Writing is so often a solitary and arduous pursuit that podcasts such as In Writing with Hattie Crisell are a welcome refuge.
In each episode of In Writing, journalist Hattie Crisell seeks solidarity and insight from one of the best of any and all genres. Among the 25 to date are playwright and screenwriter Lucy Prebble, novelist David Nicholls and writer and performer Robert Webb.
The interviews feel less like formal conversations than intimate visits. Crisell starts each one by asking the writer to describe their writing room.
The answers set the scene and give the first insight, with the working environment usually informing the process. Prebble’s bare room is designed to avoid distraction, while Nicholls likes his filled with photos, music and books for “subliminal inspiration”.
The writers then retrace their roads to success and share the lessons they learned along the way. This is at once reassuring and inspiring. Especially those, like Jon Ronson, whose roads were paved with rejection letters.
Now an award-winning screenwriter, Ronson admits to receiving a particularly humiliating response to the first script he sent on spec to the BBC: “Usually, when we reject submissions, we like to offer some encouragement but, in your case, we don’t see any point in you continuing.”
Each episode offers a similar comforting reminder that failure and self-doubt are universal. So why do we do it, asks Crisell. Ronson recalls Randy Newman’s answer to the same question: “It’s how I judge myself and how I feel better.” Listen to In Writing and you’ll feel better about writing.