Discover more from MAGICAL OVERTHINKERS
How I stay motivated to write through the apocalypse (+ a NYC meetup!)
And a list of cult-themed podcasts I highly recommend.
Weekly reader Q&A:
Q: How do you stay motivated to write?
A: There are ways to answer this question more abstractly, ways that I fear might make me sound literally sick in the head, and maybe I’ll talk about those later in this newsletter journey when we all feel more comfortable with each other (lol), but for now, I’ll lend a nugget of practical advice that works well, at least for me: I set a really low bar for myself. This might sound like bullshit, but it’s true: Both in my day-to-day life and in my career more broadly, I never set pie-in-the-sky writing goals. I create daily to-do lists that are so achievable and reasonable that I know I can check off everything, and maybe even more.
My writing to-do lists are always short and as nonspecific as they can be; I don’t have a daily word count that I force myself to hit. I guess the big trick is I plan ahead as far as I can, and this allows me to give myself generous deadlines. This “low bar method” means I’m never disappointing myself, which is essential for daily motivation and morale.
Join the community of curious minds exploring delusion, cults, thought-spirals, books, mental health, and more through MAGICAL OVERTHINKERS. Show your support by becoming a paid subscriber!.
Actually, when I first quit my day job and started writing from home, I penned a list of a few more work-from-home “tips” for Domino Magazine. Here’s that story—I hope it’s helpful! Do you have a bookish or writerly question for me? Leave it in a comment.
A bonus Part 2 episode of Sounds Like A Cult…
We released this all-time-fave episode of Sounds Like A Cult last year right before Midnights dropped, and hollllllly friendship bracelets has Swift’s fandom, nay, religion grown since then. Tune in to re-listen to the ep, plus a spicy new intro with my updated take on how the pop idol’s empire is growing evermore (heh) cultish!
There are signed copies of Wordslut and Cultish at Diesel bookstore in Santa Monica!
Angelenos! I moderated an event for debut author Jessica Elefante at the Brentwood Country Mart’s Diesel bookstore the other week, where I got to meet several of you lovely readers and sign copies of my books. They’re still in stock, if anyone’s in town and wants to snag one.
I’m swinging into NYC for a quickie work trip this week and was thinking of popping into a bookstore on Wednesday the 8th to sign books and say hello to my New York readers. Where shall we go? The Strand? McNally Jackson? Books Are Magic? Tell me in a comment!!
Our first virtual career workshop was a smash! There are still a few spots for the second one…
It’s the crash course in DIYing your own book launch that I only wish existed five years ago. If you can’t attend live, you can still buy a ticket and receive a recording of the event! More info here.
I was interviewed for this culty article in The New Yorker.
It’s about the “cult” of controversial artist David Choe’s “Munko,” a sort of self-actualization “community” for NFT bros on Discord. What a time to be alive. Check it out below lol.
We have a GLOSSY giveaway winner!
It’s subscriber Jainny Estrada!! I am so appreciative of all who entered. Def planning on doing more giveaways here. Stay tuned for a stationary one coming soon :)
A weekly roundup of books, podcasts, TV shows, tchotchkes, and anything else I’m currently “cult following.” This week, at a few readers’ requests, a highlight reel of cult-themed podcasts!
THE DREAM: Season 1 is a high-production-value deep dive into the multilevel marketing industry—its history, abuses, and political tentacles. This pod was hugely influential for my MLM chapter of Cultish. Host Jane Marie’s reporting is the crème de la crème.
GRIFTY: Okay, I might be biased, because I’m a regular contributor to this pod, but it’s truly so unique! The main host is therapist Azadeh Ghafari, the voice behind @the.wellness.therapist Instagram account, which is devoted to debunking online New Age grifters. The podcast is generally about “false idols” and involves thoughtful discussions from a panel of brilliant experts with unique backgrounds, including a clinical psychologist, a historian, and others! Check out our episode on the Manosphere.
A LITTLE BIT CULTY: Hosted by NXIVM survivors Sarah Edmondon and her husband Nippy Ames, whom you might recognize from The Vow. They’ve done a really beautiful job of taking their cult trauma and turning it into a vulnerable, well produced interview show about recovering from cult abuse, where they interview a range of guests from FLDS survivors to cult psychologists. The vibe is mostly open-hearted, informative conversations with a healthy dose of personal charm (and they mention Cultish all the time which is obviously major brownie points :))
TRUST ME: I feel extremely simpatico with this show, which is basically the other chatty cult podcast hosted by two young women—except these gals grew up in cults themselves! Lola and Meagan’s pod provides super-compelling discussion of extreme religious dogma and other forms of cultlike manipulation (everything from the Duggars to sororities to Ben Shapiro stans) with a personal angle that has strongly resonated with listeners since they started the show back in 2020. They kindly interviewed me before Cultish even came out in 2020, which was an honor!
THE GATEWAY: I DEVOURED this iconic investigative podcast about New Age “cult leader” (allegedly allegedly) Teal Swan back when it dropped in 2018. Now, I count its wonderful host Jennings Brown as a dear friend—sorely needed in the (ironically) cultish niche that is cult podcasting! His Revelations podcast is a jaw-dropping listen, as well.
INDOCTRINATION: This one is hosted by Rachel Bernstein, a therapist with a specialization in cult recovery, who is objective, wise, and not trying to start an anti-cult cult herself (rare lol). She was one of the first people I ever spoke with about Cultish, and I remember feeling extremely respected and encouraged by her. You can find that conversation here!