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Apr 24, 2018

How Bestselling Author & Investigative Journalist Scott Carney Writes: Part One

Award-winning New York Times bestselling author, investigative journalist, and anthropologist, Scott Carney, stopped by the show recently to talk about the dangers of putting yourself into the story, what he’s learned in his 20+ years in mainstream publishing, and how he juggles his multiple creative adventures.

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Throughout his globe-trotting career as a journalist Scott has spent extensive time in South Asia, been a contributing editor at WIRED for over five years, and written for Mother Jones, Men s Journal, Playboy, Foreign Policy, Discover, Outside, Fast Company, and many others.

Mr. Carney is the author of a trio of nonfiction books that combine investigative journalism and anthropology, including The Red Market (where he explored the black market for human body parts), A Death on Diamond Mountain (an examination of the dark side of spiritual seekers), and most recently, the New York Times bestseller What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength.

As part of his research for What Doesn’t Kill Us, Scott spent time with Dutch extreme athlete and fitness guru Wim Hof to try to understand the science behind his now famous method to control his body temperature in extreme conditions and tap into ancient super-human abilities.

In addition to his writing, Scott is a public speaker and educator who has been a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a Scripps Fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism in Boulder, Colorado.

His work has been featured on NPR and National Geographic TV.

His most recent project is a video course for writers, called The Fine Print, aimed at helping freelancers, journalists, and creative entrepreneurs to think of themselves as a startup business and help merge their creative and business sensibilities.

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In Part One of this file Scott Carney and I discuss:

  • Why he dropped out of his Anthropology PhD program to become a professional writer
  • How to protect yourself from negotiating bad contracts
  • Why you don’t have to fall into the traps so many broke journalists fall into
  • The writer’s natural state of “productive procrastination”
  • Why you need to gun for those “theme park” sized ideas
  • The power of outlines and how to write 80,000 words in eight months

Listen to The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience below ...

The Show Notes