Episode 327 – Writing the Shadow with Joanna Penn

Mark interviews Joanna Penn about her new book Writing the Shadow: Turn Your Inner Darkness into Words, then associated Kickstarter she launched for it, plans she has to window its release, and much more.

Prior to the main content, Mark thanks Patrons of the Stark Reflections Podcast.

In their conversation, Mark and Joanna talk about:

  • How it has been a while since Joanna has been on Mark’s podcast (she was in episode 212)
  • The number of years Joanna has been podcasting under The Creative Penn brand (March 2009)
  • How sometimes there’s a book that you really want to write that you’re not ready to write yet
  • The way we can often push the “shadows” down and repress them
  • The importance of writing the things that fascinate you
  • What happens when you push a balloon down underwater and try to hold it there
  • Plato’s Chariot and the White and Dark horses and getting them to run together in harmony
  • The value of addressing what we’re repressing and bringing it into the light particularly in your writing
  • How critical it is for successful fiction to have conflict, which is often derived from the shadow
  • The common themes in Joanna’s writing about helping or saving the family or saving the world
  • The only way we’re going to be able to stand out as human in a crowded market, and, in particular, a market with emerging AI-generated content
  • How Writing the Shadow and Pilgrimage are “mid-life” books for Joanna as she is addressing that part of her existence and Mememto Mori in those memoir-style books
  • Exploring how you’re being held back by some of those things that you’ve allowed to be repressed
  • The shadows in both self-publishing and traditional publishing
  • How you don’t need to be afraid to look into the shadow and perhaps find the gold in that shadow
  • The Kickstarter that Joanna has launched for Writing the Shadow
  • The way authors have long focused on the retail websites for sales but how that has slowly shifted into a new phase of direct selling and windowing strategies
  • Joanna’s launch strategy for Writing the Shadow which starts with Kickstarter, migrates to direct selling on her personal websites, and then moves into broader retail and library distribution
  • The value of standing out as an author, particularly today
  • How Writing the Shadow is an optimistic book despite the topic and themes explored in it
  • Building a new author ecosystem and training existing and new readers to engage in that realm
  • The importance of remembering how the business model will keep changing but what doesn’t change is writing the books of your heart and the books that will help you and others
  • Gifts of the shadow, finding the gold, and the idea of “after the curse comes the gift”
  • The spiral bound workbook
  • How will redirect either to the Kickstarter or wherever the books are available in the future
  • The horror themed storybundle that Mark and Joanna are both in
  • And more…

After the interview Mark reflects on a few things from the conversation, announces a bonus for his patrons related to a reward from Joanna’s Kickstarter, and invites listeners to share their own reflections on this topic.

Video of the interview.

Links of Interest:

The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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