Episode 19 will make you jealous

Ha, not really! It is all about jealousy — what makes us jealous, what it means, what we do about it — and we get really honest about friendship and communication. Check out the full show notes over on the episode page, where you can listen and find links to subscribe.

What makes you jealous? What do you do about it? Let us know here in the comments, and don’t forget to share your responses to the January writing prompt (or any of the previous ones).

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Goals, resolutions, mantras or words?

Episode 17 is live here. In this one, we talk about our hopes for the next year. We don’t really love the terms “goals” or even “resolutions,” and we talk about why. Then we talk about our preferred approach – Olivia chose mantras for the year, while Meghan chose a word.

We really enjoyed having a good discussion about how we think about the future, and how we are trying to focus more on magic, serendipity and just being with our projects.

We wish all of you a very happy New Year, and a 2018 full of joy, fulfillment and peace.

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What are you giving & getting this year?

We know gift guides are everywhere this time of year, but that’s because they’re the best! For all those listeners out there who were wondering what to send us for your year-end holiday of choice, all your questions are answered in today’s episode! For real, though, we’ve put together an extensive list of great gifts for writers, beyond just the usual pens and writing books (though we do love those). Giving a writing-related gift to a writer is an excellent way to show them you believe in their writing, that you recognize them as a “real” writer, even when they don’t (whatever “real” writer means). There are enough ideas here to help you out all year.

You can listen to the episode and see full show notes on the episode page, but we’ve put the list below too. We also shared some favorites in Episode 4 (like my typewriter t-shirt), so check that out as well.

We’d love to hear what other gifts you come up with! We’ll be sharing pics of our own favorites from this list all week on Instagram using  #marginallypodcast — we’d love for you to join in!

(By the way, all brands named here are here because we like them; we have no sponsorship or any other agenda.)

gift guide


  • Fountain pen (Meghan loves hers – it’s the Pelikan Souveran M400 here)
  • A bunch of their favorite pen (Olivia loves the Staedtler triplus fineliner)
  • Notebooks (too many to link to here, but you should check if the person you’re buying for likes to write with or without lines)
  • Notebook covers (this one from Foxy Fix is on Meghan’s wish list; the No. 9 will fit a full-size composition notebook)
  • Writing books – we will put some inspiration the blog & Instagram, from our collections, a bit later and add a link here
  • Pencils (Meghan likes the Target dollar spot ones with no erasers, and also these and these from Get Bullish. CW Pencil Enterprise seems to be the place for fancy-pants pencil-related fun, though we have no experience with them, so this isn’t an endorsement)
  • Pencil sharpeners (Olivia loves vintage ones like this one, probably because she doesn’t use pencils a lot; Meghan’s mentioned her basic X-Acto XLR electric one more than once)
  • Fingerless gloves
  • Index cards
  • Post-it notes


Tech gifts

  • Web-blocking tools to help them focus, like Freedom
  • Scrivener (a license is $45)
  • Bluetooth headphones
  • Bluetooth speakers to let you play music out loud
  • Their own domain name
  • Volunteer to help as tech support, offer to clean up their computer or help with other skills they may need (bookkeeping, organization, etc.)
  • Print their blog and print it out


Inspiration & self-care

  • Get them a yoga class or a pass to their studio
  • Send them into the world for inspiration – maybe a membership at a state or national park, a local museum, etc.
  • Get them a writing class at your local university (most, including community colleges, will have continuing education), a class at a writing institute if you have one nearby, an online class or even something like The Great Courses
  • You could even plot out your favorite walk(s) nearby, draw them a map or describe the route so they notice the things you really enjoy
  • Make them a playlist – old-school like a mix-tape, or new-school like a 42-hour classical Spotify playlist.



  • Tea accessories – Teapot, tea cozy
  • Candles (possibly a cliche, but we love them, so whatever)
  • Incense and other things that smell nice
  • Tea and coffee subscription boxes
  • Make them a homemade collage, or an illustrated quote (from their writing, or someone else they like)
  • A gift from Quotabelle – a site that focus on researching and publicizing inspiring quotes by women
  • Make them a bulletin board or give them other decorative things for their writing space


Time gifts

  • Watch their kids or pay for babysitter – and pick a specific time if you can, so they don’t have to even do any work to take you up on it
  • You could splurge for a night in a nearby resort or hotel, if you want to go all out
  • Or offer them a weekend at your house when you’re out of town
  • Or even your spare room when you are there – and promise to let them write uninterrupted
  • If cooking for themselves or their family takes a lot of time or energy, you could try food subscriptions or a nice meal
  • Or even just do a chore they complain about doing, to make their life easier (like putting away the laundry)



  • PEN International – advocacy for writers
  • Scholar Rescue Fund
  • Wish lists for adjuncts and other educational professionals
  • Donors Choose – support underfunded classrooms (in the US)
  • Youth outreach or creative writing programs in your local area (or someone else’s)
  • International educational foundations like the Malala Fund
  • Local libraries and Friends of your local Library – you could donate books or money
  • Literacy foundations
  • Little Free Library – donate or buy it for someone else
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Episode 15 is up, and don’t worry — it’s short

Episode 15 is live, and you can listen in 10 minutes or less! We have a quick chat about where we are in our work and writing lives, and share December’s writing prompt.

Do you have an update in your work or writing life you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments on this post.

Show notes are over here, and you can listen on the show notes page, or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever get your podcasts.

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Let us know here or by email!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter for extra behind-the-scenes content (fill in the box on the right side of this page), and if you enjoy the podcast, please leave us a review and/or rating in Apple Podcasts, or tell a friend (or both!).

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Episode 13 is up, and we tell you how Thanksgiving really went

We were on holiday last week, celebrating American Thanksgiving with our families, so we’re bringing you a quick mini-episode with check-ins from the week. We’ll be back to our regular schedule next week, when we kick off a month of self-care for writers. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever get your podcasts.

Have questions you’d like us to try to answer? Let us know in the comments, or send us an email.

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Episode 12 is up, and we try to help you (and us) survive Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving week to those in or from the United States, and happy penultimate day of November to everyone else. We’re so grateful for each and every one of you!

This week, we give some podcast recommendations in response to a listener question, and we do a mini-critique session for this month’s writing prompt. Then we wrap up with nine tips for surviving Thanksgiving (or any busy or disruptive period). Watch this space for the full set of tips later this week, as well as our writing prompt responses.

Click over here for the full show notes, and as always, you can get Marginally on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever get your podcasts.

our favorite advice ever.
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Episode 11 is up, and we talk with Alicia de los Reyes about DIY writing retreats, rejection and what it means to be a writer

If writing really is a practice, then finishing something should be important. You should be a writer, not a starter of books. Alicia de los Reyes.

Today, we have the pleasure of talking to writer Alicia de los Reyes about making time to write no matter what your circumstances are, and how she was able to take the rejection of her first novel and use it to grow as a writer.

writer alicia de los reyesAlicia is a writer based in Seattle, WA, where she lives with her husband, son, and cat. She has her MFA from University of New Hampshire. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Archipelago, The Billfold, and others, and her fiction has been published in Best New Writing 2015. She is represented by DGLM and at work on a novel.

You can find out more about Alicia at aliciadelosreyes.com, and as @likesoatmeal on Instagram and Twitter. Listen to her podcast Scratch Paper on iTunes or on Stitcher, or at her website.


Full show notes are here. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever get your podcasts, and rate and review us — you’ll never miss an episode, and you’ll help others find the show!

If writing really is a practice, then finishing something should be important. You should be a writer, not a starter of books. Alicia de los Reyes.

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So… how’s your NaNo?

It’s been a week of NaNoWriMo, and so far I have found it super tough to really get into my book the way I need to if I’m going to, um, finish it this month. Or, indeed, this year. But I am making time to write every day, and I think I’m doing the thinking that I need to do to write the book, even if the writing itself is hard.

So Meghan and I really liked this post, How Not To NaNoWriMo, which totally fits into our ethos on the podcast – not forcing things too much, living up to your idea of success (not others’) etc.

And, if you’re needing more inspiration, this Independent article summarizing 22 lessons from Steven King about writing novels and short stories (and, really, doing art in general) was good.

Next year, I think I’m going to do NaNo for real – get a new project, start and (hopefully) finish it – and see what happens. I actually do like to see all the words everyone is getting onto the page!

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Episode 10 is up, and we talk NaNo progress and share this month’s writing prompt

This mini-episode is an update on our NaNoWriMo rebel progress and our draft revisions. NaNo details are in our blog post, and full show notes are here. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever get your podcasts, and rate and review us — you’ll never miss an episode, and you’ll help others find the show!

Focus on the experience and not just the results.

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Episode 9 is up, and we talk making time and space for writing, and Nanowrimo

Today, we’re stoked to talk to librarian Ayanna Gaines about reconnecting with her creative side, balancing work and writing, and how she sets up her space to nurture her art. We also chat National Novel Writing Month, and Olivia helps Meghan figure out how to set her Nano goals.

Ayanna Gaines is a librarian and pop culture geek in Southern California. She’s just made the switch from academia to public libraries and is reconnecting with her creative writing side.

Her academic work includes the chapter “That’s Women’s Work: Pink-Collar Professions, Gender, and the Librarian Stereotype” in The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Perceptions and Presentations of Information Work” and papers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls.

She writes poetry and is hard at work on her first novel. You can find her and her adorable kittens on Twitter @popcullibrn or Instagram @againeslibrarian

Full show notes are here, and you can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever get your podcasts.

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