I'm very excited to be interviewing Glynnis MacNicol today. Glynnis is the author of the memoir No One Tells You This. She is a prolific writer and has contributed to The New York Times, ELLE, Town & Country, W, and Forbes, among other publications. She also coauthored a book on puberty called There Will Be Blood: The HelloFlo Guide to Puberty with Naama Bloom. A former internet marketing savant working eighteen-hour days, Glynnis cofounded and runs TheLi.st, a private, online community of high-powered women. Glynnis, a Canadian, currently lives in Brooklyn when she’s not out exploring the world.
Welcome, Glynnis. Thanks for being on “Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books.”
Glynnis MacNicol: Thank you for having me.
Zibby: Thanks for coming, especially on this rainy, awful day.
Glynnis: Welcome fall in New York.
Zibby: First of all, congratulations on your fantastic review in The New York Times Book Review. That's amazing.
Glynnis: Thank you. I keep saying this whole thing’s been intense. It’s strange to be reviewed. The whole thing is wonderful and a little overwhelming.
Zibby: What was that like? You picked up the book review and opened it up? I know you saw it online. What was it like just opening it up?
Glynnis: The thing about The New York Times Book Review is they actually let your publisher know weeks in advance that you've been assigned for review. Then they give you a general sense of when it’s publishing. Then your publisher sees it a few days before it goes live. I actually had seen it three or four days before. I guess because no one want to get on the wrong side of The Times, it doesn't occur to anyone to broadcast that in advance. I had seen the review a few days ahead of time. It was really wonderful. Where was I? I was out of town, and so I had to have somebody -- I wasn’t out of town. It was for the East Hampton’s Author’s Night. Caroline Waxler went out that morning in Sag Harbor and bought two copies of the Sunday Times, which is not nothing because that is a lot to carry home, and brought it back to the house so we could all read it. It was really lovely. It was really nice. Piper Weiss actually read it out loud over the breakfast table. It was a pleasant experience. It is still fun to see everything in print. As a newspaper lover and a magazine lover and somebody who has a history in the media, there is something still thrilling about seeing it in print even if the readership online is so much larger.
Zibby: I agree. I just posted on my Instagram the other night after I finished a stack of newspapers that I had saved for three days and then finally got to them all. I was like, “Does anyone do this? Does anyone get the newspapers and horde them?” Surprisingly, a bunch of people said yes. I don't feel so alone. I agree. I like the print.
Glynnis: I've just come back from being in Paris. I took all social media off my phone and made a point to read “book books,” not even on my Kindle. After about ten days you really notice, I do, there's almost a chemical shift in your brain. Your body calms down. Your brain feels better. I really believe there's something to reading “book books” or something to reading print. Not having that light in your face makes a difference in how we feel.
Zibby: Totally. I feel like reading is the only thing can keep my attention these days. Even if I'm watching TV, I have my laptop on my lap. But reading, I'm like, “Boom. The world is gone. I'm in it,” which is how I was with your book, No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol.
Tell listeners what your memoir is about.
Glynnis: I'm getting better at answering this question. I should be able to tell people what my book’s about. Early on, I struggled through it a little. Essentially, it’s a memoir of my fortieth year. I turned forty. I was single. I didn't have any children. I really felt like I approached my birthday with an enormous amount of dread. Then I turned forty and swiftly discovered that it was so much better and more exhilarating than I had ever been led to believe, which made me resentful that no one had prepared me to be like, “Wow, you could actually enjoy yourself.”
At the same time, it was much more difficult in ways that I was not prepared for. My mother was very ill. I was a primary caretaker in many ways. My sister at that time was home alone with three small children. I was helping out where I could there. This applies to all women, but in the particular case of this book I felt like the narratives we tell around the experiences of single women were so lacking. The narratives we tell around the lives of women over a “certain age” were essentially nonexistent. I got to the end of that year. I am a writer. I had spent a lot of the year complaining about the lack of stories and had this, what I joke is my Oprah-aha moment where I was like, “Uh, you are a writer.” I felt like I had enough material from the year to make a somewhat compelling narrative, so I turned it into a book, which fortunately got published.
Zibby: I love how you started it off, or you had the whole scene in the beginning, when you took the subway out and you were at the random hotel looking out on the beach. When I think of your book, I picture you sitting there.
Glynnis: Thank you. It was so random and last-minute. That little hotel on The Rockaways doesn't exist anymore.
Zibby: After your description, I can't say I'm totally surprised by that.
Glynnis: I always think it’s too bad though because The Rockaways is both so close and also to take the train, it’s an hour and a half. It’s nice to go out there for a little staycation. I think lots of people would do it if they could, but it’s not available.
Zibby: And the fact that you did it to celebrate your birthday when you had a million people offering to do things with you and you were like, “Nope. I'm going to do this by myself. I'm taking the train. I'm going to this crazy hotel. I'm making an adventure,” that was great. It says a lot about you.
Glynnis: In the book, I didn't want my friends to feel like I was criticizing them because there was no question that if I’d wanted to have a big party, I could have. But yes, I didn't.
Zibby: The parts of the book when you described dealing with your mother’s Parkinson’s disease were really, really moving. There was one scene with your mom, who you had said had almost never gotten angry before. She suddenly turned on you like a stranger. After telling her she couldn't go home because she was home, you wrote, “I watched a wave of horrific amazement sweep over her, and for a minute I was reminded of the exaggerated acting in the old Twilight Zone episodes we used to watch on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid. She looked wild. Her eyes darted back and forth. The Parkinson’s tremors normally so subtle as to be invisible jerked her body this way and that. It was as if my mother had disappeared and been replaced with, I had no idea.” Then you later say, “It took me an hour to get her to bed that night and many more to calm her down.”
Glynnis: I haven't read that actually since I wrote it, those parts of the book.
Zibby: Oh, I'm sorry for bringing it back up.
Glynnis: No, it’s okay. My mother died twenty days after I handed the first draft in. It was a challenge when I first went on book tour to find passages to read that I could read. The prologue, and particularly the epilogue, I wrote in one sitting and I have never reread at all. I sent it to my agent and said, “You have to tell me if there's spelling mistakes in here or anything.” It was too much. We can talk about this in a second, but one of the reasons those parts of the book resonate is because I was writing very much in the moment, which both has it challenges, good and bad. You have writing with no perspective whatsoever. You're writing from a really raw place, and I think that it’s resonating.
I can tell based on the way people talk about portions of the book what age or what experience readers have with their parents. Some people only focus on the storyline with my mother. Some people complain that there's too much about my mother. Some people don't mention my mother at all. I thought it was so interesting in The Times review that there was so little mention of my mother in that review. It was very focused on the fact I was single. The reviewer later said that she was in a similar position. I think people see in the book or take from it, is based a lot on what their experience, which is probably true. There's just a lot in this book.
Anybody who’s gone through anything with an ill parent, particularly Parkinson’s and my mother suffered from Parkinson’s-related dementia, which is very similar to Alzheimer’s -- increasingly, that disease is becoming something we’re all unfortunately becoming more familiar with. It’s so unnerving because this person that you know so well becomes completely different. There's no good way to handle it. It’s so overwhelming. There's a phrase for it. I can't remember. I was trying to think what it was on the way here. It was essentially a strange mourning you go through. You're mourning the loss of the person you knew even though that person is still present. It’s a weird, twilight grief or something like that. It’s such a strange place to be in. There's no closure to it.
Zibby: I interviewed a man named Jon Henes, who’s written a series of essays about his mother’s Alzheimer’s. He came on and was talking about the exact same thing, and then how there are no societal structures to help you cope with that.
Glynnis: Unfortunately, that'll change because Alzheimer’s is increasingly becoming a disease more and more people are forced to contend with. There was an amazing piece in The Times the other day about a woman who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and says she's not ready to retire.
Zibby: I saw that. That was interesting too.
Glynnis: As with so many things, when we have these platforms to talk about them, [indiscernible] that was essentially part of the baby boomer generation ages into all of these illnesses -- baby boomers are always the generation that forces us to talk about whatever. In this case, sadly now their illnesses and their elder care increasingly becomes something we’re all going to have to cope with it. It’s tough though. Tough for everyone.
Zibby: This is my last quote about your mom. We can move on. I promise. It’s not the only thing I'm interested in. I'm interested in a lot of parts. You wrote, “She’d been slipping away for months now, maybe years, a drop at a time, and with each part of her lost I had to ask myself whether I was imagining it. I could hold her after all and hear her, and yet she was not there too.”
Having to deal with that, how did you cope? What coping mechanisms did you use?
Glynnis: This book was partly a coping mechanism. As I said, this book was really written in the moment. I had a writing teacher once who said you should always wait five years to write about anything.
Zibby: Oh, my gosh. I wouldn't remember a thing.
Glynnis: I think her point was that you don't have perspective. You don't understand what was going on. She's right. I had to revise this book heavily or do rewrites more than I normally would because I was rewriting to get perspective on things. You don't want to write in anger. You don't to write in resentments or any of those things. There's details in this book that I probably wouldn't remember now had I not written them down as they were happening. I almost think I'm only just coping with it now. I was writing the book as it was happening. Then I revised the book in the aftermath of her death. Then the book has published. She only died a year and a half ago. I'm only coming out of this whole five years --
Zibby: -- denial?
Glynnis: I don't think it’s denial. Grief is such a weird beast anyway. It takes on so many forms. It can catch you off guard. I think we’re talking about that more and more. Friends of mine run a website called Modern Loss. They put out the book Modern Loss, which is really, really wonderful.
Zibby: I have that.
Glynnis: Figuring out how to talk about grief and how you can feel like, “Oh, it’s been a year and a half. I should be over this or dealt with this.” That's never the case. It just takes on different forms. In the moment as those things were happening, I dealt with it by eating a lot of chocolates. I gained twenty-five pounds that year. In the aftermath, I dealt with it by writing the book. You can ask me in a year how I'm dealing with it now. Now, it’s all wrapped up in the book too. I'm having to come out of the book-writing process and deal with real life, sort of.
Zibby: Just do another book and then you never have to deal at all.
Glynnis: “Real life,” she says, having just landed from Paris. I don't know how real it was.
Zibby: I’ll get away from these end-of-life, sadness stuff. You had this text relationship which you described so well. It would've been like a pen pal relationship in the olden days.
Glynnis: Of course, which sounds very romantic. I think I put it in the book. Someone said to me, “This is like when people used to send love letters to each other over long distances,” which is true to some extent.
Zibby: You have this whole long texting relationship with some sort of celebrity. I've asked you before and you still will not admit who it is, right?
Glynnis: It’s not admit. When it comes to stories about women, I really wanted this to be a story that centered on me, but on the character of a woman. I was really keen to keep all the men in it in side roles. It’s the same thing when I wrote that Times article about no one believes I'm happy. The opening anecdote about sitting beside a well-known writer, I don't want the conversation around that article, I don't want the conversation around this book to hook onto a famous male name. That's not the point of the book. It would very, very quickly become the hook of the coverage.
That would never be the case for a man, by the way. We do not center male stories on women that they’ve been associated with. That's a side issue. When we talk about Warren Beatty, it’s a side issue of all of the paramours he’s had, or relationships. It was relevant in the sense that fame is its own distorting thing. Every single person by [indiscernible] of social media has a little fame imprint now because we can track people's movements around. It just made it easier to track someone's movements. The men in this book function the same way women have functioned in most male stories. They're side characters. They're accessories to the narrative.
Zibby: My attempts to get the name out has failed me yet again. I'm glad you have a theory about it. I will stop.
Glynnis: I just want to get oxygen to it too.
Zibby: I'm kidding. I'm just playing. It’s only your instance on not telling that is sparking my interest. The role of the character does not gain any more attention because of it. It was a very funny, modern-day dating thing where you barely ever see someone yet you become so dependent over text. When you actually saw him once, you wanted to leave to text him about the terrible experience you had in real life, which is so funny.
Glynnis: The figure on your phone, you have the relationship with the person in the text messages. So much of that is what you're creating on your own. They're not there. There's no smells. There's no sounds. There's no touch. There's no way for them to irritate you with those things or satisfy you. It goes both ways. There's not somebody sitting there snoring in their sleep that you want to punch in the head. They literally just exist on your phone, which is very convenient and very comforting and very much a creation of your own imagination of what you're hoping that person is.
So when they show up in real life and they are completely disconnected from the character you've created -- I remember leaving a dinner date or a date or a night or something with him and being like, “Oh, my god. That was awful,” and then picking up my phone and wanting to text the character on my phone I created that was such a source of comfort to me to be like, “I just had this terrible experience.” I was like, “My god. It’s the same person.” I think we all do that. It’s so screwy. We’re the online self. We’re the real-life self. In our lives, that can be difficult and complicated. In relationships, now I am so averse to texting anybody that I'm dating. I'm like, “Oh, no. Call me or see me.” I don't really use Tinder anymore, but anytime I see somebody trying to push the relationship on text, I'm like, “Oh, no. I'm not going down this road again.” It’s all IRL from here on out.
Zibby: I have a new mom friend, which is my equivalent of dating at this point.
Glynnis: Which is true. You could do a dating book about mom friends.
Zibby: I could. I was like, “I'm going to call you.” You know what? I'm going to just keep calling this woman. It’s so much faster. I've gone full circle on the whole thing. I can't figure out these new plans. I don't know her that well. Let's just talk. We figured it out in two seconds.
Glynnis: Let's just talk. I know. It’s amazing that that's radical now.
Zibby: In breaking news, mother decides to make a phone call.
Glynnis: Exactly. [laughs] Sounds like a New Yorker cartoon called “2018.”
Zibby: I was laughing out loud in the book when you were describing the time you were helping your sister, who was a single mom at that point, with her newborn and her two other kids. You describe the scene with your niece and nephew, Zoe and Quinn. They bring you this pretend cup of coffee. The fact that they were doing that and that you insisted on it was the funny part too. You wrote, “Since they'd started walking, I’d been encouraging them both to bring me pretend coffee so that when they were old enough to make actual coffee, they would just bring it me automatically.”
Glynnis: By the way, that has not panned out yet. Although, I think my niece has made me snacks. They're getting to the age now they can make their breakfast. When I was a kid, maybe this happened to you, where you were the only one that knew how to work the VCR. Your parents were like, “I haven't got a clue.” We've reached that point where the television’s connected to the iPad, which is connected to Netflix. I don't have any idea how to turn the TV on. I'm handing it to my three-and-a-half-year-old nephew. Go for it. I don't know what's happening.
Zibby: We had a TV guy come today. They just sent me an email that said, “We just turned it on and off, and now it’s fine.” [laughs] I was like, “All right.”
To keep going on this, you've trained them to bring you coffee. Then you continue writing, “This was the first time it had actually worked. I sipped the pretend coffee theatrically as if it were the most magical thing I'd ever tasted while Zoe clamored up, staring at me with wide, happy eyes. A second later, Quinn arrived doing a running leap on the bed and sending my head smacking into the headboard and the coffee cup flying.” Maybe it’s bad that I found that so funny.
Glynnis: I have a friend who’s a professor in gender studies and so brilliant and smart, Mary Ann Cooper. We've had conversations where she says gender is all culture. Whenever I'm with the kids I'm like, “I don't think I believe that gender is all culture.” The way they behaved was so different. My nephew is so physical. My niece is so emotional and intellectual from a very young age. It was amusing to me to watch it play out. My niece would climb into bed and snuggle and want to talk. My nephew would show up and it would be like, “I'm about to be physically assaulted.” I love being with the kids. I wanted that chapter to be, I wanted it to reflect the joy and energy and fun, as well as the difficulties. I do have so much fun with them.
The school run is so stressful. I do get frustrated when we talk to mothers as if, “Oh, they talk about the school run as if it’s life and death.” It’s not that it’s life and death. It’s the [indiscernible] of the day. It’s how everyone gets through their day. It is so important. I remember feeling when I got the kids to school on time, I'd be like, “Somebody give me an Olympic medal for getting this accomplished.” It’s unfair the way we patronize the importance of those roles and mock women who talk about them with levels of seriousness. Also, I just enjoy it. I might have more enjoyment because it’s not my full-time life. I say this in the book. In the back of my head is the knowledge that I have an apartment in New York that I don't have to share with anybody, and I will eventually go back there. I do like doing school runs. I do like being with the kids. They're older now so I can literally be like, “Get dressed and get in the car,” or we babysit and they can make dinner because a dinner for us is like a hot dog.
Zibby: We had dinner with this other couple. My girlfriend confessed to me in a very ashamed way that she had been late to school with her kids like eight times. I'm like, “Eight times?” She was near tears about it. If this particular friend -- I won't name her name -- is listening, you can now call me and tell me you actually listened to this episode. I was like, “Here's what you have to do to not be late.” I made her backtrack through the whole day and set the alarm. Now, she's so proud. She's never late. She's so grateful. I'm like, “All I did is tell you to set the alarm.” It is so stressful. It’s the one thing you have to do.
Glynnis: It goes off the rails so easily, especially getting girls dressed, oh my lord, getting them to wear something that they want to wear. In that, I slip into all of the language that, in theory, I hate. I'm like, “You look pretty. Do you want to go to the salon?” I'm like, “This is disgusting.” [laughs] But we have to get to school on time.
Zibby: A big part of your book, also, was when you decide you don't want to have your own kids. Instead of waiting and hoping and thinking eventually, you decide, “You know what? I don't even really want that. If I had wanted it, I would've done it. I've accomplished so many other things in my life. It’s not like this would've slipped through the cracks. I must not really want it, or else I would've done it.” You have this great scene where you're holding Conner, your sister’s newborn, and asking, “Do I want this?” Ultimately, you say no. Then you add, “Of course I might regret it. I knew that. It seemed to me that going through life-making decisions on what I might possibly feel in a future that may or may not come was a bad way to live.” Tell me more about that.
Glynnis: The question around children for me was, it boiled down to would I be okay without children? Turning forty right then, I knew if I wanted to get pregnant, essentially, I needed to make that decision in that moment, on that spot. I try and emphasize here too, there's a lot of ways to be a mother. Too often we confuse pregnancy with motherhood in ways that are really disrespectful to what being a mother really is. I wanted to really emphasize there were ways down the line that if I decided I wanted to be a mother I could pursue. The idea did I want to get pregnant and have a baby with something, I had to look in the face and really make that decision because as we know, there is a clock, whether or not we want to acknowledge it or not, at all times. Because I was in this moment, I was in the literal deep end of children, I wasn’t theorizing, I was sitting there with the kids and I thought, “Am I going to be okay if this doesn't happen to me?” It really forced me to consider my life as something I had created on purpose as opposed to something that had happened to me while I was waiting for my real life to happen to me, which I think is the way we often talk to women.
Not so much anymore, but I very frequently am confronted with, “Don't worry. There's still time,” as if you're waiting for life to come. My life is something I've built intentionally, that I want, that I value, that I like, that I'm comfortable with. I'm going to be okay if I don't have kids. In fact, I don't want kids badly enough to upend my whole life in pursuit of them. That's really what it came down to. I know for some women it’s a question of, “I don't want children.” For me, it was far more a question of do I want them enough? I didn't. I didn't want them enough. I would be okay without them. Of course when you say that, so often the response I've been on the receiving end of is, “You're going to regret it. Don't you worry that you're going to regret it? Don't you worry that down the line you're going to wish you'd made a different decision?” I'm like, “Don't you worry that about everything in your life?”
The idea that I'm going to go against what my instincts are telling me -- I'm a grown-up. I have a reasonably successful life. I know myself fairly well. The idea that I would go against that on the off chance that ten years from now or twenty years from now I might regret that decision, that seems like a really terrible way to live on any level. Am I going to regret I don't take this trip to Paris? That's fine. Am I going to regret not creating a life when everything about me right now is saying that -- I've really investigated this decision and interrogated myself, and no. Don't insult me or women in general. Believe women when they tell you that they know what they want.
Zibby: Isn't there a whole thing that your best guess at how you feel tomorrow is how you'll feel today?
Glynnis: That's a good line. I’ve never heard that.
Zibby: I think it’s a saying. I know I didn't make it up. I've heard it somewhere. I often am like, “What should I do? What should I do?” Well, how do I feel about it now? That's my best guess.
Glynnis: We don't ever talk to women like they know themselves. Everything around women’s magazines, culture, everything is how you're not okay the way you are. Let us tell you how to make yourself better. We don't actually believe women very easily when they tell us, “I'm pretty great with how things are.” It’s always like, “I don't know. It could be better.” I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I know myself well. I was forty at that time. I'm forty-four now. I have a fairly solid knowledge of myself. I feel pretty secure with how I've lived my life at this point. If I say this is how I feel…
Zibby: We’ll take your word for it.
Glynnis: Take my word for it. Also, the fact people always feel obligated to weigh in on that, I'm always like, “What skin do you have in this game?” Take all that energy and put it towards changing healthcare in this country or the support system around childcare.
Zibby: I find the more people insert themselves into something in your life, it’s just something they're working out. Oftentimes I'm like, “I'm just going to let this person work this out.”
Glynnis: Yes, because you're a little overly invested in a life that you have nothing to do with.
Zibby: When I'm not in a hyperemotional state I can make that distinction, unless it’s my mom or something.
Speaking of this successful life that you've built, you started out as a bartender/waitress?
Zibby: Waitress in the East Village.
Glynnis: Terrible bartender, so I always went with waitress. In the Village.
Zibby: I had an image in my head, but it was probably not right. You went from there to building this eighteen hour a day, high-pressure, high-power job which you said was a “no clocking out, no off-switch, high-intensity job.” Then five years into that career, you said you “didn't so much stop as buckle under my own momentum.”
Glynnis: That's so interesting. I haven't read the book now in like nine months. I'm like, “I did write that.”
Zibby: You did. You wrote it. I have it right here. Tell me about the burnout. I was really interested. You describe the burnout and the spiral into where you had to basically stop and regroup in a really great way.
How did you cope with the burnout?
Glynnis: I was a media reporter. I was that first wave of media, internet journalism. I was lucky. I catapulted my way over to a position that pre-the internet would've taken fifteen years to achieve. The internet both allowed me to fast track to a place in my career, but at the same time there was a price to pay for that. We didn't have discussions in those days about you get off work, you shouldn't be answering email, or let’s turn our phone off. I was really working nonstop for years. When I burnt out, it was a spectacular burnout. I cleared my desk and walked to the Brooklyn bridge. Then I didn't work for six months. I'm somewhat responsible financially so I had some savings, but I did not have the [indiscernible] savings to facilitate Glynnis not working for six months. It just kept going. I'd been supporting myself since I was a teenager. To say I was watching my bank account diminish was really -- all rational thought had gone out the window.
I remember talking to a therapist about it after. She said that is the definition of burn out, where you're not making rational decisions at all. Now, I think we take that word more seriously. When this happened to me, it was 2012. I was so early that people would be looking at me like I was a little crazy or I didn't know what I was talking about. I wrote an article about it in 2013 or ’14. I still get emails about it. I get emails from college professors. I got emails from Iraq War veterans saying I described PTSD perfectly. I get emails from college kids doing papers. I just happened to be a little early in to what I think we all struggle with now, which is the relentless on-ness that comes with the phone, with the internet. The news cycle right now is making a lot of us check out in ways that is healthy.
In August, I took all social media off my phone because I thought this is the break that I need and I think probably most people need. Someone said, “Aren’t you worried?” I said, “If the apocalypse happens, someone will come and tell me, or I’ll see them running down the street.” There are ways to let people know what's going on in the world that don't exist on your phone. It was unnerving because I'd been so ambitious. It was so debilitating. I remember there was a full month where I would just lie on the bedroom floor and watch Golden Girls reruns.
Zibby: I love Golden Girls.
Glynnis: I know! I would be like, “To be a sixty-year-old woman in Florida in the eighties before the internet, now that is heaven.” That is where my head was at. I was so desperate for an off switch. At the time, it was scary and irresponsible and all those things. In hindsight, I'm very grateful because it really made me turn and look and say, “What is it you really want to do,” made some pretty hard decisions that eventually resulted in this book and me doing writing that I want to do, and Rachel Sklar and I creating a business out of it that still runs.
The book is hindsight. You can talk about it and it sounds great. I lived in Brooklyn Heights at the time. I would walk around. I couldn't pay my cable bill or my internet bill, so everything got cut off. This is before everyone passcoded their internet signal. I'd walk around the neighborhood with my computer looking for a random signal to get online. People would see me that I knew because I knew so many people in the neighborhood. They'd be like, “What are you doing?” I'd be like, “My internet’s just down today.” They'd be like, “Oh, okay.” It would make a great scene in a movie, but at the time it was so pathetic.
Zibby: No, it’s not pathetic. It’s part of your process. I want to know what's next for you and then if you have any advice to aspiring writers.
Glynnis: What is next is hopefully a novel. I don't think I’ll be writing a memoir again. In the interim, I think I'm going to do a short book for Simon & Schuster just talking about the profession of midwife. They're doing a series. I'm going to write the midwife, which is a interim project for me to write but not have to use my imagination too much. Probably the next one is a novel. Late nineties New York is an ever-fascinating place and time for me. It's in the back of my head. This book is still chugging along, so a lot of my energy is still focused on this.
My advice to aspiring to writers is -- I got this advice too, and I understand it’s sometimes frustrating -- is to think of writing as a craft like anything else. The result can be magical. The actual doing of it is just a matter of doing it every day. I did it every day because that was my job to write fifteen posts a day. As much as that was exhausting, when it came to the writing of this book, on days where I felt terrible or my writing felt terrible or I was so discouraged, I had that muscle memory of knowing tomorrow will be better because I'd put in all those hours doing it. I didn't panic. I just sat back down at the desk again. I wrote. There was no, “I'm waiting for inspiration or the muse,” or all that other nonsense that gets attached to it. If you're training for a marathon, you have to run every day. As anything else, you just have to keep doing it. That doesn't sound very inspirational, but it’s true. You will inevitably get better. Also, read. Get off the internet is my number one piece of advice in life. Try and get off the internet for a portion of every day. Leave your phone away from your bed and read for an hour before you go to sleep.
Zibby: Unless you're listening to this podcast, in which case keep your phone close.
Glynnis: Well, no, because the podcast is for when you're exercising or when you're on the trainer. As we talked about, listening still exercises your brain and your imagination. I think you should always listen to this podcast.
Glynnis: I do think as beneficial as the internet has been, making time to get off it as much as possible is really helpful for all of our sanity.
Zibby: Totally agree. Thank you so much for coming and doing this podcast.
Glynnis: This was so fun.