Leigh Stein

In this week’s episode, Brooke and Grant tackle one of the problematic effects of building an author platform, which is what happens when you start to feel artistically limited, or creatively hemmed in. Many authors can feel like they’re supposed to be the “poster child” for the stories they want to share. Others experience success in a single genre and discover how difficult it is to try to make the leap into another. With her early success and having forged her way through poetry, memoir, and fiction, Leigh Stein, author and co-founder of BinderCon, is the perfect guest to unpack these topics and more.


Leigh Stein is the author of the memoir Land of Enchantment, the novel The Fallback Plan, and the poetry collection Dispatch from the Future. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Allure, ELLE, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, The Cut, Salon, and Slate. She teaches memoir writing at the 92nd Street Y and Catapult. She cofounded BinderCon and served as its executive director until 2017.

Writing Action: Dream into Strategy

Today’s writing action is to share with yourself your dream of what you would write if you could write anything. It’s not only the publishing industry that pigeonholes us. We do this to ourselves too, because we don’t want to be the poster child, or because we are worried about the subject matter or the people we’re writing about. If none of that were in your way, what would you do? Just explore on the page your biggest dream of a writing project, or something you know you want to write but you’re not ready to tackle yet—for any reason. Maybe you feel you need to write another book first. Maybe you need someone to be dead before you can write the truth of something you want to tell. Maybe you feel you need more expertise or life experience first, so that you have the credibility for the book that’s in your head. Regardless, put it out there—like a promise to yourself to something you are ready to make real or manifest in the future. Put it someplace safe. Who knows, it might become part of your writing story—the author who dreamed what she would write and made it come true a decade later.

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