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Career Realities podcast #6:
writing and actually making a living, with crime writer William Shaw

July 3rd, 2017 No comments

This Career Realities interview is with writer and journalist William Shaw. Willam previously worked as a journalist, once at Smash Hits, and later the Observer, The Times and the Independent, and now makes his living as a crime fiction writer.

Among other things William talked about literally walking off the street into his first journalism job in the 70s; the difficulties of print journalism in the age of the internet; how financial institutions have little faith in you as a freelancer; and how, if he was going into journalism today, he wouldn’t be writing at all.

The Career Realities podcast series attempts to uncover the hidden realities of day-to-day work culture in various careers – the hours, the workload, the shift patterns – and questions the often-repeated assumption that paid work is our primary source of life fulfillment.

(For an introduction to the Career Realities interviews see here.)

Podcast excerpts:

On the unpredictability of money when working freelance

I can remember it being exasperating in the 90s, people wouldn’t give you a loan because you were freelance […] but nobody can sack me, however broke I get I’ve still got some money coming in, and people in full-time jobs, they can be sacked and they have nothing. So you’ve got the security of always knowing that there’s something around, but it does get quite squeaky at times.

On writers who cannot market themselves

[Marketing yourself] is a real fact of modern publishing, and there are writers who can’t do this, and they are disadvantaged in this day and age, and this is what has changed. There’s the old idea of a writer in their garret, it’s a very lovely one, but it doesn’t exist any more. It’s very hard for that kind of writer to thrive, unless they are a complete genius – and there are complete geniuses.

On the type of journalism that impressed the most

The type of journalism I liked was the sort of stuff, it’s not about being clever or witty or anything like that, it’s about getting inside a story, and making sure you’ve got all your sources there, you’re clever about finding your sources, about how you approach them, about how you interview them, and then turning in a story that nobody else could have written.

On finding your voice as a journalist

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, finding your voice is a massive step forward. And the only way you find your voice isn’t by sitting round thinking, ‘I wonder what my voice is’, it’s by writing a lot of stuff. And then your write something, and you’re not even conscious of why you wrote it that way, and suddenly you read it and you think, ‘oh, that actually works’ […] You find a way which feels honest to you.

On being a journalist in 2017

I would be going into video, I wouldn’t be going into the written word. It seems to me that is the form of the moment. If you’re looking for exciting areas that are doing stuff and going somewhere I wouldn’t be going into writing […] I don’t think journalism is a career any more, except for a handful of people. It’s actually a skillset, not a career. Writing is a brilliant skillset, and you shouldn’t not have it, and not enough people know how to do that skillset. But for very few people is it a career.

Better Overhaul Saul podcast, episode 10: S03E10 – Lantern

June 20th, 2017 No comments

Ethan and Talia discuss episode 10, the finale of Season 3 of Better Call Saul, ‘Lantern’. Including: we wonder if Jimmy will see Chuck’s death as an accident or suicide; what is the appropriate response to Atticus Finch; and is there anything more noble in fiction than degrading yourself during chair yoga.

You can find an introduction to the podcast here. New episodes are published every Tuesday, or just as soon after broadcast on Netflix UK as we can. A warning: Because Better Call Saul is a spin-off series from Breaking Bad, these podcasts will be full of Breaking Bad spoilers!

You can find a list of all Better Overhaul Saul podcast episodes here.

Contact the podcast at betteroverhaulsaulpodcast@ethancrane.com.

If you like our podcasts and want to be kept informed when we start a new one, please subscribe to our podcast mailing list below:


Better Overhaul Saul podcast, episode 9: S03E09 – Fall

June 13th, 2017 No comments

Ethan and Talia discuss episode 9 of Season 3 of Better Call Saul, ‘Fall’. Including: who is the poor intern at Lydia’s company who has to offer Mike an expresso? does the ability to remember people’s names make you a nice person? and we ponder our elderly future doing chair yoga.

You can find an introduction to the podcast here. New episodes are published every Tuesday, or just as soon after broadcast on Netflix UK as we can. A warning: Because Better Call Saul is a spin-off series from Breaking Bad, these podcasts will be full of Breaking Bad spoilers!

You can find a list of all Better Overhaul Saul podcast episodes here.

Contact the podcast at betteroverhaulsaulpodcast@ethancrane.com.

If you like our podcasts and want to be kept informed when we start a new one, please subscribe to our podcast mailing list below:


Better Overhaul Saul podcast, episode 8: S03E08 – Slip

June 6th, 2017 No comments

Ethan and Talia discuss episode 8 of Season 3 of Better Call Saul, ‘Slip’. Including: a cool but completely unnecessary pill drop; Kim and Howard bark out dog commands to each other; and how exit interviews tend to be a bit literal when leaving a career in drug dealing.

You can find an introduction to the podcast here. New episodes are published every Tuesday, or just as soon after broadcast on Netflix UK as we can. A warning: Because Better Call Saul is a spin-off series from Breaking Bad, these podcasts will be full of Breaking Bad spoilers!

You can find a list of all Better Overhaul Saul podcast episodes here.

Contact the podcast at betteroverhaulsaulpodcast@ethancrane.com.

If you like our podcasts and want to be kept informed when we start a new one, please subscribe to our podcast mailing list below:


Better Overhaul Saul podcast, episode 7: S03E07 – Expenses

May 23rd, 2017 No comments

Ethan and Talia discuss episode 7 of Season 3 of Better Call Saul, ‘Expenses’. Including: is littering worse off flyover freeways than ground-level ones?; how drugs-nerd Daniel Wormald doesn’t seem to understand the rules of communication for the genre in which he’s found himself; and medical professional that she is, Talia cannot help but launch into a tortuous roundup of the methodology and counterindications of established angina pharmacology.

You can find an introduction to the podcast here. New episodes are published every Tuesday, or just as soon after broadcast on Netflix UK as we can. A warning: Because Better Call Saul is a spin-off series from Breaking Bad, these podcasts will be full of Breaking Bad spoilers!

You can find a list of all Better Overhaul Saul podcast episodes here.

Contact the podcast at betteroverhaulsaulpodcast@ethancrane.com.

If you like our podcasts and want to be kept informed when we start a new one, please subscribe to our podcast mailing list below: