Episode 40: Get your book life right w/Liz Pryor: Writing advice from the life advice guru

“Oh where, oh where, has Behind the Prose gone? Oh where, oh where can it be?”

If that’s the tune you’ve been singing the past few months, here’s the answer: There comes a time in every podcaster’s life when she must sit down and figure out why the hell she’s doing a podcast. And after she gets the answer, she returns with a second season of the MFA in an MP3, Behind the Prose.

In January 2015, I started the show with my first episode featuring Tavonne Carson on The Writing Process. I wanted to talk to other scribes in the struggle, to figure out how they crafted their sentences, paragraphs, and chapters.

Judith Ortiz-Cofer likes Behind the Prose!Behind the Prose’s first season featured 39 episodes. Some are long. Ok, most are long, as Rachel Kramer Bussel wrote in a blog post, “Podcasts that have helped me advance my writing career.”  I talked to novelists, journalists, and editors. The show placed #1 on BlogTalkRadio’s Writing channel at least five times. It even earned an amazing tweet of acknowledgment from a living legend, author and teacher Judith Ortiz Cofer.

Essayist Elana Rabinowitz

Essayist Elana Rabinowitz’s Behind the Prose show helped me land a byline in The New York Times.

And all that awesomeness, I’m sure, affected me. I started getting more clips. After talking about my McSweeney’s obsession on the show in May 2015, I got my first byline there almost a year later. (I’ve been unsuccessful in subsequent attempts, but I’ll keep trying.) In April, I interviewed essayist Elana Rabinowitz about her “Metropolitan Diary” piece in The New York Times. Several weeks later, as I freewrote on my anger at the internet shaming of Lil’ Kim, I heard Elana’s voice in my head, detailing how she’d cut, shaped, and given her short essay meaning. With her framework in mind, I reworked the piece, submitted it to The New York Times, and got my own clip in “Metropolitan Diary,” too.

At the end of each episode, I told the audience to “listen, learn, and write.” I hoped that someone would become a better writer, maybe get published, from something they heard on the show. I adopted the “Publishing Karma” philosophy coined by my MFA thesis mentor at The New School, Susan Shapiro: almost 100 of her students have landed book deals after working with her and attending her countless free writing events in New York City (like her Sept. 6 Speedshrinking Event at Housing Works or her Sept. 13 reading with her mentor Ian Frazier at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park). Perhaps, Behind the Prose could start its own list of success stories, too.

Estelle Erasmus

Estelle is a widely-published journalist, writing coach and author. She’s also a mom. Her work can be found on Salon, The Washington Post, Brain, Child, Your Teen and many other places. Photo courtesy of Estelle’s blog, “Musings on Motherhood & Midlife.”

And then, a few weeks ago, I saw a Facebook post from writer Estelle Sobel Erasmus. She’d just landed a “Metropolitan Diary” piece in The New York Times titled “The Gas Goes Out and the Train Goes In.”

On August 21, Estelle wrote, “So proud to have my first piece in the New York Times. I was inspired by binders Keysha Whitaker and Elana Rabinowitz to submit to this section. It will be in print on Monday.”

I’m happy that the show helped Estelle, who was already a successful writer, and I’m excited to bring you another season of smart writers.

One of those smart writers is Liz Pryor, author of the new memoir Look At You Now, which was published by Random House this summer. In this episode, I interview Liz with one of my new interns, associate producer and co-host Sarah Lorish. If you don’t feel like you can write a book and get it published after you listen to this, then listen to it again. The feeling is bound to surface.

Check out the season two debut of Behind the Prose below or subscribe to Behind the Prose on iTunes to get every episode. Also, pick up Liz Pryor’s book through my Amazon link and you’ll help keep Behind the Prose on the air!

Author Liz Pryor. Photo by Susan Sheridan Photography.

Author Liz Pryor. Photo by Susan Sheridan Photography.Liz Pryor is an author, speaker, parenting columnist and life advice expert.  She is the owner of www.LizPryor.com and author of What Did I Do Wrong? Published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster, nominated for the books for a better life award 2008.

Liz Pryor is an author, speaker, parenting columnist and life advice expert. She is the owner of www.LizPryor.com and author of What Did I Do Wrong? Published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster, nominated for the books for a better life award 2008.

Last year, Liz went up against 15 thousand hopefuls in a national search for the position of “life advice guru” on ABC’s Good Morning America, and won.  She dispensed an advice column weekly for ABC news, answered relationship and parenting advice questions, and appeared on air for the morning show.  Her candid shoot from the hip approach to the growing challenges of everyday life in this fast paced culture, offers support and hope in a voice that resonates.   Her familiar yet unique style has been coined as a modern day dear Abby meets a slice of Jon Stewart.

Liz ‘s recent Partnership as parenting expert with SAMSUNG for the launch of the “Make Your House Work” campaign has Liz sharing her experience and advice on raising kids, working, and running a home life efficiently.  Her parenting, friendship and life survival tips can be read in numerous American and Canadian magazines. Liz contributes to several mommy blogs, and writes for the international baby company Munchkin as their resident mom advisor.

Having been raised the fifth of seven children in a suburb outside Chicago, Liz’s grounded roots make for a solid platform from which to draw. She studied Journalism at Kansas University, and continued her studies at UCLA after moving to southern CA. in the mid 80’s.

Liz believes that as a single mom with three young teenagers most of her wisdom, idea’s and answers come from her own scrappy need to make life work…everyday.

Follow her on Twitter @lifewithliz.