice, and creating content, and even writing our book. We're going to share a little bit about our creative process in writing this Being Boss book that we're working on right now. It'll be out in April 2018.
Emily Thompson 4:17
Kathleen Shannon 4:18
Hang on y'all. But the thing is, is that we've been creating content for a long time. And I've never been at a loss of things to talk about or write about or share.
Emily Thompson 4:32
Kathleen's always got something to say.
Kathleen Shannon 4:35
But I found toward the end of 2016, I was feeling really burnt out. I was feeling like I didn't have much to say. I was not doing a very good job of blogging over at Braid Creative. I wasn't staying on top of my newsletters. Even my social media was kind of at a standstill. I haven't personally blogged over at andKathleen.com in over a year. The last post I had written there was January 1, 2016. So like one post at the beginning of the new year, so it's been over a year. And really even personally and professionally just feeling like I had nothing to say.
Kathleen Shannon 5:18
And it was the first time I've ever really experienced that. And I don't think I realized how burnt out I was and how sick of my own voice I was until we took a solid month off during the holidays. So I'm curious to hear from you, Emily, have you ever been burnt out? Or have you ever felt like you're sick of... I mean, do you ever feel like you're repeating yourself or like you don't have anything to say? Or that you're not really contributing to the conversation? All those inner Gremlins.
Emily Thompson 5:46
All the things. I don't even think it's... I don't even want to label them as inner Gremlins. Like it's just because... How do I want to say this?
Kathleen Shannon 5:56
I know. And, you know, even as I was saying the word inner Gremlins, I feel like a lot of the stuff I was just saying about contributing to the conversation or not having anything to say, I was experiencing this but not from a place of like, insecurity or self doubt. More of just feeling tired.
Emily Thompson 6:14
Right? And really feeling like there's enough words being flung into the world without me adding to the noise. And I don't think that's an inner Gremlin. I think that's some consciousness of like, what's happening. So yeah, definitely some of those latter things. Most weeks whenever I sit down to write my newsletter, I feel like, you know, what the fuck do I have to say this week? And how is it any different from the shit I've been saying for the past five years. And so I definitely deal with a lot of those things. But it's usually just that those things are usually just inner Gremlins, where I'm sitting down, and I don't want to do the things.
Emily Thompson 6:51
So I come up with these nasty little stories as to why I shouldn't. And then I'll usually like, go take a shower. That's usually the thing that helps me generate some ideas. And while I'm showering or just not paying attention to the fact that I need to write the thing, that usually when a really great idea comes to me or if I'm reading a book. Something else I like to do a lot, and I know you do this, too, is having a place to sort of capture thoughts that you have. So I have a notebook beside my bed that I do this on, I keep a notebook in the studio, like on my desk, where I'll jot things down, if I'm out and about, I have an Evernote on my phone that I'll do it on.
Emily Thompson 6:53
So if I'm ever like really aching for something to talk about, I will go at one of those like little resources that I've created for myself. And the thing about those is that sometimes the things that I write down, one won't make any damn sense. Like, I don't even know what this sentence means, like now that I'm out of that moment, or it'll be something that I don't feel energy around, talking about anymore.
Emily Thompson 7:56
But sometimes I'll find a nugget that still has like a spark within me. That will guide me writing a newsletter, or really get me energized about recording a podcast, or whatever it may be. Or Instagramming, which is my favorite sharing platform or like personal sharing platform these days. So yes, I deal with all of those things. But I do have a couple of things in line, like some little places where I can record thoughts whenever I'm not in writing mode, that helped me get over that.
Emily Thompson 8:28
So that I am putting fresh spins on old topics or diving into topics that maybe I haven't shared before, or simply following up on something that I've spoken about before. There are lots of things going on in the world, going on within your businesses, you're consistently sharing your expertise, there's always something to say you just have to find what it is that you were meant to say in that moment.
Kathleen Shannon 8:53
And I have a few ideas on that. But something that you said reminded me of this idea of not hoarding your ideas. So do not hoard your ideas. This will not... don't save them for later. Don't save them for a launch or even for a book. Or the next big thing. If you have energy around a topic, get it down as much as you can. So you mentioned having these ever notes and these notebooks. If I'm literally in the middle of cooking dinner, I can't sit down and write a blog post. I need to be with my family. I have other obligations, right? So I will go ahead and start to kind of outline it in the notebook and really capture the inspiration that is driving the energy of that idea, right?
Kathleen Shannon 9:37
So I'll try and capture as much as possible. And usually whenever I come back to that sort of thing, I can reignite the initial energy, the original energy that I had, and write a really good posts around it. But I felt like I started to stagnate a little bit last year whenever I started thinking about saving my ideas for later and I know better. I know better than to hoard my ideas. But that's exactly what I was doing.
Kathleen Shannon 10:04
So I kind of lost momentum. Which then brings me to this. Writing and creating content is a muscle that you have to exercise just like anything else. And so, my creative... well, specifically around writing because we're always recording podcasts, but even then I was starting to feel like, Is it good enough? Am I saying what I really want to be saying? Am I contributing to the conversation in the way that I want to be contributing. But anyway, it's all a muscle that you have to exercise and I had kind of let mine atrophy.
Kathleen Shannon 10:40
So I feel like I got my groove back a little bit whenever we started writing the book. So here's what happened. We pitched a Being Boss book, late 2016. We went ahead and secured a deal. And we knew that we were going to hit the ground running, writing this book, in January of 2017. We also knew that we had a deadline, like this is not something that we can save for later. We've got to sit down and do it. And so having that motivation behind me got me thinking about, okay, what do I want to write about? And it really got me thinking about warming up to writing the book, by getting back into writing blog posts. And Emily, I know that you started doing that as well, you started some personal prompts, just to warm up that muscle a little bit. Can you tell me more about that?
Emily Thompson 11:28
Yeah. So we did get a deal at the end of November of 2016. And then we had already planned on taking December off. So we had already, like our team knew, everyone knew. And then it came time to tell our publisher that just offered us a really great book deal that we wouldn't actually be writing for the first month of our deal. So that was a fun conversation where they're like, Oh, you know, can you deliver your first sample to us? It was like mid December. We're like, actually, we're not going to be working until January. And she was like, Alright, that sounds pretty boss. And we're like, high five.
Kathleen Shannon 12:02
Yeah, that was actually a really boss moment, because she could see us, sticking to our ideals. The stuff that we preach here on Being Boss about boundaries, and taking time off. We were actually living it. And that felt like a really good moment. And she recognized that and respected it, which was awesome.
Emily Thompson 12:22
And we, at least, I had some fraudy feelings around. And I was like, well, are we gonna? Like, shouldn't we start writing this book? And then I was like, No, I have set these very purposeful boundaries in place. And part of that was because I was beginning to feel the burnout as well. We both knew that we needed some time to step away, in order to really be able to dive into writing a book. So we got a book deal. And I thought, Well, shit. Now I have to become a writer. And to be a writer, I have to write. And though I have published hundreds of blog posts, and send out hundreds of newsletters, I had never thought of myself as a writer. I've never done it with any sort of structure or aim or anything.
Emily Thompson 13:03
Like I'm just sharing my thoughts in the online sphere, like everyone else does, who's sharing content. So I did go into December free form work because we were taking the month off, but also with a very clear intention to practice writing. Because it is a muscle that you have to practice. So I made a goal for myself to write every single day. And for me, it was not on the computer. It was in a notebook, because that part of me taking the month off was getting away from my computer screen.
Emily Thompson 13:32
So I did sit down. And it wasn't quite every day, we did some travel. And I didn't always write when I traveled. Sometimes writing a newsletter or a blog post because I was sitting at a computer and doing those things did count as my writing for the day. But I did make a practice out of writing many times over the month of December, with the thought that I needed to get more concise with getting the words out of my head or through my head to my fingers and onto paper.
Emily Thompson 14:02
So that was something that I did to just start getting myself ready for writing and it was not all writing business. Sometimes it was just long form journaling. Sometimes it was you know, writing a personal story. There was one day that I wrote some letters to people like wrote snail mail letters. Isn't that adorable? As just a way for me to practice stopping, basically. Not checking my email, not listening to things going on around me and just getting really clear on the words that I needed to share. And again, it's something that I've done for years, but never that intentionally. So that's what I spent the month of December doing, practicing being a writer.
Kathleen Shannon 14:44
I spent the month of December, after experiencing a little bit of burnout, practicing not thinking about work.
Emily Thompson 14:52
Kathleen Shannon 14:53
Not practicing writing. I wasn't doing anything but just. I went on a trip out to Joshua Tree, which was a lot of fun with a couple of creative girlfriends. And what was really cool about it is that it made me realize how much I need to be living my life in order to have something to write about.
Emily Thompson 15:13
Kathleen Shannon 15:14
I didn't have anything to write about because all I was doing through 2016 was working. Even a lot of our trips that we were going on, were all work related. So I needed to kind of replenish the well of content to write about. But what I found was on this vacation with my creative girlfriends, we were having conversations about things that I would then later be able to write about. So for me, that was huge.
Kathleen Shannon 15:44
I also spent some time reading. And reading some things that were not work related. And knowing that we had this book on our plate, I was reading a few books, and thinking, how do they put these sentences together? How did they structure this book? It's kind of like every time I watch a TED Talk, I'm like, how do they even know how to say one word after the other in a way that makes sense.
Kathleen Shannon 16:08
Because I feel so disjointed and intimidated thinking about being so super concise in 17 minutes, but also interesting and telling a good story and all those things that those Ted talkers are so good at. So I started kind of analyzing for better and worse books that I was reading, for tone, for structure. I was really starting to pick apart the craft of writing.
Emily Thompson 16:37
Kathleen Shannon 16:38
I'm not saying that this is good or bad. But it did kind of trip me up whenever I came back to writing my own book of what is my voice. And this is something I'm going to talk about whenever it comes to finding your voice. I feel like when I first started blogging, I didn't have much of a voice. I was trying on a lot of different voices to find my own style. I felt like at one point, I had found my style. But then five years later, I kind of forgot what my style was. I started kind of... not phoning it in, because I don't want anyone listening to this thinking that I'm phoning it in. But I was starting to get comfortable, right? I was no longer stretching myself as a writer.
Kathleen Shannon 17:23
And so recently, I came back to the idea of how can I just get more honest in my writing. And it's really reignited me finding my voice and finding my style and really finding what's true for me. And it's true for me today, it might change and evolve. Because the way that we create and share content always does.
Kathleen Shannon 17:45
I think also a big part of it was that a big focus for us this past two years has been literally using our voices and finding our voices on the podcast. And so, again, writing is a different beast. And I love writing because it gives me a place to really say what I mean. And I can craft that sentence for, I can think about it for like a solid 10 minutes. I can hit delete, whenever I'm podcasting, sure we have a little bit of editing in place, but I can't Apple Z, my voice and what I say.
Emily Thompson 18:18
Wouldn't that be nice though. I know. It is a different beast. And I feel like that's something that I experienced on multiple levels. Like I was reading books too, and sort of picking it apart. And I really liked using that as a way for me to recognize things that lended itself to my voice, like I can read something and go, Okay, I'm never gonna write like that.
Emily Thompson 18:40
Or even if I admire it, like it's not me, or I can read something and sort of see myself in it and pick that apart and see how it is... Not that I can replicate it, but so that I can, like I love the mechanics of things. Like I like seeing how things work. And because I have never written a book before, doing that sort of research helped me a whole lot in figuring out how to structure the book. How to, you know, pair stories with fact and those sorts of things. I think that that all of that is really important.
Emily Thompson 18:55
And I have always been an avid reader. But once you know you're writing a book, or at least it's how it was for me. I read books differently. I'm definitely reading books very differently now that I am producing a book. So all of that. And then also around finding your voice. It will take you years to find your voice writing. Absolutely. And even then like your voice will evolve. You're always finding your voice or finding where your voice is now. I do think with podcasting that process is a lot faster. Or at least it is for us. And I think we came into it really knowing who we are on on a pretty good level.
Emily Thompson 19:51
So that it elevated like how quickly we were able to find who we are and the voice that we share and what makes us different and all of those things. But to go back to writing or almost backtracking again, especially because you and I haven't been writing as much over the past two years. I think having these little practices of writing at least for me for December, and now really diving into the book, I'm having to think about my voice in a whole other way. And now with a book, even combining our voices, because it will be written, at least some of it from a We voice, as opposed to Kathleen here and Emily here.
Emily Thompson 20:26
Combining it to have a unified Being Boss voice. We are all about some voice and some sharing some content and working out all of the things right now in a way that kind of makes my brain, one, really impressed with what it's able to do, and two, a little overwhelmed at all that has to do to produce the kind of content that I know that you and I have the capacity to create and the desire to put out into the world.
Kathleen Shannon 20:53
So one thing that's really cool about writing this book that I'm finding, and as of recording this, we've written 1, 2, 3, I would say like 4 chapters total.
Emily Thompson 21:04
Yeah, we have.
Kathleen Shannon 21:05
Kind of, 5 drafted up 3 solid. So and we have a solid outline. But one thing that I found, as I'm writing this book, I was really blocking off a bunch of time just work on the book, and really thinking of that as my main focus. But since writing and getting that muscle worked up again. I'm finding myself writing for Braid again, in ways that feels really good.
Kathleen Shannon 21:30
I'm able to write in a way that I haven't been able to write in a long time. And so I was afraid that I would run out of ideas. And I was trying to save all my ideas, like my best ideas just for the book. But it turns out that creativity begets creativity, and all the ideas are flowing. And I have, I'm able to write a lot faster, and a lot more concise, and create twice as much content now than I had all of 2016. Which feels really cool.
Emily Thompson 22:02
Definitely, I'm also finding that I can't sit down and write something new. Like I can't sit down and ideate at that point. Like I have to be out in the world doing things for things to come to me, and then I go write it and then it comes out really quickly. And I think that something really fun that I learned both from December and even like, based on what you were saying a minute ago. I'm spending less time at my computer now, even though I'm spending just as much time with my head in this book, for sure. So and that's sort of a fun thing, too, is like doing something new like this, we are navigating a completely new creative process for both of us.
Emily Thompson 22:45
And not even like separately. But together, which is another like mind blowing thing where Kathleen and I are creatives like we've made things and we do things and we share things. And we have the podcast, we have our businesses and we both design. Like we have a creative process for sure, at least for the things that we've been doing. But this is something completely new for both of us. And so I have been very mindful lately about how to formulate a creative process that supports this new type of creativity. This like super structured writing, where you know, if I sit down to write a newsletter is taking me 10 minutes, thoughts flow out, you hit publish, done. It goes out in the world, and I don't even care about the typos. So don't reply to me because I don't care. I do care very much actually typos drive me nuts.
Emily Thompson 23:36
But for this because it is so structured and because it's not just going to be published, but it has to be like cultivated, and nurtured, and caressed, and all those weird things. There is a whole new creative process that's going into this. The first couple of days that we wrote, I came into my studio, and I lit a candle. And I turned on my little essential oil thing and I lit my a salt light candle. God, I have the most hippie desk on the planet. But I got like all the things in order, I made sure my tummy was full. I had a good dinner or lunch, all the things. And I sat down and I wrote. And I haven't done that every time. But I have been very mindful of all of the things around my creative process, like what does get my juices flowing better than others.
Kathleen Shannon 24:22
That is so funny that you say that because I'm literally writing some of my best content while like Fox is in the bedroom playing the iPad or whatever. Like my situations are not set up in a way that it feels conducive to writing. But some of my best writing is happening in these times. And so something that I've learned is that the setting does not have to be perfect in order to create great content. But I want to talk a little bit about our creative process whenever it comes to writing the book because this has been really interesting. We've been applying a lot of our Being Boss principles and pillars to this creative process.
Kathleen Shannon 25:02
So even though we're doing something completely new, it doesn't feel like we're entirely recreating the wheel. And this is a high pressure project that we're working on. So there's a lot of opportunities to have creative block, but we can't afford, we can't afford it. We don't have the time to have a creative block. And because we're both pushing each other to create the best piece of work we've ever created in this book.
Emily Thompson 25:27
We are setting the bar so high right now it's stressing me out.
Kathleen Shannon 25:31
I know. So let's talk about this a little bit. One of the things that we... Here's what happened. Late last year, we were writing a sales page together, which was for The Clubhouse. And I remember we literally opened up a Google document. And we hammered it out together over an afternoon. I think that we've probably spent 3 hours together on Skype. And I was so proud of the end result. Like I can still look at that sales page and feel like yes, like we said, what we meant. We use the tone that we wanted to use. We made sure that it was clear and concise, but also inspiring and motivating.
Kathleen Shannon 26:09
It was all the things that I wanted it to be. I also had a lot of fun in the process of actually writing that with you. Like it felt really good and collaborative. And I felt like our energy was feeding off of each other. So I use that experience, in my mind to think about how do I want us to write this book together. Another thing that we did early on is we decided that I would be the lead on the book. And so this might be interesting for some people to hear. And even someone in the Being Boss Clubhouse recently asked about a partnership and an equal partnership. And she felt like that meant she couldn't delegate. Like an equal partnership meant no delegation. And that's not true at all.
Emily Thompson 26:50
Or that you're both doing the same things, which is kind of pointless.
Kathleen Shannon 26:55
Right. And so I'm taking the lead on the book and delegating a lot of tasks. And kind of coordinating stuff like photoshoots, and PR meetings, and even being the go between between us and our editor. So that was kind of a boss principle that we put in place early on, as we defined our roles in writing this book. And meanwhile, just to share some more behind the scenes of Being Boss, Emily, you're still running the ship whenever it comes to all of our systems and processes. Whenever it comes to running Being Boss as a whole and how we make money.
Emily Thompson 27:32
Making all the things happen. So like all The Clubhouse launches, and making sure the online retreats, like all the emails get scheduled up and managing the team. And then I'm also writing. Like we have actually, even the the book outline, I had one of those like bees in my bonnets. One Sunday, we've been sort of working on an outline. And this is like one of my favorite things about creative collaboration, having a good relationship with someone. Where, you know, we'd sort of had this outline, and I sat down to write my pieces of the first chapter because Kathleen had assigned them to me. And I couldn't do it.
Emily Thompson 27:35
Like my brain could not wrap around this little piece of the book because my brain didn't understand the larger scope of the book. And we had a rough outline, but it wasn't one that we had really fleshed out yet. So it was like a Sunday, one of those things where I'm just like, putting around the house not doing anything. And it came to me that like, the thing that will help me write this book is if I outline it so beautifully, that we just know what the whole thing looks like before we actually do it. Which for anyone who's writing a book, you're probably like, duh, of course, that's the first thing you do. But this is the first time we've done this, we don't know.
Emily Thompson 28:43
So I sat down and spent about 2 hours creating a full outline of the book. I was going back and forth between our episodes, and some of our best quotables. And all of those things and bringing together all the principles based on the basic outline into a fully fledged outline. I said to Kathleen, I was like I'm sorry, except not sorry. Here's the outline. Now I can write. And it was one of those things where my very organized brain lended itself to the larger project, and I was able to go in and write the pieces. So yes, Kathleen is like going at organizing, orchestrating, excuse me, this whole book process. But it's fun to be able to collaborate with someone in that sort of way. And so at that point, you are given a framework to be like, Alright, perfect, let's do this.
Kathleen Shannon 29:33
Exactly. And I feel like we kind of do that back and forth in even the creative process of writing the book. So okay, so here's what's happening. Emily did this outline. And I didn't even realize at the time how much I needed that, too. Like how much we just really needed some boxes to tick off in our process. And Emily, you're really great about doing that also, for even our marketing launches, and you really outline the entire project.
Emily Thompson 29:59
I think organizing information is like one of my superpowers. Like, whenever I think back, to like grade school, my favorite thing ever was like outlining book chapters. It was just so nerdy and weird, but I own it.
Kathleen Shannon 30:13
Yeah, well, and it's a skillset that has definitely translated into the work that we do now. And so I'm definitely, my creative process is more, I'll figure it out as I go. Even early in my career, I never had an editorial calendar. Even now over at Braid Creative, we don't really have an editorial calendar over there.
Kathleen Shannon 30:32
And I know Emily, for you at Indie Shopography, you sit down on a Thursday to write your email, you don't really know what you're writing about until you sit down. So while here at Being Boss, we have a very strict editorial calendar. And we're booked like six months out on content. Whenever it comes to our personal businesses. I mean, it's all personal. It's all professional. Whenever it comes to our individual businesses, I should say.
Emily Thompson 30:57
We're businesses that aren't built on content, then we're just like we'll share about whatever. We'll go where the energy is.
Kathleen Shannon 31:04
Exactly. And what stays the same is that we're consistent in writing every single week, even if we don't really know what we're writing about until later. But anyway, I took your framework for really marketing what you do, and kind of, creating that big picture outline. That's also chunked out into super tight details that you can literally just cross off your to do list. You always know exactly what it is that you're supposed to be writing, you know exactly when it's going out into the world. And I have taken a lot of what I've learned from you there over to Braid whenever it comes to launches over there.
Kathleen Shannon 31:41
But then I also feel like you took that same principle and applied it to this book and the outline there. So I was super stoked whenever you did this big outline. I felt like I had a bigger picture and a grasp on exactly what we need to write and when. But as we're working on this now, basically, each chapter gets its own Google Doc. And I want to talk a little bit about why we chose Google because I think it's something that stressed our editor out a little bit. She's, I think used to working in Word. And I know that other writers use different platforms. The reason why we need to do Google Doc is because it's a live document that we're literally both in at the same time.
Kathleen Shannon 32:20
So I can see Emily highlighting certain chunks. We're editing together. So just like that sales page process, we are in there together, writing a lot. But then also at the end of writing or hammering out our outline and kind of brainstorming ideas. So this is what we'll do at the beginning of a new chapter, we have our outline, we'll kind of talk through who's going to write what. And we'll remind each other of things that we've already said before. So I'll say like, oh, Emily, you know how you always say this one thing, you should include that in this part of the chapter.
Kathleen Shannon 32:54
And we'll kind of start to assign who's writing what. We'll go away from each other. And we'll start writing and this could be for me at 9pm on a Tuesday evening. And I want to share this because Emily, you talked about writing on a Sunday, I found myself writing a lot at night, which isn't normal. And we're kind of breaking our own rules whenever it comes to working within traditional work hours. I just want to clarify that we've set our boundaries, but we can also break our own rules.
Emily Thompson 33:26
Right, especially when it comes to inspiration. And especially for a project like this where we have a deadline. And I mean, there was times and especially in Indie Shopography, where I had my nine to five hours I never worked after hours. I never worked on the weekends, it didn't matter what was happening, like, you could not make me do it. Because like I had a wheel that was just turning, there was nothing new or no like crazy deadlines, it was just the thing. But sometimes inspiration strikes, and especially in terms of this book, like going back to the voice talk.
Emily Thompson 33:59
This book is the voice of Being Boss. It is like the what we have created, written into a book and it's going to be as concise and defined as we can possibly get it. So I feel like that warrants a little bending of our own rules. If we get like the idea that we'll bring a chapter together, or we'll really hammer that point home, or we'll clarify the story we were trying to tell but that isn't quite working out. Then I'm okay breaking my rules to capture that inspiration and put it into work for a project that I am so excited about as this.
Emily Thompson 34:37
And along those same lines. My family doesn't care. I mean, they do and if I were doing this all the time, sure. But they know that I'm writing a book and they're excited about it. And if they're just watching TV and I'm in the room on a Sunday, hammering out an outline. One, they don't notice. I have no idea what I'm doing. And two, they're excited about it too.
Kathleen Shannon 34:59
Yeah. I found that, really, okay, so one of the things that I've done is I've blocked off three days a week of no meetings.
Emily Thompson 35:08
Kathleen Shannon 35:09
Now I have to admit, some meetings have crept into some of those days. But for the most part, I really try and keep two of them completely clear. Now, I'm not even necessarily writing during that time that I've completely cleared off. But what it's doing is it's really giving me the space, just like taking December off, and really having the space to live life to then have something to write about. Creating space on my calendar, it's just allowing me to empty my brain out a little bit. So I can start to generate ideas and write in these sprints that might happen in between dinnertime and bathtime. So that's kind of where I'm at with writing.
Kathleen Shannon 35:51
And I wanted to mention, so after we brainstorm ideas, we go apart, and we write, and then we are typically getting together two or three more times throughout the week for about an hour. For anywhere between 1 to 3 hours. So some of that's happening during those two days that we've completely blocked off for writing to do what we call book workshopping. And this is where we're both literally getting back into the Google document together. We're reading what each other has written. Sometimes we'll try and read it before we get on the call together. We're making really small typo edits. So we're kind of editing things as we go.
Kathleen Shannon 36:29
But we're also making bigger conceptual edits. So I remember during the first couple of chapters, as we were writing this, Emily, you were writing some stuff. And I was like, I don't who are you? Like who is this? And I think that something had kind of happened. I mean, this comes back to finding your voice. And I was struggling with it too, honestly. But I could see it whenever it was happening to you, I couldn't quite see it whenever it was happening to me, which is really the cool part about collaborating on a book together. But being able to... Knowing you and your content well enough, and being able to see something and say this doesn't quite sound like you. It was a scary hard conversation to have, right? But at the same time, it's cool that we were able to have it. So you'd written some stuff. I was like, doesn't sound like you.
Emily Thompson 37:17
What is this? And I was like, No, listen, it makes sense. And then I realized what had happened. Because I agreed it sounded off. And especially, I think it was like the last part of maybe our intro or something like that. And I had written it. And what had happened was, as I was practicing my own writing, and also reading all of these other books, I sort of came to this realization that I write newsletters. Like if you want to get my best content, it is short, and it is snappy, and it is done, period. But if you've read a book, they have word counts to meet.
Emily Thompson 37:50
So their paragraphs are really long. Go read some of my shit. And you will never find a paragraph with more than three sentences. Like that's just really never going to happen. So I had gotten it in my head that I needed to create longer paragraphs to be a book writer. And this is like, I don't even know if this is fraudy feelings, it was just me exploring my voice that's going to be coming out in book format. And Kathleen thought it was crazy. And I did too.
Kathleen Shannon 38:16
I was like, I can't even read. Like, I don't even know what you're saying here. Because you write in three sentences, I will literally go in and delete the spaces for you later, to turn it into a paragraph. So it's longer than three sentences.
Emily Thompson 38:30
And what had happened was, I was writing longer paragraphs, but they just ended up being me saying the same thing multiple different ways. Which is ridiculous. So I mean, yes, this has been a very fun process. And one where we're really finding out what our voice sounds like. And part of that through really finding out what our voice is not by any means.
Emily Thompson 38:55
So that has been a really fun process of really digging into how it is that we write and how it is we're going to share these principles that we've talked about for over two years now. In a way that's appropriate for a book because apparently I can't say fuck in the book, which is driving me nuts. We'll see, we're working on that. So working on how it is that we can say these things in really concise book formattable ways. And for me, it is writing in my short, snappy sentences and then Kathleen going in and erasing the spaces between the sentences to make larger paragraphs.
Kathleen Shannon 39:29
So I want to talk about a few different tips, I've been really harnessing to find my voice. And I would like to share them with you guys right now.
Emily Thompson 39:40
Please do so.
Kathleen Shannon 39:41
One of them, one of them is actually reading a lot of books. And this can kind of get confusing. Because you know, for example, Emily, one of the things that you wrote early on, I was like What are you reading right now? Like, are you reading some like sci-fi?
Emily Thompson 39:57
I tell you what I was reading because I don't think I ever told you.
Kathleen Shannon 40:00
Are you reading something on astrology right now? Like, I don't understand.
Emily Thompson 40:04
I was reading Gabby Bernstein's, The Universe Has Your Back and is the first book of hers that I've ever read. And it wasn't quite the book that I thought it was going to be. But I did read it. And I did enjoy it for what it was, for sure. But it definitely had my head in a whole different space, like for sure. And I've been very careful with what I've picked up since then.
Kathleen Shannon 40:25
So meanwhile, I'm reading like Amy Schumer and I just read Aaron Lochner his new book. And I'm reading a lot of people - Amy Poehler, Tina Fey. I read a lot of kind of biographies and memoirs and essays. And so my writing style is very much essay, but what reading these books has done for me... Oh, another one that I loved was by Phoebe Robinson called, You Can't Touch My Hair. I think that's what it's called.
Emily Thompson 40:49
Oh, I think I've read that one.
Kathleen Shannon 40:52
I never know what my books are called anymore, because I'm reading them on a Kindle. But the things that I love about their books is that they talk about the time that they live in, in real time. So they're making pop culture references. And for me going into writing this book, I thought, and even writing blog posts and newsletters, sometimes I think, Oh, I can't make a pop culture reference because what if not everybody gets it. Or I want this book to be timeless. And this content may not be relevant.
Kathleen Shannon 41:20
If I'm talking about like, True Blood or something. And in 50 years, nobody knows what that is. But reading these books that make references to the time that we live in now has really given me permission to just write my honest truth as it is today. So that's something cool that helped me was like reading books that I want to sound like. Another tip for finding your voice is and something that I've given myself permission to do is to remind myself that it doesn't have to be perfect, or it doesn't have to follow the traditional rules. Like I don't even know if I know all the grammar rules. Obviously.
Emily Thompson 41:58
Kathleen has a funny relationship with commas. They never are where they're supposed to be. But sometimes they just are peppered around elsewhere. It's fun.
Kathleen Shannon 42:11
So that's the other thing is that it doesn't have to be perfect. I have you. I have an editor to fix my commas.
Emily Thompson 42:18
Yes, that is something that I'm enjoying a whole lot. And I look forward to getting into the editing process a little more. We are just like in the very first draft writing phase. Though Kathleen and I will never share the first draft. Like, the first draft doesn't exist. We write it and we edit it immediately. But I am excited to see what this editing process is like in terms of having someone help help us craft our words once we've written them. And I've nothing more to say about it, except I'm just interested in seeing what that entire process is like. I'm open to it. And for someone who's as Type A as I am, that's hard. ish. But I'm open to it.
Kathleen Shannon 42:57
But you know, even then, I think that just like you might go to the doctor and give over a lot of your power to a doctor, because they're the authority. Because they have this medical degree, you might ignore what you know, in your body to be true.
Emily Thompson 43:15
Kathleen Shannon 43:16
You know? And so I feel like I'm going into this editing process with a traditional publisher, a little cautious because I feel like we know our content and our voices better than anybody else. However, just today, just this morning, we recruited our editorial director, Caitlin, who helps us with all of our Being Boss content, to actually read the book, because she knows our content probably second best to us.
Emily Thompson 43:43
Probably better than we do.
Kathleen Shannon 43:46
And so for her to be able to read through it. And just knowing us, knowing our voices, knowing our content, she can see any holes that we might have in a way that a editor who doesn't know us and doesn't know our content would be able to. So another thing that I've really been embracing lately, whenever it comes to writing both our book and my newsletters, and Braid Creative blog posts, and hopefully soon personal blog posts. Like I feel inspired to get back into personal blogging. I literally don't have the time for it right now.
Kathleen Shannon 44:17
But I can see after we do this book, channeling some of that writing energy back into my personal blog. But the thing that I've been asking myself lately is, what is the most honest thing I can write right now? And so not even just conceptually, but really what are the conversations that I'm having today? What are the words that are coming out of my mouth today? How would I actually say that? What metaphors would I really use? How can I get more specific? How can I use real honest examples? So that's really kept me well, honest. In my own writing is trying to just stay really honest. What do you think about that?
Emily Thompson 45:01
I agree. I mean, we're definitely going at this book, like one chapter at a time. But I already have notes on a future chapter where I'm not typing it out yet. It's not like official writing, but I am capturing those thoughts. Because, again, go where the energy is. If you have, like, if we have energy today around boundaries, we need to go write our boundaries chapter, then high five. Let's go do that. And I think that, I feel like that's where a lot of that like starving artists mentality can be broken.
Emily Thompson 45:32
Where you know, writer's blocks, and all of those things come into play. Like, if you are going where you have energy, and you are like filling your cup, and you have something to bring to the table, it may not be at the place in your book, or your blog posts or your newsletter that you currently are, it may be something else. I have an Evernote full, maybe not full, there's a couple in there, of newsletters, where I'll go start writing something and then come back, you know, the next day and the energy is gone. And instead of forcing out the rest of this newsletter, or this blog post, it's writing about the thing that I have energy around. And I mean, we are still very early in this process. But I have yet to experience any hardcore writer's block, knock on wood.
Kathleen Shannon 46:19
You know, I had that experience just yesterday writing a blog post. Where I started writing something else completely different. And so I didn't erase it, I just hit return a few times and moved it to the bottom of my document. And then I rewrote the blog post I was trying to write. But then at the bottom, I put a note saying save this for a future blog post, right? And so the same thing is happening even in our writing process, there's some stuff that I'm writing that I know full well, we might copy and paste it and move it over to another section. But it's definitely not keeping me from writing what it is I want to be writing about.
Emily Thompson 46:54
Definitely, this whole process has been super illuminating to me in lots of ways that I didn't really expect. Whenever we were pitching this book, I told Kathleen, I was like writing this Being Boss book is going to force us to be really boss. And in ways that like, at that point, I thought it was like negotiating a book deal. And like, you know, laying lines down with a publisher. And figuring out like, where we were going to budget, the money and how we were going to produce this book and getting really clear on our writing schedule. I didn't expect it to be figuring out my creative process in a whole new way, or learning how to go where the energy is, whenever you're writing a piece of work that's this large. Because it is so different from writing an email or writing a newsletter or a blog post. It's definitely been a process thus far, that is helping me be more boss. And in lots of ways and bless us, we just got started. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Kathleen Shannon 47:55
You know, I love that you say that. Because I think that we have been so rigid on giving ourselves structure over the past couple of years in order to get it all done, that we haven't allowed ourselves to have a bunch of flexibility whenever it comes to the creative process. And the creative process of writing the book has been a little bit more fluid again, even the back and forth in writing things that I know might not ever even make it into the book. But we can save it for something else. And I've seen it translate even to my business model and trying new things.
Kathleen Shannon 48:27
So for example, in the Being Boss Clubhouse, we have a very set structure so that everybody knows what to expect. But then more recently, I was like, hey, what if we tried like some office hours to get that mastermind vibe back into what we're offering people who have paid to hang out with us, right? Not paid to hang out with us, they've paid to uplevel their business. But part of that, part of our vision came from our vacations and these face-to-face happenings.
Kathleen Shannon 48:57
So anyway, the question was, how do we bring more of that vibe back into the online world, and really allowing ourselves to go where the energy is and being flexible enough to add it into our schedules. So I feel like this creative process has really tuned me into getting creative with my business model. And I'm applying some of the same principles over to Braid Creative. Even getting creative with redefining my role over there or getting creative with how I promote my next digital product. I just feel really excited about what we're learning about this creative process and how it can translate to all sorts of different things.
Emily Thompson 49:36
Yeah, and I definitely think creative process and really speaking to the flexibility that we are practicing, I guess is what we're doing at the moment. And especially in terms of our business model. It kind of is a theme of how we've created this business and what we want to share with other people. Like all of that is part of our voice and I just think that all that's very exciting. I want to sort of bring up and maybe wrap this up. Are you ready to wrap this up? Are you ready start wrapping this up?
Kathleen Shannon 50:08
Yeah, let's wrap it up.
Emily Thompson 50:10
I think that whenever it comes to finding your voice, you obviously have to practice it. And it's something that you and I are being very mindful of at this moment. Like we're being very mindful of the entire process, how it is that we're sharing and crafting and the fact that this is a book, we have a lot more time to mull it over to really like, workshop it and make sure it's amazing.
Kathleen Shannon 50:32
But also not. We're on a pretty tight timeline.
Emily Thompson 50:36
We are but we haven't just hit publish. Like with a blog post or a newsletter. You just write it and publish it.
Kathleen Shannon 50:44
Okay, I see what you're saying.
Emily Thompson 50:45
It's never taken me two weeks to write a blog post before and like, I've never spent two weeks on any piece of writing ever, except maybe like some papers in college or something. So the fact that we are being so mindful of finding our voice, of expressing that voice. I think we found it, we just need to express it. We need to craft it. And being very mindful of the entire process, which really does for us mirror that voice in a whole lot of ways, is so boss. Very time consuming, guys, this is what's going on in our brain. But I will say one of the most gratifying things is yesterday, whenever I was really listening to that podcast that we did. It's not just that I felt like we sounded like we get our shit together. It's that I can go back and listen to our first couple of episodes and cringe completely and utterly cringe.
Emily Thompson 51:39
Like it drives me nuts that whole like, whenever someone goes to iTunes and will start listening to the Being Boss podcasts, they scroll all the way to the bottom to number 1 and number 2, and I'm like, guys, that is not our best shit. By any means. We sound like a hot mess. Because we were just diving in, we had a voice, we didn't have a spoken voice, we had a writing voice. We were figuring it out as we go and just sort of putting it out there, which is how everyone starts finding their voice. Just put it out there, no one can go back to their first blog post and be very pleased with them. That does not happen.
Emily Thompson 52:14
But what made me most excited about the episode that I listened to yesterday is like comparing the two and how much we have grown over the past two years, how much less we say like and um, it still happens. But we're human, we could go cut them out, that would sound really weird. But it is so gratifying for me to see the proof of what happens whenever you do consistently, practice using your voice, our podcast has been a perfect example of what that can look like. And I'm excited to now take that and re put it into this book. Recraft it into book form, sharing what we've learned, and a whole new format that neither of us have experienced before. It's some really exciting shit.
Kathleen Shannon 53:02
Oh, man, everything that you were saying just reenergized me around the idea of wanting to personal blog again, because for me capturing, and shaping, and sharing who I am and what I do. It is this documentation of my life both in work in my career, and in my personal life and my family and in my home. And it's cool to have that documentation of how you've grown and how things have changed and evolved and seeing how far you've come all the time. I just love it. And I think it's a great case for sharing along the way, even if you don't feel ready. Even if you feel like a fraud, even if you're afraid to hit publish, it is worth it. So you guys start creating content. And I don't care if it's Instagram posts or blogs, or newsletters, or YouTube videos or a podcast. I just cannot tell you how important it is to capture, shape, and share your journey along the way, it really does matter. And it really does make a difference.
Emily Thompson 54:05
And I want to throw in there too, even if it's just for your own consumption. I think of you know, journaling, or scrapbooking, or writing letters to your friends or to yourself or to your loved ones or whoever it may be. I think that whenever you can practice getting your thoughts out of your head when they stop bumping around in there, which we all know is very distracting. Like getting them out of your head does wonders. But you're able to then sort of restructure them and be curious about why they're there. And how you can string them together. And the relationships between the thoughts that you have. All of the things. I think the world would be a better place if we all just opened up and shared either for consumption for others or not, and cultivated the voice within ourselves so that we could see what we stood for.
Emily Thompson 54:56
This book is what Kathleen and I at this moment stand for for sure. As well as all the podcasts that we're sharing and our newsletters. I think that is huge documenting your own journey. I look forward maybe being an old woman one day, and coming back to these Being Boss episodes remembering this time in my life. where we were doing these cool things, and talking about it, amd inspiring others to do their own things too. It's all it's all very good. Go practice your voice. You're gonna sound weird. Whenever I pitched the podcast to Kathleen, I told Kathleen, I was like, dude, I hate the sound of my voice too. We have to do this thing. If we let that like weird little fear keep us from doing it. We would not be here now. So put the fear side do the thing.
Emily Thompson 55:41
Hey bosses, Emily here and I was recently chatting up some graphic designers to come help out our team over at Being Boss and the first task at hand was getting these fine creatives on my schedule so that I could meet with them to see who would be the best fit. I got email after email proposing time slots all over a two week span. It was a bit of a mess. And I passed all of those emails off to my assistant and wished her good luck. Then, one designer set herself apart from the crowd. She sent over her Acuity Scheduling link that allowed me to get on her calendar based on my schedule, with no back and forth required to find just the right time. My immediate impression was that she was the most professional boss of the bunch and I got her meeting scheduled out before anyone else's. If this is the kind of first impression that you want to give your new potential clients, not to mention negate your own headache caused by trying to manage your boss schedule. Then the action step is easy. Head over to acuityscheduling.com/ beingboss today and sign up for your free trial.
Kathleen Shannon 56:46
Thank you for listening to Being Boss. Find articles, show notes, and downloads at www.beingboss.club.
Emily Thompson 56:54
If you're a creative entrepreneur, freelancer or small business owner who is ready to take your goals to the next level, check out the Being Boss Clubhouse, a two day online retreat followed by a year of community support, monthly masterclasses, book club, secret episodes, and optional in-person retreats. Find more at www.beingboss.club/clubhouse
Kathleen Shannon 57:17
Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey Winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin Brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon Lukey and are bean counter David Austin, with support from Braid Creative and Indie Shopography.
Emily Thompson 57:36
Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.