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Scratch Paper Podcast, Episode 24: IG for Writers

I really like Instagram.

I joined about a year ago, but only began to use the platform seriously two months back. I tried doing “challenges” and made myself post every day for a month. And…it was fun! I made new internet friends (something I could never quite do on Twitter) and came up with content that I felt good about posting.

Listen in to the latest episode of Scratch Paper Podcast to hear what I did and what you can do to get started as a writer on Instagram. (In a nutshell: put your writerly self forward!)

Newsletter readers, click on the button below to go to my blog–the player is at the bottom of the post. Blog readers, don’t get this in your inbox? Sign up here! (And as a thank you, I’ll send you a 50% off coupon for one or both of my printable writing guides.)


And here are the show notes…

Writing update: Still working on my new novel, Wait. Unfortunately, my first novel, Finding Lucy, is no longer on submission.

Reading update: Really into memoirs right now: Hunger by Roxane Gay and Queen of Dreams by Heather Valencia and Rolly Kent. I’m also doing Seattle Public Libraries Summer Book Bingo–it’s really fun!


Everything I mention you can find in my Instagram feed (if you’re on IG, I’m @likesoatmeal–come find me and I’ll follow you! I love getting to know listeners.)

Here are two people I like following on IG: @thelizdiaries and @rustytruckphotography. They are both super friendly!

The challenges I participated in first were #igwritersmay and a bit of #writelifemay. But there are new challenges all the time: #readwritejune, #igreadersjuly… Look for a post that has a list of short prompts for each day, and jump in! Make sure you tag your picture with the challenge hashtag, and look around and like other photos that are also part of the challenge.

I follow a few writers who I want to be like: @normalchey, for example, is a full-time hybrid (traditional and self-published) author. I found her through one of the challenges.

What social media do you use? Do you like it? Do you use Instagram for business, or more for fun? I’d love to hear–share in the comments below, or share your thoughts on Instagram with the hashtag #scratchpaperpodcast!


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Episode 23: Four ways to use tarot to write fiction

Hello, listeners!

In this episode, I share how I use tarot to write fiction, specifically my current novel-in-progress. It is a fun way to write, and a great way to break through writers’ block. You can use tarot cards to plan a story or novel, to choose what happens next, or to get inspiration for details. Listen in to hear how you can use tarot cards in your writing–I even share some simple “spreads” (ways to pick cards) for your writing.

Newsletter readers, click the picture below to listen! Scroll to the bottom of the post to find the player. You can also subscribe on Stitcher or iTunes.

4 ways to use tarot to write fiction #scratchpaperpodcast

Quick note: If you’re on social media, follow me on Instagram–I’m @likesoatmeal (the same as on Twitter)!

Writing update: I got to spend a whole day writing! I followed the basic plan from DIY Writing Retreat (Kindle version on Amazon, PDF on Etsy). I’m working on “Wait,” about a psychic named Lia who is trying to help an evangelical family whose foster daughter has stopped talking.

Reading update: I read The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, and now I want to play the ukulele. She has a TED Talk on the same topic.

I also enjoyed Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein.

Highly recommend Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve.


  • Tarot decks have two types of cards, the Major Arcana and four suits of cards.
  • The Major Arcana are like “the hero’s journey,” an archetypal narrative that you can use to understand literature and create stories.
  • There are many different kinds of tarot decks, but I use the Tarot of the Old Path.
  • Each tarot card has a lot of symbols. Check out the cards for the Rider-Waite deck, which is a deck a lot of people use.
  • Don’t have a tarot deck? Use an online one! Here’s one. There are also apps for tarot reading! And there’s always Wikipedia–this page has a picture of every card! Handy!
  • @amysnotdeadyet uses tarot to make sketches and paintings

Have you ever used tarot to write? How do you use it? If you try this, tag me on Twitter or Instagram! Be sure to use the tag #scratchpaperpodcast so I can find you!

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Episode 22: Two mini-lessons about character (and #Girlboss)

We’re back!

Episode 22 of Scratch Paper is live!

Newsletter readers, click the button below to go to my blog to listen. You can also subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher (just search “Scratch Paper Podcast”).


Writing update: Working on a new novel tentatively called “Wait,” while my other novel, “Finding Lucy,” is still out on submission. “Wait” is about a psychic named Lia helping an evangelical Christian family whose foster daughter has stopped talking. “Finding Lucy” is about a missing woman, and it’s told from the perspective of her, her mother, and her sister.

Reading update: Me before You by Jojo Moyes. Highly recommend; read it in <24 hours.


I’ve been watching #Girlboss and I LOVE IT. It is “loosely based” on the life of Sophia Amuroso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of the book #Girlboss. Kay Cannon wrote the show (and also Pitch Perfect).

Here’s a question: Do we (the readers, the audience) have to understand why a character is unlikable? Or, do all characters have to be understandable?

Are there any characters out there (Dr. House?) who are unlikable, but for no reason?

I REALLY WANT TO KNOW! Please comment below or tell me on Twitter or Instagram.

Also, if you try out any of these exercises, tag them on Twitter/Instagram with #scratchpaperpodcast! I would *love* to see how they work for you!

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An update and a request

Hi, friends and fans,

Thank you for keeping up with me–I’ve taken a break for the past few weeks to spend some time with family and to finish my novel (not done yet, but getting close…closer!).

I’m writing today to ask you to help me win a contest. It’s run by Submittable, which is the platform most literary contests and journals use to let people submit their work.


The contest is a video contest about life post-MFA. Mine is about keeping up with my friends Larry, Jennie, and Craig, and there are even (cartoon) portraits included.

It would mean *so* much to me if you would click on this link, click “Login to vote” in the top right hand corner, and give me a thumbs up (vote).  You can log in with your Submittable account OR with Facebook, and it will only take ten seconds.

Here’s the link again:

Right now, I’m in third place, so I actually have a shot! It’s very exciting, and the winner gets a “tailor-made career booster.”

If you do vote for me, please comment, send me an email, or tag me on Twitter (@likesoatmeal) or Instagram (also @likesoatmeal) so I can say thank you.


And  I will be back with new Scratch Paper Podcast episodes, new life updates, and even (gasp) a new writing guide soon!