Inspiration from the Compost Heap: Interview with Frances Boyle


 As a writer, it can sometimes feel like others don’t understand our craft unless they’re also writers. This can make us feel isolated, sensitive to rejection, and even leave us feeling like our work isn’t good enough. 

If we feel our writing isn’t good enough, we may not take opportunities right in front of us, or take the time to look for some. 

But finding another writer, and a community of writers, to have in your life may not be as difficult as you think. Of course, according to Frances Boyle, author of Openwork and Limestone, it means we have to take those opportunities for connections when we see them.

In today’s episode, Frances tells us about the value of:

  • Writing groups and community
  • Submitting pieces to literary magazines
  • Seeking out rejection (!)
  • Finding inspiration in the compost heap

Here’s a sneak peek… 

[5:25] I began to have deadlines and community and accountability with the writing group, and that was really the start of getting serious for me. 

[10:31] … and if it resonates more than another, you know, equivalent piece of work, then that's the luck of the draw, really.

[12:08] Really, it's—you know, it's dozens of people putting in hours and hours and crossing their fingers… 

[13:09] Well, the Hundred Rejections Challenge was something I had read about, probably back in 2017 or so… 

[16:30] … “look at the magazines that you read and enjoy. Look at magazines that have some, some aesthetic similarities to work that you do or that you aspire to.” 

[25:50] I’d go out to readings by myself and feeling totally socially awkward and standing in the corner, but still persisting and meeting people…

[27:32] And it just, that makes it—it's just an easier way to be a writer. I think.

[32:39] And that's kind of “my compost heap”, I call it from, from which I draw the poems.

Links from this episode: 

Writer’s Flow Studio



Intro: Well, hey there, writer. Welcome to the Resilient Writers Radio Show. I'm your host, Rhonda Douglas, and this is the podcast for writers who want to create and sustain a writing life they love. Because—let's face it—the writing life has its ups and downs, and we wanna not just write, but also to be able to enjoy the process so that we'll spend more time with our butt- in- chair getting those words on the page.

This podcast is for writers who love books, and everything that goes into the making of them. For writers who wanna learn and grow in their craft, and improve their writing skills. Writers who want to finish their books, and get them out into the world so their ideal readers can enjoy them, writers who wanna spend more time in that flow state, writers who want to connect with other writers to celebrate and be in community in this crazy roller coaster ride we call “the writing life.” We are resilient writers. We're writing for the rest of our lives, and we're having a good time doing it. So welcome, writer, I'm so glad you're here. Let's jump right into today's show. 

Rhonda Douglas: Well, hello there! We are here today with Frances Boyle. Frances is a writer of fiction and poetry living in Ottawa, Ontario, on the traditional unseated territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe People. Her short stories and poems have been published in literary magazines throughout Canada and in the United States, and in anthologies with themes as varied as the films of Alfred Hitchcock, mothers and daughters, form poetry, and sexual assault.

Her most recent book is Seeking Shade, a collection of short stories, which the Porcupine Quill published in August, 2020.  Actually that's not quite her most recent – her previous book was the Seeking Shade collection of Short Stories. Her first poetry collection, Light-carved Passages, was published by BuschekBooks in 2014, and her second, This White Nest, by Quattro Books in 2019. And she's also written a novella called Tower, published by Fish Gotta Swim Editions in 2018. Her latest book is a book of poetry called Openwork and Limestone, and it's just been published. So, Frances, welcome. Thanks for doing this. 

Frances Boyle: Oh, thank you for having me, Rhonda. It's a pleasure. 

Rhonda Douglas: So, Frances, tell us a little bit about your writing journey. Like, when did you start writing, and when did you start taking it seriously? Like, you know, really investing in learning more about your craft and, and that kind of thing. 

Frances Boyle: Well, I-I think I've pretty much always been a writer,  , although I didn't allow myself to think of it.  , you know, there's sort of a, a family story that,  —back in kindergarten,  , we were drawing pictures and the teacher wanted us to write our story—you know, write out our stories on the back. So I dictated a story to the teacher about my crayon drawing that required her to paste an extra piece of paper on-onto it <laugh> cause it was so long. And I—through elementary school, I would take the opportunity to stay in during recess whenever I could and write my stories that I based on the magic books that I was reading at the time, the Edward Eager books. So I had, reams of starts of, starts of novels, or starts of books, back then. And, of course, I had an adolescent angst poetry phase, where, you know, one notable poem began, “I am the dead.”

Rhonda Douglas: Right <laugh>. Right. Yeah. <Laugh>

Frances Boyle: So I—and then, I switched to fiction or, er, sort of continued with fiction study seriously in, in, in my twenties in university. And, the last act I did before leaving my hometown of Regina, to go to university in the east, was to do a fiction workshop with Jack Hodgins, who is a wonderful novelist. And, I thought that would carry me through law school and practice. And it did to a certain extent. It kept the interest going, although the time, with a really intense law practice and then with young kids didn't really allow me to do an awful lot. But it was always sort of there as a, “when I can get to it, I-I wanna, I wanna write more.” So it was when I moved to Ottawa in,  , 1995,  , and my oldest friend gave me Julia Cameron's,  ,  , the,  , The Writer's Way,  , to—sorry, The Artist's Way

Rhonda Douglas: The Artist’s Way, yeah.  

Frances Boyle: —and,  , The Artist's Way. Yeah. And, and, so I began to, with a bit more time on my hands—I wasn't working, I was at home with the kids for the first year, which was a blessing. And,  , worked through The Artist's Way doing morning pages and got up the nerve to ask—when I met a novelist, Rita Donovan, if she knew of any writing groups that were looking for a member, and as it happened, she did. So that was kind of the, the, the initial connection with the writing community in Ottawa.  , so yeah, that's—we, you know, I began to have deadlines, and community, and accountability with the writing group, and that was really the start of getting serious for me. 

Rhonda Douglas: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So you, you worked as a lawyer and then—and you published your first book relatively later in your career in 2014, and you were also raising daughters, and your husband had a busy job. And so, how did you fit the writing into your life at that time? 

Frances Boyle: , at that time , it was deadline driven, I guess. Again, I had joined a writing group, and I was working as a lawyer, but as federal for a Crown corporation, a government lawyer, which did—you know, it was busy, but it did allow me more, more time than the, the pressure cooker of the, of the private law firm where, where I had been in Vancouver for 12 years.  , so it was a question of really making, making writing a priority. The writing group was a different writing group than that initial one, the Ruby Tuesdays, which has now been going for 16 years. And, also—various workshops I had done along the way with Miller Adams and Barbara Myers. So, so having… having to, to be producing work, gave me the impetus to find time for it. 

Frances Boyle: And so I'd carve out,  , the, the, the mornings where, where I wrote with the Ruby Tuesdays, we always had a themed or prompted writing session at the beginning of every, every meeting. And there was never any expectation that we would bring work to, to, to critique.  , you know, it was whoever had work. But, it was a feeling that you wanted to keep, keep moving and keep getting feedback. So, so that the community, the sense of community and, and the writing group was really the main impetus, and then also being lucky enough to do workshops along, along the way. 

Rhonda Douglas: Yeah. You've sought out different workshops and retreats. What's, what's your— what's been, like, some of your favorites? 

Frances Boyle: Well, I loved the various—I-I love going to Sage Hill. I've been there, I think, three or four times now. And I think the highlight of my experiences there was working with Don McKay. To the Poetry Colloqui . So the s mer program, there is, I think, five or six different, different sessions with different instructors.  , and different, different genres. But Poetry Colloqui  was just six of us.  , and Don rattling around in a kind of a, an odd resort place.  , and, just really getting to spend time together and, and working with him. That was, that was one real highlight.  , another one was working, working, through the Banff Wired Program, which is really the best of the com—you know, best combination. They haven't done it for a few years, and I hope they bring it back, but it's the best combination of, residential and online, because you're there, you're meeting with your, your group and your mentor for two weeks. And then the work—the mentoring continues for six months online. So I loved that program. I thought it was terrific. So that was a highlight. And then also getting to go to Chile to work with Stan Dragland and Beth Follet.  

Rhonda Douglas: I forgot you'd done that. That's so great. Yeah. 

Frances Boyle: Yeah. So, yeah, I've had some amazing experiences. 

Rhonda Douglas: Right. Wonderful. Wow.  And, you know, those programs are so great to keep you generating work, as you say, it's like, it's deadlines and feedback, feedback, the, the magic combination. 

Frances Boyle: Yes. 

Rhonda Douglas: Frances, we met at Arc—well, we met before that, but we worked closely together at Arc Poetry Magazine, where we were both on the board there. What would you say you've learned about publishing and literary magazines from your own experience on the other side of, of submittable in the submissions process? 

Frances Boyle: I mean, it was so, so illuminating to work at Arc. I mean, you, you, you have, you know, sort of an imagine-imagined idea of what, what it's like to be on the other side in a literary magazine. And I—over the time I was there, same with you—we had, we had moved from receiving paper packages, which had its own advantages and, and challenges to submittable, which is much easier to, to work with at many levels. But, it also means that the volume of poems that came in was just phenomenal.  I—you know, I-I don't know if it's quadrupled or, or,  , went up by 10 times, but there were thousands of poems coming in every month.  , so it made me really realize that, in large part, it's, it's, it's a numbers game. That there are many, many poems, by any criteria that cannot—you know, a print magazine or an online magazine can't possibly accept even a fraction of them. So, so that really, at some level, takes the, the, the personal element out of, of submitting, you, you know, that you're putting your next work out there. And if it, if it resonates, and if it resonates more than another, you know, equivalent piece of work, then, that's, that's the luck of the draw, really. But, in terms of—

Rhonda Douglas: Yeah, sometimes it's about, you know, there are themed issues, and so, you don't have a poem on that theme or, you know—and, and also you're sending out short stories and poetry and, you know, a, a magazine publishing short stories can publish because they're 10 to 12 pages, fewer short stories than Arc could publish individual poems, which are often one page. Yeah. Fascinating. 

Frances Boyle: Yeah. So, so, but I mean, it also—working on Arc gave me just,  —now as I was coordinating the reviews for a few years and just was an opportunity to reach out and get to meet writers across Canada and I was coordinating with them with reviews and just the communication that went on with that. So, and, and also meeting and getting to really know the wonderful people who were on the editorial board at Arc, who I'd—some of whom, like, we'd, we'd known each other socially or, or slightly through, through readings and whatnot, but, but just  to get to realize the strong commitments and, and strong talents of a whole group of people. 

Rhonda Douglas: It's amazing to me, like the amount of work and, you know, volunteer work that goes into producing and sustaining a literary magazine is incredible. Really, it's—you know, it's dozens of people putting in hours and hours and  , and crossing their fingers that all the funding works, and… you know, <laugh>, it's quite something really when you think about it. Yeah. 

Frances Boyle: Yeah. So there's, you know, there's a whole business side to the magazine that you don't, that you don't necessarily see, you know, sort of as you say, you know, the, the funding, seeking the funding and seeking, seeking donors, putting, putting together, a, a wishlist of,  , of projects that you could do if there was the money there. And,  yeah, just kind of way beyond the physical magazine, the physical or online magazine, there, there's, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes. 

Rhonda Douglas: Yeah, absolutely. So you came into the Writer's Flow Studio. You've been a member of the Writer's Flow Studio for—since the beginning—but you came into the Writer's Flow Studio as a visiting writer and did a workshop about, about rejection, about handling rejection, and in particular, the 100 Rejection Challenge that you've done. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience now and, and, and, you know, what resulted from that for you? 

Frances Boyle: Sure. Well, the Hundred Rejections Challenge was something I had read about, probably back in 2017 or so, and the idea is that, you know, sort of, you—I guess in a way, desensitize yourself to rejection by, by setting a target. And then there are a bunch of other, other benefits that come, come along with that. You know, you just get to get past the personal and into the idea that it's—that it can be a numbers game. You get your name out there and you, you meet people and whatnot. So, you know, I thought this was an intriguing idea, so I decided to do it for 2018. And then I've kind of kept it up as a bit of a tick almost for the, for the, the last several years. I don't even consciously say I'm aiming for a hundred now, because I'm well over a hundred, each, each year. 

Frances Boyle: And it's, you know, it's opened me to a bunch of magazines that I wouldn't have otherwise necessarily known, because I'm seeking out places to submit. And, my stats are pretty good. I think they're actually quite good indeed. In 20-2018, I got 124 rejections and 24 acceptances, so that's a little less than 20%. 2019, 23 acceptances and 165 rejections, so 14%. 2020, maybe because of the pandemic or, or whatever other reasons, it was my best year yet, it was 20%, so 36 acceptances and 162 rejections. And then last year, back to around 14%, 26 on 185. And this year, without really thinking about how many submissions I was sending out, I ended up with, as of this morning, 235 rejections <laugh>. And 25 acceptances. So… 

Rhonda Douglas: That's amazing. 

Frances Boyle: It—so I mean, they're—some of them are higher tier, some of them are startup magazines, some of them are print, and some are online. But, you know—Canadian, American, and in, in the UK and, and Ireland, so. And, Europe as well. A couple in Europe. 

Rhonda Douglas: Wow. What kind of time did that take, to—you know, if, if you're trying to get a hundred rejections… based on the stats you just shared, in theory over the year, you're probably sending out a thousand submissions. 

Frances Boyle: Well, probably—I mean, probably the number of rejections I get is equivalent to the number of submissions, because there's some that drag from the previous year. Yeah. So I, so I think you’re probably—

Rhonda Douglas: It would be more about acceptances too, yeah. The ratio would be acceptances to submissions. Okay. 

Frances Boyle: Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. So,  yeah, so it, I mean, it takes time. And I have, you know, sometimes chastised myself that this is a bit of a, bit of a pr-procrastination tool, and—which, which it is, because sometimes if I just don't feel like facing that story, I'll say, “I'll just  think about making a submission instead.” But, but I've tried to sort of turn—you know, and, and then there's, you know, sort of some counter articles as to why you should not aim for a hundred rejections, that quantity is not the criteria. And I certainly agree with that, when they say, you know, “look at the magazines that you read and enjoy. Look at magazines that have some, some aesthetic similarities to work that you do or that you aspire to.” And I think that's certainly absolutely what you should be doing. But, I've sort of, sort of recast as a—you know, the, the idea of making all these submissions as yet another way to broaden my, my reading. 

Frances Boyle: Because most online magazines, you can read a couple of issues, well, you can probably read their whole archive. But, if there's a magazine I wanna submit to—and again, this is procrastination—I'll, I'll take the time to read two or three recent issues and, and think about which of my poems would fit. And, even for print magazines, most often now, there'll be some sample work on-line that you can do. So, it's like, “okay, this, this, this magazine published X-poet who I've seen somewhere else, or who's published in the same place as me. And so I'll, I'll, I'll give it a try.”  Similarly, social media, you know—Twitter, until Twitter dies <laugh>—if there's, if there's editors who are engaged in the community who seem, seem nice, who seem like they're, they're really committed to make—to the work, then I'll, I'll take a look at their magazine. 

Frances Boyle: So, so, I mean, it's really about broadening, broadening scope and, and reading more, reading, reading different things and, and, you know, then of course there's the, the aim—what you're submitting to, to a suitable market. You don't wanna be sending experimental verse to someplace that does, does lyric and vice versa. But I mean, you can even—and, and the old advice that, you know, you read a few magazines to see what they're interested in. That used to really perplex me at first because it's like, I read the magazine and there's stories and poems all over the map, it seems. But the more I read, the more it's like, “okay, well this is, this is—most of what they've published is a focus on the personal or the confessional.” And so I'm not gonna be sending my nature poems there and just kinda… and getting, getting more and more interested in what their project might be or how they see their project.

Rhonda Douglas: And do you, do you submit also to the contests and the prizes that are run by different literary magazines? 

Frances Boyle: I used to submit to contests a lot more. In fact, my first couple of acceptances came through contests rather than through submissions. I was having no luck with regular submissions at all, but was getting honorable mentions in the occasional— 

Rhonda Douglas: And then you won prizes. <Laugh>

Frances Boyle: And then I started to win some prizes, yeah. And so I always try—you know, with rare exceptions, like occasionally I've entered the CBC Prize where you get no—nothing back from it except for, for having, having entered. But usually I've, I've tried to view contests as buying a subscription to the magazine, with a lottery ticket attached. And if I'm lucky enough to, <laugh> to enter, lucky enough to, to win something, that's great. But I've got the subscription to the magazine.  , so there's a few magazines that I love, and I'll still find a way to, to, submit to them. But, recently I found that I don't have any—most, you know, because I'm doing so much submitting, I don't have any unsubmitted poems that, and, and that's usually the criteria for the contest, that it can't be submitted elsewhere. 

Frances Boyle: So, I've missed a few contests that I  used to subscribe to. And also I've—you know, there's been times when I've had stacks of subscriptions for the magazines, and they're piling up around me, and I haven't been able to get to them, which made me feel,  , guilty about <laugh>, about,  , not, not being on top of it. So, so yeah, I'm, I'm submitting to fewer contests than I used to. And I always only target magazines that I knew, which meant mostly Canadian magazines, because just—the US and, and international market, there's just so, so many— 

Rhonda Douglas: It’s huge, yeah. 

Frances Boyle: —digital entries, yeah. But, I didn't—never seemed worthwhile, particularly if the entry fees in American dollars. 

Rhonda Douglas: Yeah, no, that's true, eh?  But it's always nice to get that little, that little boost. I mean, have you,  , you know, you've been nominated for prizes, you've won prizes, you had a poem in Best Canadian poetry, what has that kind of thing meant for you? 

Frances Boyle: Well, I mean, recognizing that, you know, it's—there is a lot of subjectivity. It is still really, really validating. And, yeah, so to see my poems selected for, you know, a prize, like the Diana Brebner Prize was my first, first big one. And, and, that, that's, for Ottawa poets who don't have a book, which I didn't at that point. And it's administered by Arc Magazine in, in commemoration of a, of a well, well loved, very well respected poet in town. So, it was sort of being connected to that legacy was really important.  Similarly, when my short stories was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Award, that's, that's an award that, you know, sort of in, in honor of a writer who is—was, was local, died, died too young.  And so, to have that connection was great. And then also looking at the list of past winners and, and finalists. It adds to the sense of connection and community somehow. You know, the money that goes along with some of the prizes is nice as well, of course. 

Rhonda Douglas: That's a nice little boost, isn't it? Yeah, absolutely. So, you had—you were publishing poetry, short stories, you did a novella. So, and now I know you've just finished a novel. So what was it like to move from the shorter forms to the longer—you know, book length, novel length project? 

Frances Boyle: It was, it was huge. I had long said that I didn't think I had the stamina or the attention plan—attention span or the, or the wherewithal to, to do a long form work and, and Tower, my, my novella had even, you know—I, I hadn't set out to write a novella. It was linked short stories that I eventually massaged and, submitted as a novella. So, yeah, just the length of the novel was daunting. Doing the First Book Finish program to do it gave me a timeframe and a deadline and all the wonderful encouragement and accountability that goes along with your program. So, I don't think I would've, would've gotten my first draft finished if it, if it weren't for First Book Finish. 

Rhonda Douglas: Oh, wow. That’s lovely to hear.  

Frances Boyle: Well, yeah, just, it's—you know, I'm a good procrastinator and I probably would've <laugh> sent out—

Rhonda Douglas: You would've sent out 300 submissions <laugh>,  , yeah. Community really is everything, isn't it? It's like, it's connection keeps you going, it's inspiration, it gets you writing, but also, it—and that accountability—you know, andyou mentioned earlier some of your early community. Can yousay a little bit more about what community has… I guess, contributed to, to you as a writer, and how you went about creating that for yourself? 

Frances Boyle: Oh, gosh. I mean, community is totally essential.  , and I think, you know, in a, in a large way, it's been a question of luck. Like, just the happenstance of asking Rita at the right moment, for, for a writer’s group, and then, you know, deciding to take X course or, but, and, and being on, on Arc. So, seeking it out, I guess is, is more a question of finding—gosh, I'm a little stumped by the, by the question. I-I, you know, I mean, I—

Rhonda Douglas: Do you feel like you created it, or do you feel like it sort of happened? 

Frances Boyle: I feel like it happened. I feel like lucked into a wonderful group of writers, and, in Ottawa, all across the genres and different styles of writing—people seem extremely welcoming. 

Rhonda Douglas: It’s a very supportive community here. I'm—

Frances Boyle: Very, very supportive community. And I remember going out to—I’d go out to, to readings by myself and feeling totally socially awkward and standing in the corner, but still persisting and meeting people and—

Rhonda Douglas: Oh, good for you. 

Frances Boyle: —and now it's, it's something I—you know, I mean, after, after two years of not really seeing anybody and in, in person to, to be able to go to a few readings in the last few months has been just, you know, just stellar and having, having a wonderful, you know, I mean, I-I think community is about, finding people who you wanna support and you wanna champion as, as much as, you know, working together with. I'm a “serial hearter” on, on Facebook. If there's somebody who, who I know who did something that I like, I'm, I'm gonna support it, probably share it, and just drop a like particularly if it’s somebody who I, who I know well.  I try to be supportive because I love to celebrate other people's successes. And, and I think that that, that really makes for, just sort of knitting community, tighter and introducing people to each other and, and, being part of a larger whole. 

Rhonda Douglas: I-I think it's an easier way to be a writer, it—to have that sense of community and supporting other writers. And, you know, cuz we're also, we, we come to it through a passion about, you know, reading and the word and, and so, you know, it's just—it's basically a bunch of friends just geeking out <laugh>, you know, on words and reading and books and, and it's so fun. And it just, that makes it, it's just an easier way to be a writer, I think. It takes a lot of the angst out of writing, I find. Yeah.

Frances Boyle: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, you're sharing opportunities. Like a couple of the women in Ruby Tuesdays credit me with their books, you know, and it's like, “no, I don't—didn't do anything. You're, you did the book. I said, ‘you should send it to X publisher.’”  , after they were kinda on the verge of giving up. And I was like, you know, this is just a shove in the right direction. 

Rhonda Douglas: This is what we do, this is what we do. 

Frances Boyle: This is what we do for each other, yeah. 

Rhonda Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. No, absolutely.  Can we talk a little bit about reading? I mean, you talk about, like, reading all of these, you know, reading magazines before you submit, reading the subscriptions that come in…  , and I know you're, you know, incredibly well-read yourself in terms of just, you know, novels, just—you and I talk books all the time.  What role does reading play and how does it feed your, your writing life? 

Frances Boyle: Yeah, I read a lot. I read both  for pleasure and sort of getting—sidestepping outta my own head and for, for inspiration and, you know, looking to see what other writers are doing and what I can aspire to.  I don't think I read like a writer as well as I could because I, because I—once I think into a story—you know, in fiction?—I think into a story, and I have a hard time untangling myself and just, you know, getting back to see “how the heck did they do that anyway?”

Rhonda Douglas: How did they do that? Yeah. <laugh>. 

Frances Boyle: Yeah. So, that's sort of one of my, my, my goals is to be a bit more analytical in my reading. But I just, you know, I—and I also, I, I think I read, I kind of wolf books down. I'll read them probably too quickly and, and, and lose a lot of the detail. So,  my aspiration is to get more of the reading-like-a-writer process going, and…

Rhonda Douglas: Mm. Yeah. And I love George Saunders, A Swim in the Pond in the Rain for that.  , you know, a book that's—he slows down, you know, a couple of Russian stories, to the point where you can just see the architecture behind it. So, Frances, what do you—you finished the novels, you're gonna seek publication for the novel, and then what's next? What are you, what are you working on now? 

Frances Boyle: Well, I've got a—you know, again, my process for poetry is I get a bunch of poems and say, “hmm, maybe there's enough for a collection here.” So I'm probably getting close to that point with the poems I've got. And I have a chapbook that's gonna be put together by a class of design students at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Vancouver. That—so I'm gonna—and it's around water, I guess, water and, you know, family and mental illness that I think I'm going to work to see if I can find enough poems and write the poems to fill in the gaps to make that a full collection. So I've got that, and—

Rhonda Douglas: So is that two collections or one collection you were talking about there? 

Frances Boyle: No, one collection. It's a chapbook that's gonna expand—

Rhonda Douglas: It totally would not have surprised me if you said, “no, no, that's two.” <Laugh> Because I just, I feel like you're always working on something. 

Frances Boyle: And, I've kind of stalled with my short fiction since the book came out. I've got, you know, completed and published, one story since the book came out, and I've got a couple of other drafts.  But, one I'm working on is—you know, there's some, some supernatural speculative stories in my collection, but it's mostly sort of real world stuff. But, I've got some ideas for speculative, spooky stories.

Rhonda Douglas: Ooh, so that's interesting. That'd be a little new for you, I think, eh,? I mean, not, not entirely, but yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Cool. And I wanted to ask you, you know—so, you are retired now from, from, you know, the day job. What's the writing routine like for you now? Like the writing craft? 

Frances Boyle: Yeah, it is a little scattered. Still a little scattered.  But the core of it, for poetry, remains the Ruby Tuesday writing group. I mean, that is the—

Rhonda Douglas: You guys meet every Tuesday, right? 

Frances Boyle: We meet every Tuesday, we always begin with the writing exercise. And that's where most of my poems come from.  I have my Lee Valley, thick notebooks, I have a stack of them here. And that's, that's kind of, kind of, “my compost heap”, I call it from, from which I draw the poems.  So that's, you know, sort of, that's the raw material. When I'm working to bring a poem to the group for workshopping, that's where I'll go. And I'll spend time work-working through that.  You know, sort of either for workshopping in the group or for sending out to submission.  For fiction, it tends to be a little more difficult to get myself settled into it. And I'm still, I'm still struggling with it. 

Frances Boyle: I have, you know, in theory I have all the time in the world, but I often feel like I'm losing days by the time I get all the little things outta the way. So, it's, you know, sort of—carving, writing time, you know, partly through the Writer's Flow Studio and, and some, some other things. Just sort of making sure that I have those chunks of time in my calendar and that I, that I've got something to work on. I'm not sitting down at—when, when, when we, when the community meets to say, “okay, what, what now,” which, which of my multi-multifarious things that I've got on the go am I gonna—today I'm gonna work on, on, this story. And, you know, tomorrow I'm gonna work on whatever next step in the novel needs to happen. And keeping the business side of it out of play, and making that separate, not letting the procrastination—but then I'll just do a submission now, creep in. 

Rhonda Douglas: I love that you say it's a bit scattered, and yet look at everything you're producing and have produced. You know, it's possible to kind of feel like your writing life isn't perfect, isn't ideally what you would like it to be. You know, cuz we'd all love the, like, quiet, you know, hut in the woods, you know? With no internet, and just <laugh> someone delivering a picnic basket outside our door for lunch. You know, we'd all love that, but we don't have it, most of the time—the vast majority of the time. And so we just make do. And sometimes it does feel scattered, and yet here you are, you know, generating so much work and publishing so much, and it's amazing. You're amazing. 

Frances Boyle: Yeah, I try and reassure myself that whatever, whatever the process is, it's not as bad as I think it is and that it's actually pretty ok. 

Rhonda Douglas: There is progress. There is momentum . Yeah. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for doing this, Frances. You can find out more about Frances at and you can follow her on the socials. You're on Instagram, I think, hey, Frances? You have a…

Frances Boyle: Yeah, Instagram and Twitter. Both the same  handle @Frances Boyle19. I don't—I haven't really engaged with Twitter as much as, as much as with, with Instagram, as much as Twitter. But, if Twitter is going, I'll, I'll wrap up Instagram. 

Rhonda Douglas: Right. <laugh>. And you're not on TikTok? 

Frances Boyle: No. 

Rhonda Douglas: Doing the videos, the dance videos, pointing at things. No? 

Frances Boyle: No <laugh>. 

Rhonda Douglas: Yeah <laugh>. Maybe we'll have to get there, but that is another day. Another day. Yeah. All right. Thank you so much, Frances. Take care. 

Frances Boyle: Oh, thank you, Rhonda. This is wonderful. Thank you. 

Outro: Thanks so much for hanging out with me today and for listening all the way to the end. I hope you enjoyed today's episode of the Resilient Writers Radio Show. While you're here, I would really appreciate it if you'd consider leaving a rating and review of the show. You can do that in whatever app you're using to listen to the show right now, and it just takes a few minutes. Your ratings and reviews tell the podcast algorithm gods that “yes, this is a great show. Definitely recommend it to other writers.” And that will help us reach new listeners who might need a boost in their writing lives today as well. So please take a moment and leave a review. I'd really appreciate it, and I promise to read every single one. Thank you so much.


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