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Why I Write

National Council of Teachers of English

Why I Write podcast is produced by the National Council of Teachers of English and hosted by C.C. Chapman of "Accident Hash" fame. Why I Write is a bi-weekly podcast similar to Lifehacker's "How I Work" series in which we delve into the topic of writing by talking with authors from variety genres and methods to hear their take on writing and its importance both in their lives and how it should be important in each of ours.



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Why I Write
Dec 13, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s known for her ability to distill and convey complex ideas with humor and clarity, in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience. She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before, and The Happiness Project.
Why I Write
Nov 29, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Justin Dillon is an artist, entrepreneur, public speaker, and abolitionist. He is the founder and CEO of Made In A Free World, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending forced labor, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery through increased public awareness, action, and advocacy. His first book, A Selfish Plan to Change the World: Finding Big Purpose in Big Problems, is available now.
Why I Write
Nov 15, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the creator of fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. Scott is the co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League YA series. He lives in San Diego, CA, with his wee little dog Reesie. They’re both diehard Detroit Lions fans.
Why I Write
Oct 31, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Bolaji O is the founder of Brave Little Heroes Media, a publisher of children's books and mobile games. He specializes in writing humorous and uplifting stories for brave little heroes. Young Bolaji O was a shy child in Nigeria when he fell in love with Spider-Man comic books and the hopeful power of storytelling.
Why I Write
Oct 16, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Among many other things, Grant Faulkner is the executive director of National Novel Writing Month. If you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo (as it is known by), every November tens of thousands of people from around the world take to their keyboards with the goal of writing a 50,000-word draft of a novel before they flip the calendars to December.
Why I Write
Oct 4, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Lynnda Pollio was born in rural New Jersey and wandered through childhood feeling like she belonged somewhere else. As an adult, she moved to New York City and began experiencing life from many new perspectives. After her father died, she heard a voice tell her to go to Sedona, Arizona, and that began a journey into spiritual awakening and the writing of her book Trusting the Currents.
Why I Write
Sep 21, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Kevin Smokler is the author of the essay collection Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched since High School, and we chat a bit about the books he was assigned to read in school but only appreciated later in life. His work has appeared in the LA Times, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, Vulture, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Publishers Weekly, and on National Public Radio. In 2013 he was Book Riot’s first ever Writer in Residence.
Why I Write
Aug 24, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Byron Pitts is the co-anchor of Nightline and the chief national correspondent for ABC News. In the past, Byron has served as the chief national correspondent for CBS News and contributing correspondent for 60 Minutes. Byron’s newest book, Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope, shares the heartbreaking and inspiring stories of six young people who overcame impossible circumstances with extraordinary perseverance.
Why I Write
Aug 7, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Laurie Halse Anderson is a writer known to many of you, but she was unknown to me until I walked into a panel at the 2016 NCTE Annual Convention about censorship and instantly appreciated her frank and blunt manor. Laurie is a New York Times–bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition.
Why I Write
Jul 27, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Erika spent over eight years as an award-winning author, columnist, journalist, speaker, and business consultant before throwing most of it away in 2014 to return to a career in the performing arts. One look at Erika’s timeline will showcase that she is far from the stereotypical reclusive writer. Erika has been known to speak her mind and isn’t afraid to use adult language when sharing her thoughts.
Why I Write
Jul 6, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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I first met author Jeff Goins in the back of a car on the way to the airport in Dallas. We had both spoken at a large event in Texas and yet somehow hadn’t crossed paths before. After the typical introductions and discussion of what we were working on, he reached into his bag and politely said, “I don’t usually do this, but I think you would really appreciate my latest book Wrecked based on what you just told me.” He was right. I loved the book; it was also the book I needed to read at...
Why I Write
Jun 23, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Today we are excited to welcome award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson to the Why I Write podcast. Our Annual Convention will be happening this November in St. Louis, and we are excited to have Jacqueline as one of our Keynote Speakers. Register today so that you don’t miss out on any of the amazing content, meetings, and happenings. Jacqueline is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for adults, young adults, middle graders, and children. Her New York Times...
Why I Write
Jun 9, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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From the moment I first watched A Pep Talk from Kid President to You and heard the classic line, “Not cool, Robert Frost!,” I was a fan of Brad Montague and his writing. Now, you may not have heard of Brad, but I’m betting/hoping you have heard of his most successful creation so far, Kid President. But Brad is about more than one amazing project, and we had the chance to talk about all of this on this episode of the Why I Write Podcast. We, of course, discussed the success of Kid...
Why I Write
May 5, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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I’m a self-admitted geek and love technology. So when the words of Daniel Suarez’s writing entered my world, I was better for it. Daniel writes thrillers that focus on near-future technology and how it may be abused. His stories target technology that you may have read about but haven’t experienced yet. Think about an autonomous Humvee attacking in Daemon, swarms of drones in Kill Decision, and genetically modified embryos in his newest book, Change Agent. Daniel Suarez is a New York...
Why I Write
Mar 31, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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In the days following the Inauguration, I read The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet and instantly knew that I had to have Carmen Agra Deedy as a guest on the podcast. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the US as a refugee in 1964. Carmen grew up in Decatur, Georgia, where she still lives today. She has been writing books for children for over two decades and shows no signs of slowing down. Over the course of her writing career, she has been nominated and won a variety of awards.  She is beloved...
Why I Write
Mar 7, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Over the course of my life, I’ve crossed paths with a variety of amazing people and one of those is journalist Ellen McGirt. She is an award-winning business journalist specializing in long form profiles. Currently, she writes a daily column covering race, culture, and leadership for Fortune called raceAhead. Every day when it arrives in my inbox, I stop whatever I’m doing and immediately read it. During her time at Fast Company, she wrote a number of high profile cover stories about a...
Why I Write
Feb 16, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Almost from the first moment of hitting record on this podcast, one name kept coming up as a must-have guest and that was Sharon M. Draper. Sharon is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Awards, and is a New York Times bestselling author, with Out of My Mind staying on the list for almost two years. On this episode, we talk about the importance of teachers...
Why I Write
Feb 2, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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My path first crossed with David Moldawer’s when he hired my marketing agency to help with a social media push for a book he was working on at St. Martin’s Press.   Since then our paths have continued to cross in a variety of fun ways and today I’m excited that those paths lead him to being a guest on the Why I Write Podcast.   David is based in Brooklyn, New York, and he spent over a decade as a book editor at a slew of New York publishing houses acquiring and editing bestselling...
Why I Write
Jan 19, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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I need to make a confession to all of you before you listen to this episode.   Before attending the NCTE Annual Convention last fall, I had never heard of Deborah Wiles or read any of her work.   Shocking because I now know all the praise and awards her books have received over the years.   Born in Alabama into an Air Force family and spending her growing-up summers in a small Mississippi town with an extended family full of Southern characters. Today they live on in her stories.   The...
Why I Write
Jan 5, 2017 National Council of Teachers of English
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Welcome to 2017! I hope your holidays were full of smiles, time with loved ones and of course books! To get the new year off on the right foot, I’m excited to release our latest podcast episode with bestselling author Seth Godin. Seth’s writing includes talking about purple cows, meatball sundaes, the dip and tribes. He is considered by many to be one of the most inspiring writers in the business and marketing genre. He believes that words on paper go to a special place in our brains and...
Why I Write
Dec 15, 2016 National Council of Teachers of English
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Nicole Blades sat down to take her LSATs and realized that practicing law was not how she wanted to spend the rest of her life. She has been putting words to paper since a child and an English teacher encourage her to pursue this career. All of those moments, combined with a conversation between her and a makeup artist on the set of a horrible talk show made her realize that journalism was the perfect way to be a writer as a career. As with most writers, her career path was not a straight...
Why I Write
Dec 2, 2016 National Council of Teachers of English
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Matthew Ebel has always enjoy playing with his imaginary friends and as he grew older he went from simply talking to them, to sharing their voices with the world.   Currently based outside of Boston, Matthew is a singer songwriter who’s playful lyrics and powerful piano playing has entertained listeners around the globe. He has written a book, turned it into an album and continues to push the boundaries of technology to help make his writing better.   He was one of the first to embrace the...
Why I Write
Nov 17, 2016 National Council of Teachers of English
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Fiction writers often feel a special connection to the characters they create. Science Fiction and Fantasy author Katina French told us matter of factly, that she writes because the characters in her head won’t leave her alone otherwise. That by putting the words on the page it is the only way she can get them to shut up. Like many writers, Kat doesn't have the luxury of writing fiction full time (yet). She has had a successful career in the copywriting, community building and marketing...
Why I Write
Nov 3, 2016 National Council of Teachers of English
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Jonathan Fields is a parent, entrepreneur and writer. He lives a purposeful life and loves sharing stories of others who do the same through his Good Life Project. He was so committed to ensuring that his third book How to Live a Good Life was the book he (and his publisher) wanted it to be that Jonathan wrote three complete manuscripts before the book hit shelves and nightstands earlier this month. We chatted about his belief that writing is an even more important skillset for our children...
Why I Write
Oct 20, 2016 National Council of Teachers of English
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“You Can Write.” Those were the three words spoken by a ninth grade English teacher to set Brad Meltzer on the path to being a New York Times Bestselling author. Known for his Washington, DC area thrillers and children’s “I Am…” books, Brad’s life was turned upside down when his father lost his job at thirty nine. Losing everything forced them to move and his dad proclaimed “We are going to have a do-over of life.” Brad is thankful for rule breaking teachers like his Miss...