Jonah Angeles is the host of the Overthinkers Anonymous podcast and he’s a writer who has his own blog. He does several other creative projects as well, but here we’re focusing on writing.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Jonah’s blog: https://jonahaangeles.medium.com/
Jonah’s podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/2dU930a…
Jonah’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelsurfcinema/
To learn more about the Get Psyched Mission:
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DJ Psyched 0:07
I’m DJ Psyched, and you’re listening to the Get Psyched podcast. Let’s Get Psyched together.
I’m DJ Psyched, you’re listening to the Get Psyched podcast. And today we’re getting psyched with Jonah, we’re gonna be talking a bit about writing. So just to start things off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do, and specifically, I guess what you do with writing,
Jonah Angeles 0:32
okay, my name is Jonah. I do a lot of things. Writing being one of them, one of my favorite things to do, I publish on medium. So I do poetry and nonfiction pieces. And yeah, I really enjoy writing. It’s one of my passions, it sounds really cliche to say that but you know, as a writer, it’s important to, to be passionate, I think. And to imbue your work with that passion, because that’s where the good stuff is. And I write about anything and everything. on medium I’ve been writing about, you know, experiences at university, kind of like, pseudo memoir, stuff, I shouldn’t say pseudo, like, kinda like memoir stuff, non creative nonfiction pieces, about my time at university to, you know, photography, which is another one of my hobbies. Also, I read about aliens. I’ve written two articles about aliens. And I’m not some kind of conspiracy theorist. I guess some people might label me that, but I don’t want to get lumped into a niche. So I very intentionally write about various subjects. Which I mean, could also be a disadvantage for, for me as a writer on medium because I think it is important to find a niche, or find some, just some comfort zone or some, some field or domain that your readers will expect. It gives your readers something to expect from you, I guess. But with me and, you know, knowing me and my various interests and my ADHD, it’s impossible to fixate on one thing, or to stay on one topic for a long period of time. As you probably know. Quite a, quite a divergent thinker. And I jump from one topic to another. And that definitely shows with my writing. But I guess what ties it all together is that I try to write from, from my voice. And that’s something I’ve developed for years is a unique style and a unique voice. Otherwise, what separates my writing from everybody else’s writing, right? It’s, it’s my style and my voice that I’ve developed over, over years.
DJ Psyched 3:15
Nice. And you wanted to say a little bit more about the multi disciplinary aspect, cuz I think that’s pretty big for how your writing ends up being. Because I think when you are multi disciplinary, and you do a lot of different things, it kind of shows through in your writing.
Jonah Angeles 3:31
Yeah, um on medium, which is, you know, the good thing about publications, or platforms like medium, I don’t want to call medium a publication because it’s more so a platform for publications and for published writing, and self publishing. I can add images, and header images, and, you know, body images or like images into the body of the text of an article. And oftentimes, they’re my own photos and my own graphics that I’ve designed for the article. So it makes it more my own thing, I guess. And it makes it more of a product of, of, of my multiple disciplines that I practice. So as I mentioned, I’m into photography as well. I’m into Visual Art and graphic design. And I’m also a podcaster I have my own podcast Overthinker’s Anonymous. And I shout out my articles on on my podcast. So I guess my, my published works are linked in a way and it’s nice to have multiple platforms too, like Instagram, and a medium account, and a Twitter and the Facebook where you can link to all these multiple works. I don’t know it’s it’s nice to have that um, The thing that ties them together, that aspect of it that ties them together, makes them exist in relation to each other. So that it’s it’s like I’m creating, like a network of works. Or a world maybe, if that doesn’t sound too grandiose?
DJ Psyched 5:20
No, yeah, no, I completely understand because I think we’re very similar in all those aspects like, I definitely am a writer myself, but I don’t only write like, I just couldn’t either. I don’t think I could stop myself in doing just one thing, like I considered briefly to cut myself from the podcasting world so that I could focus on my writing. And I just couldn’t do it. Like, I just couldn’t give it up. I enjoy doing it too much. And I think that, with that, I end up like, if I pick something up, because I’m very prone to picking up a new kind of art, or whatever, instead of replacing the old stuff, I’ve learned to just kind of make like everything connected in its own ways. And I think in that way, we’re kind of similar, because my podcast and my website and everything, it’s all under a similar name. And it’s kind of become like a theme, in a sense, although everything is very different. I try to tie it together. So would you say that everything that you do your podcast, the writing, anything else you create, is it all? Like you said, it’s like a world so it’s all it’s all connected, right? Is what you’re saying? Like, it’s not like, these are separate things that you’re trying to do? You’re trying to make it one big thing that do you see as a reflection of yourself, do you see as a mission or something, because I kind of see mine as a very small reflection of myself, because obviously, it’s not 100%. me, but I like to think that it’s also a mission. So like, with your world, what are you trying to create, exactly, do you know?
Jonah Angeles 6:44
I don’t know exactly. Because I feel like they’re all reflections of me. But they’re not. As you said, there, there may be partial reflection reflections, they’re not like the whole me. I don’t want to define myself by what I do. By my work. I’ve said that many times in the past, that I’m not trying to establish my identity through my through my work. I guess I’m just trying to, like we said on on my podcast on episode 10 of Overthinker’s Anonymous, we kind of ended off on the note that the meaning of life is to create something that lasts. So I think that’s kind of what I’m trying to do. I, I guess the real answer is, though, that I don’t think about it too much. I just do things and I, I don’t think about the big picture as much as I think about, you know, what I, every single thing that I do, I put 100% of myself into it. But I don’t think about my entire legacy, or my entire body of work as being one thing or one world. But I guess it’s my, my content, like, my footprint, or my my I how would you? my garden, maybe my online, online garden of work. Because it sounds better than body of work. It sounds more glamorous, I think having a garden of work. And with a garden, you can have multiple different types of flowers blossoming. And the conditions have to be right, right? The temperature has to be right. You tend to it. And I don’t know, I think it’s important to revisit it and not just, you know, frivolously throw things out into the void and see what sticks. You know what I mean? I think it’s important to preserve what you what you’ve made, and enjoy what you made and share what you’ve made. Yeah, because I feel like we live in we live in a world where it’s all about content creation, content creation, content creation. And it seems the trend seems to be that you, you make stuff and you just throw it out there and you just kind of forget about it. And you’re on to the next thing. That’s something I don’t necessarily buy when is just like, I believe that these things should last. And if you’re not making things that last, you’re making things that are just, you know, going to get your attention for maybe five minutes. And then it’s on to the next thing and you forget about that Tik Tok or, you forget about that tweet. You know, I don’t know I maybe I’m maybe I’m putting too much value into every single piece that I make. But I believe that, you know, we’re creating things that are going to be there are going to outlast us. So that’s what I have in mind is, you know, the future like posterity. How am I going to be perceived by future generations, by my children, and my children’s children, if I have children, or like, by, by by The future. How is the future gonna perceive me? How are, how are the aliens gonna, gonna perceive me? You know, like, what are they going to infer about the life I lived and the kind of person that I was, you know, where my mind wandered? You know, the things I thought about? what I studied? You know, what I dealt with in life? Whatever I’ve been through?
DJ Psyched 10:30
Yeah, that definitely makes sense. And I guess what I’m wondering is then, as a writer, like, do you have any certain goals for yourself? Like, maybe not like in the sense of like, Oh, well, I don’t know, in the sense that you like you said, You like to make things that last and are meaningful, do you have any very specific goals? Because I know that you’ve talked about different writing projects that you worked on? I think you talked about it when we did the podcast together. So is there anything like you would really love to do like, I mean, personally, I read somewhere in a book once, a book I really love, that they said, like writing a book is one of the best things that you could do for yourself and preserving your legacy. Is that something that you also think as a writer, like long bodies of works?
Jonah Angeles 11:13
Oh, yeah. 100%. I’m writing a book, fiction science fiction novel. And it’s kind of on one level, it’s, it’s a dystopian, utopian/dystopian, or, as Margaret Atwood would call it Ustpopian novel. But on another level, it’s it’s kind of a allegorical autobiography, especially Book Three, part three. I don’t want to spoil too much, but like, Part Three mirrors a lot of my life. And it gets very real, I guess it gets very personal. Even though the character isn’t necessarily me, it’s, it’s kind of like an avatar for me. And I do have an avatar in the novel, like, one of my main characters, William, William Blue, is essentially, who I would be in that world had I existed in that world that I’m writing in, that I’m writing about in the year 2033. Yeah, he’s, he’s essentially just… Oh can you hear me?
DJ Psyched 12:21
Jonah Angeles 12:23
He’s essentially just a mirror of me, I guess, but not not. Again, like we said earlier, a partial mirror, not, not a whole reflection of who I am. And he’s definitely not one to one, a one to one translation of, of my personality. He’s definitely his own being his own character. And he’s got his own personality. But I feel like if you were to study this novel, that I’m writing, if you were to analyze it, you’d probably be able to pick out a lot of my life, and, you know, my experiences within the novel. So I think that’s just been my goal for a long time is writing is writing this novel? I’ve been writing it since I was 19. So it’s about eight years in the making. And yeah, it’s it’s kind of like, a mirror of my life, but not really. So an allegorical autobiography, as I said, and yeah, it’s a lot about a lot of it is about finding yourself too and figuring it out figuring out this whole life thing in in a larger than life world with larger than life characters. But um, yeah, that’s basically the gist of it.
DJ Psyched 13:51
Yeah, well, that’s awesome. I think I’ve done very similarly with my writings actually had this weird thing for a while, where every short story I wrote the main character’s name started with an L, just because mine does like almost all of my main characters from anything that I wrote, like in college, their name started with an L. And I felt like I always put a part of myself into the characters, I feel like that kind of made them more real to me, and made me resonate with the story more. So I guess what I want to ask you is what would you say you write for? Because personally, when I write, I think my writing becomes one, reflection for myself. Like, I feel like there’s so many times that I’ve started writing and just had grand epiphany is why I stand by writing and I love to write, like, whether I post the writing or not, sometimes I’ll just journal to write for myself. So I think like writing for me is like a sense of reflection, but it’s also a form of expression and trying to explain myself to others. So what inspired you to start writing and what do you see writing as for you like, what, what is writing to you?
Jonah Angeles 14:56
Oh, yeah, I was really well put. I’m going to steal some of your words and say reflection and expression. Because like, yeah, reflection, like through journaling, and through like my own just free writing or like sometimes I do poetry, free writing poetry. It’s a way to externalize your thoughts, right? It’s a way to look into your, your minds activity, or like, look into the information that’s passing through your mind. And processing it in a way where you can reflect on it and even analyze it in a way that’s different from just thinking about your thoughts. There’s something about writing something down and then actually viewing it from an outsider’s perspective or like, even from the audience, an audience perspective. Because really, when you’re journaling, you’re your own audience, and you’re writing for yourself. And, yeah, it’s just a way for me to reflect and I guess, better understand myself better better understand the workings of my own mind. It’s also on another side it’s expression. So it’s a way for me to, I guess, express myself as simple as that. No reason to overcomplicate it further than self expression. And creating something beautiful, creating something meaningful, insightful, entertaining. I love to entertain and, I guess, provoke thoughts and provoke feelings or evoke feelings and people evoke feelings of beauty. For me, writing is also about the the artistic, the artistic arrangement of words. I really love, you know, literary authors like Oscar Wilde. Nabokov, like and then poets like William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, and like, those are just a handful of many, many authors that inspire me to create beautiful language. And there’s so many ways language can be beautiful. You can write about you know, love, you can write about nature, you can write about sci fi, or even dark, Gothic, grotesque things, and still make it poetic and beautiful. For me, personally, I like to find the middle ground between poetry and prose. And one of the articles that I posted on medium called Welcome to your life now in Ultra HD, which I had a feeling that you were gonna bring this up anyway. But like that article experiments with like poetic prose with like, short, punchy paragraphs that are, um, you know, like, brevity is the soul of wit, like Oscar Wilde says, so like their brief punchy thoughts that express a lot with very little. And the whole article is a 14 minute read, but it’s just full of those punchy thoughts. You know what I mean? And I feel like it makes it more easy to consume too, especially in today’s world where the short form is more favored, I guess, you know?
DJ Psyched 18:52
Jonah Angeles 18:54
And that’s why I like to write more like just punchy, punchy sentences, rather than long form paragraphs. But I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into that kind of writing either. I do write long paragraphs too. It’s just depends on the article and wherever the article needs. And whatever the individual each individual paragraph needs, right? Like to bring it back to the topic though. Writing is just about reflection and artistic expression to me, personal reflection, introspection. And yeah, and then expression, reflection and expression. That’s my answer.
DJ Psyched 19:41
Yeah, and, I mean, I think that’s like what a lot of like art is, is like expression and reflection. So is writing one of like you said, it’s like one of your big things, what made writing so specifically, a thing to focus on. I know you do a lot of things, but you do, you were very passionate. You were very passionate about talking about writing. So I’m wondering, what is it specifically about writing that entices you. And what maybe inspired you to choose writing is something to really focus on?
Jonah Angeles 20:13
Um, that’s a good question. I’ve always been a big reader, I’ve always loved reading. It’s one of my first loves my mom used to read to me, and instilled this love of prose and literature, even poetry. But it was more so like books, like storybooks. And works like Harry Potter. Or, you know, Lemony Snickett’s a series of unfortunate events.
DJ Psyched 20:42
Jonah Angeles 20:43
Or, you know, she used to, well, specifically, Harry Potter and children’s books like that, like, my mom used to read that to me when I was young. And I just always appreciated the written word. Um, and I’ve always just wanted to myself write magic into it, like, write like magical words, you know, there’s, there’s magicto language, there’s like, when you come across a passage that really hits you, there’s magic there, you know, that, like a passage, that gives you chills, or this feeling that you just read something that was true, or something that was really resonated, something that really resonated with you, Or even something that rocks your world, you know, that I get those feelings when I read, like, just really good writing. And I want to I want to be, I want to be responsible for that feeling for invoking that feeling in people. Yeah, I don’t know how else to describe it. And I don’t know what else to say about that. Because it’s, it’s very intuitive to me. It’s just, it’s just in my nature to write. And I guess, yeah. I’ve always been immersed in literature and stories. And, you know, as much as I love movies, like stories are rooted in oral tradition, right and like, language, stories are rooted in in verbal communication, or just linguistic communication. And yeah, I love telling stories. And making people feel things. Yeah.
DJ Psyched 23:03
Definitely. And I think that that is something I think a lot of a lot of writers can say is that it kind of just comes naturally after a while, especially when you have a love for reading originally. So one thing so that part I think, comes naturally to a lot of people too. And one thing I find interesting because when I, when we first like, I don’t know, online met, I guess you say when when we met through Reddit and like, ended up like doing these podcasts together. I thought your concept was really interesting and pretty, like relatable. The Overthinker’s Anonymous thing, just kind of letting yourself talk about whatever you want kind of making a free flow space. And I see that in your writing you also don’t hold yourself back, which was something I really resonated with because like, I agree that having like a niche is really important for a lot of creators, but I personally have a hard time with that too. That’s why I create so many different kinds of content. So how how did you go about like, was it easy and natural for you to get that kind of, I guess, concept flowing? Like, was it just like oh, yeah, if I’m going to make something clearly it’s going to be very free like this, it’s going to be whatever topic I want or did it take you a while to find yourself to where you are now like to come up with the podcast? Do names and stuff come easily to you? Or was this something that you tweaked over time?
Jonah Angeles 24:23
Hmm. I love how you shovel on these, you pile on these questions and just spark up these these networks of thought these neural networks in my mind. And now I’m like, experiencing analysis paralysis of where where I’m going to go. This is kind of, this is very on brand for me as an over thinker to just not know where to take the conversation next. But um, can you can you rephrase the question?
DJ Psyched 24:59
Yeah, definitely. So, as far as being a creater goes, I think a lot of people yeah, tend to have, do you got an answer? Or do you want me to try and explain it?
Jonah Angeles 25:08
Um, I, I feel like it, it’s always it has always come naturally to me. Like, just creating just, and not limiting myself to one thing. In terms of names, I feel like names come naturally too, I feel like I just discover my process or my process is one of discovery. I, I tend to find the words, as I write them. And I tend to find stories as I write them, I tend to discover a podcast as I record it, I don’t have a set plan, I’m more of a gardener than an architect in terms of like that classic distinction that writers make between like plotting a story and, like, plotting it from, like making blueprints, of where a story is going to go or a roadmap, as opposed to being a gardener and just planting seeds and seeing what sprouts. That’s not to say that I don’t like planning though I do like to plan, but not to the point where it restricts me because like you said, I, I don’t really want to carve out a niche. Because that would feel too restrictive. And I personally just, I personally just want to discover things as they as they happen. Like, it’s, it’s the spontaneous side of me wanting to, I guess, develop works, without imposing too much expectation, or too much of my desires of what I want a work to be. Because with with my novel, for example, with my medium articles, I might have an idea. But you know, that idea might change or transform or evolve into something else entirely. And I’m not going to stop it from doing that. I like to just, again, discover what a thing is, or what a thing wants to be, it sounds strange, because it’s almost like I’m treating it like a living being separate from myself. But to me, that’s kind of what it is, on some level. It’s kind of like, a child, you know, like, that I’m raising, I’m not going to impose too much of my own expectations on a piece of writing, or on a on a work of a piece of visual art. I’m going to help it develop into what it is, if that makes sense.
DJ Psyched 27:57
Yeah. Yeah, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. How long, I should have asked this question earlier, actually, how long have you been writing? And on top of that, just so it’s not too complicated how long have you been writing? And since you started writing, has there, has there been any big things that you’ve learned maybe about yourself, or about the craft or anything that maybe you wish you knew back when you started?
Jonah Angeles 28:21
Um, I’ve been writing since I was very young. I guess I’ve been writing my whole life. I, to be honest with you, because like, as I said, my mom read to me when I was younger, and she’d also write down stories that I tell I orally, just say stories. They’d come to my head, and she’d write them down for me. And we staple them together in little books. And I think it’s so awesome but once I was able to start writing, I would do that myself, I just write I’d staple these pages together and write stories. I think I might have been like three or four years old at that time, or whenever, whenever, whatever age it was, where I was capable of writing stuff down with a pen or a pencil. That’s when I first started writing stories. But um, so yeah, when I say my whole life, I don’t know, I’ve always I’ve always been a storyteller. And yeah, I’ve always done that. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always written short stories. I, I know in junior high, I developed an obsession with reading short stories, and publishing them online for online communities. I really just grew up in the perfect time to be a writer, you know, I am a child of the internet age, I was born in the 90s so you know, I kind of grew up on the internet, as a lot of people have in this day and age, but I found a writing community, or writing website called Storywrite, I don’t know if they still exist, but they were kind of like wattpad before wattpad is I think, Wattpad is like the big, big name now in the community, Like a community based, an online community based on sharing your writing, I might be wrong. There might be another one, out there other than, like, you know, medium and in terms of short stories, like, I feel like wattpad’s the main one, am I wrong? I think,
DJ Psyched 30:40
No, I think wattpad is the main one.
Jonah Angeles 30:42
that’s the name that comes to mind when you think of like sharing short stories online, right?
DJ Psyched 30:46
Jonah Angeles 30:46
I used to write for wattpad, too, when wattpad got big. And, yeah, and I’ve always just been a writer, and did I answer all of your questions?
DJ Psyched 31:00
Well, the the part that I’d really like to focus on at the end of this podcast is kind of what have you learned? Like, is there any lessons anything big that stood out to you?
Jonah Angeles 31:09
Okay, and if there’s anything that I wish I would have known,
DJ Psyched 31:13
Jonah Angeles 31:14
in the past, um, honestly, I wish I would have implemented a structure like made more time for writing way back when. But I don’t know, it’s, it’s not that big of a deal now. Because like, I do make time for writing. Now I do sometimes, well, I try to make an effort to, you know, carve out some time in my day for writing. But back, then I didn’t have a routine, I didn’t have any notion of setting aside time, I guess well, back then at that same time back then I did have more time to write. So it’s kind of a moot point at this point. To say that I wanted, I should have made more time for writing when I did have a lot of time for writing and I did spend a lot of time writing, but maybe more of, like, I guess, for people listening to this, who want to get into writing, I think having a routine and carving out time to write, rather than just writing when you feel like writing, which is what I’ve always done for most of my life, up until recently. Up until the past few years. For me personally, as a writer, it really helps to have time, time out of your day, dedicated just to writing. I also feel the best times to write are, and this is just my personal preference is either when I wake up, or when I’m about to go to bed. So either really early in the morning, or really late at night, because that’s when the ideas are more accessible, in my opinion, or even after I meditate. If I could go back in time, I taught myself to meditate more. And try to find ideas through that through meditation, because that silence is the default mode network, right? It takes you out of the default mode network of your everyday mundane way of thinking, and, you know, puts you in a state where you’re more open and more, I guess, you attract more ideas. Because I, to bring it back to the idea that these works are kind of like separate beings from you, like I believe I do is are also alive in a sense. And doing things that take you out of your default mode network, like meditation, or even going for a walk, or anything that puts you in a flow state will put you in a mindset for finding fishing out these novel ideas, so to speak.
DJ Psyched 34:11
Yeah, that’s actually a really good point that you bring up having one like a routine for writing. I think that’s something that a lot of people lack, including myself, I definitely have been trying to etch in more writing time because I do think that I used to do the same thing. And I still do a lot of the times like I just write whenever I’m just in the mood, but that kind of can sometimes leave me with periods of time where I’m not writing. And I completely agree on the walking thing. That’s actually one of I think, not just walking but finding that time to mentally just be in the writing or just be with yourself and just being out of the chaos of the world because I find that the times that is hardest to write is like during the day like you’re completely right if you write during the day, you have all These worries in your head, you got work to think about, there’s all there’s always chores to do around the house. And it’s just there’s too much going on. And it’s hard to like writing is something you have to be in, you have to be very present in the moment. You can’t write and multitask, you can’t write when there’s other things you’re thinking about doing. It has to be in that moment, just writing. And I think, like you said, like a flow state. I think writing is one of the easiest ways to get into a flow state. Because I find that once I actually get myself down, and I start typing out, everything else, it doesn’t matter for those few minutes.
Jonah Angeles 35:34
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s like, you also have to just let yourself go, you just have to let go. That’s a big part of the process is not rereading what you just wrote, and then judging it, because that’s something I tend to do, too, is having, like typing out a paragraph and then rereading it, and thinking, Oh, that sounds stupid, why’d I write that? And it’s better to just let yourself write until, until you run out of words. And then also, don’t judge yourself too harshly for what you wrote. Because it’s not like, every word you write, or every sentence you write is going to be gold. That that has, that takes a process to, in order to make something that’s in order to make gold when it comes to writing it. It takes a lot of time and effort and energy. But I guess, part of the whole letting yourself go thing is also that ties into the whole discovery aspect of my process is just exploring it, there’s an exploratory aspect to that. And just, you know, finding, finding ideas, because they’re out there, you know.
DJ Psyched 36:56
Jonah Angeles 36:56
And, and not criticizing them too much. Because that’s when you’re overthinking that’s that’s when the thinking too much. happens when you when you think too much you inhibit yourself from creating gold. It’s it’s alchemy, really, you know, I guess that’s what writing is to me. So I should have said that earlier because that’s more dramatic and more, more poetic is to call writing alchemy.
DJ Psyched 37:21
Jonah Angeles 37:22
Because Yeah, you’re, you’re really creating gold out of like, the building blocks of reality, which is language.
DJ Psyched 37:29
Jonah Angeles 37:31
or information. Yeah.
DJ Psyched 37:36
Sorry, I just lost my thought.
Jonah Angeles 37:38
DJ Psyched 37:42
What were you saying? Because I think I can find it again.
Jonah Angeles 37:45
Oh, let’s find this thought this runaway away thought. alchemy, gold, building blocks of reality, this is very philosophical and metaphysical to say.
DJ Psyched 38:01
yeah, what I was gonna say was that, it pertains to something you said a while ago, is like not controlling what you do, but kind of letting it be what it wants to be. I think that the importance to me at least of meditating, or being in a very calm and clear state, when it when creating anything, but especially with writing is that usually, I’ll have an idea, right? Just a small idea, a very small idea when I go into writing, I usually don’t even try to like have a set title when I start writing. Because if I already deem, what the work is going to be, it’s going to sound to forced, what I try to do is just like, have the vague thought, like, what is it that I’m trying to say here? What is it that I’m trying to write, and just start writing and usually, like, I’d say, 99% of the time, when I just let myself write, based on one thought, it’ll come out completely different than I envisioned it when I started writing. And it’s whenever I try to make a writing too specific like over plan it, that it doesn’t end up sounding good to me, or it doesn’t end up feeling real. Like it has to be like, when I’m sitting there writing, I’m in such a clear state, and I just let it be, or else I feel like, it just becomes obvious that I overthought the whole piece and the the point, usually, I when I say a concept, I mean, I have just a vague concept. As I’m writing. The epiphany happens, and you can almost see it in my writing that moment where I realized what the point is, because I don’t have a word limit or anything. It’s not like I ever write and I’m like, Okay, I need to write this many words. I’m just like, I need to write until I get whatever the point is. And I don’t know what the point is usually when I start something, but by the end of it, I’m like, Okay, I understand the point. Now my readers can understand the point. This is where it finishes. Do you have any kind of like process like that for your writing that you do or is free handing, like a big part of your process too?
Jonah Angeles 39:53
Yeah, definitely. I do like to have titles and overarching concepts and basic direction, a single direction, at least, or maybe a, let’s say, let’s say I’m going down a highway. I’d like to be going north, rather than going like North and then going trying West, like I like to stay in one direction and see where that takes me.
DJ Psyched 40:22
Jonah Angeles 40:24
Or I just switched lanes and try another, try another direction, or switch switch highways maybe. Or this is this whole thing this whole metaphor is infinite. There’s so many places you can, you can take your writing and it helps to have structure and constraints. I took a writing class in university, one of my favorite writing classes, actually called story games. And I was gonna shout out my professor Thomas warden. He’s dope from the University of Alberta. Yeah, I was a creative writing minor, by the way. Just thought I dropped that piece of information for the listeners. Yeah. Sorry, for the big for the long pause. I’m realizing that your listeners don’t know a thing about me. So yeah, I graduated from University of Florida with a psych degree, major in psych and minor in creative writing. And I took a class called story games. And that class is all about writing within constraints, and within certain sets of rules. So what was the name of the, the the Ulipo? Hold on the Ulipo I think I’m butchering the pronunciation, but it’s a it was a, this was a gathering of French speaking writers. In a university. I don’t know if they were, I don’t know if they were they were based but um, Oh, is it the college? The pata physic, it’s a French college, it was a subcommittee called Ulipo. Kind of like a student group, I guess. And they practice writing within constraints and different structures and just ways, ways in which you can, like, I guess, restrict yourself as a writer, in order to create because if you if you have no restrictions, and you’re just totally free to write about whatever you want, it can be difficult to settle in on or to hone in on on a one overarching theme or idea or direction or point. But if you have, if you write within a certain set of rules, or a certain structure or a certain technique, maybe like to give you an example. Maybe maybe you want to write from the perspective of, of an animal, or, you know, first person like you, as a writer, you have certain narrative modes, right and points of view, you can view those as constraints. But like, you can even take it a step further by, you know, writing of a constraint, they’re constraints. Here, I’m looking on the Wikipedia page, s plus seven or sometimes called n plus seven. So you replace every noun in the text with the seventh noun after it in a dictionary. So for example, call me Ishmael, some years ago, becomes call me Islander, some yeggs ago. Y E G G S. Interesting. So this is obviously like a game you can play with your writing. But that can lead into maybe a new story idea, or you know what I mean? There’s also, one of the techniques I used was using tarot cards to plot out a story. And you don’t have to, like, necessarily write about save. Maybe you drew, you know, seven of pentacles. You don’t have to write about like Pentacles or seven. You can maybe write about a night or a character who found like, seven, sometimes seven items or like seven macguffins. And went to, I don’t know, a hotel, or what, a space station or I don’t know you can there’s so many sources of information around you. You know what I mean? And I guess one of the if you’re to take away any, anything from this rambling it’s that ideas are all around us. And if you restrict yourself with certain rules, you’re able to better allow those ideas to flourish maybe. Does that make sense?
DJ Psyched 45:26
Jonah Angeles 45:28
Yeah, please cut that. Please edit that down. Totally, totally lost my train of thought as I was speaking. And yeah, but it’s hard to explain without concrete examples. But like, even even rhymes, rhymes are a form of constraint. And you can choose a certain rhyming pattern or even like Shakespeare’s use of what’s it called, Iambic parameter. That’s another example of a constraint about what you said about titles, I think titles are a good way to add limitations to what you want to write. And I guess, there could be a delicate balance there of like, not restricting yourself too much with a title because the title is obviously going to influence what you’re writing about. And I, I come from, like, I guess where we differ, I come from the standpoint of liking to work with titles and finding the story from the title. But at the same time, I do like the other way around to where you don’t have a title and you find the title after you write the piece. Yeah. But if I’m doing it the first way, where I have a title, and I’m finding the piece with the title in mind, that title isn’t concrete, it can be subject to change, too.
DJ Psyched 47:03
Yeah. And, and that’s kind of what I meant more. So it’s not like I don’t ever have any title when I start writing. But whenever I write, I put a title down that I know I’m not going to keep because I think the title is going to be influenced by what ends up happening in this, in whatever I’m writing, because there have been times where I like I have a title, and then the concept is in it. And when I finish, either there’s some phrase that really stands out to me in it, or some concept that really pushes through and I’m like, okay, the title will reflect the piece better if I change the title at that point. So I understand what you’re saying. Because I mean, if I were to just sit there and write and just be like freehand absolutely no concept, I think none of the blog posts, I make whatever makes sense. But having like, certain limitations, and I think that’s where the concept of like a niche or like, for me, I guess I like to think of it as, like a fluid genre when I write, because there are like, certain topics that I like to speak on. Like, I think, for me, personally, nonfiction is a big thing, because I’d like talking about growth and topics in life. But I think what’s what’s important to me is not to restrict myself from allowing myself to bring other things in. Because I think, while having one concept is, is vital, honestly, for writing, because if you go too many places, your piece isn’t going to make sense. And it’s going to be harder to enjoy while reading it. There’s got to be like that one central theme. But what I like to think of it as if we’re going to use the highway analogy is like, you’ve got a highway you’re riding on, but you still want like pretty scenery around that highway.
Jonah Angeles 48:36
Yeah. True. I like that. I like that. And you want you want the ride to be exciting. Yeah, to and you don’t want it to be predictable.
DJ Psyched 48:49
Yeah, and I think like with this analogy, to me, the most essential thing is that one, the story starts somewhere, right? You got to get in the car at some point and then go down the highway and there’s got to be a destination because I think the biggest problem I had when I first started writing is that I never really stopped the car anywhere. It’s just like, the highway ended and the car never stopped. So it feels like the ride has to stop you know, like it doesn’t make sense to go on a road trip with no end.
Jonah Angeles 49:16
Right. Makes sense. Yeah, I really like that.
DJ Psyched 49:23
So I guess my last big question that I want for you is do you have any like Golden Nugget I guess something vital you’d want people to take away from this. Maybe something about you or something about writing you know, I’m gonna give you free rein to go wherever you want with this.
Jonah Angeles 49:44
Okay, well, as I mentioned, I do want to bring up that no death no fear book by Thich Naht Hanh
DJ Psyched 49:51
Jonah Angeles 49:53
Who is a famous for writing about meditation and Zen and Buddhism. And, yeah, I think one of the passages I was reading, right before this interview was how, in order for certain flowers to blossom, during the season, the conditions had to be right. And that’s kind of like a metaphor for a lot of things to me, not just life. But for writing, like you got to have, the conditions have to be right. And there’s a lot that you can control in relation to that in relation to putting yourself in the right writing mindset, or, you know, doing what you can in order to arrange the conditions in order to make the stars align, so that your writing can be it’s best, I guess, to put out your best work, and I think what I’ve learned is the best writing. Or the best times, for me to write is when I’m actively living my life. And I know it’s hard to live your life, quote, unquote, during a pandemic, but for me, the the right conditions of writing is for when I’m, you know, live having experiences that inspire me, or talking to people that inspire me, or going places that, you know, challenged my, my everyday perceptions, or my everyday, my default mode network that, you know, places that put me in a flow state places that show me new things that give me new experiences. I don’t know when I’m, when I’m having the time of my life, when I’m falling in love, or when I’m getting my heart broken. You know, that’s when I get a lot of really good material. For good art, is when I’m, you know, living my life, I guess it’s the best way for me to put it. It’s the most general way for me to put it and I know it’s very abstract. But
DJ Psyched 52:11
Jonah Angeles 52:11
that’s, that’s when the right conditions are, one of the right conditions for good writing. and good material is when I’m living my life, and I’m not holding myself back from living. I have to gain experiences in order to transmit those experiences into my work. Because if I’m just sitting on my ass, like in my room, or in my workspace, trying to come up with ideas, staring at a blank page. Well, you know, there’s only so much I can pull from if I’m not living my life, you know what I mean?
DJ Psyched 52:47
Yeah, I completely, completely agree. I think that is where all the best art comes from, when you’re living, truly living and experiencing and making the art afterwards. You know, like, letting that be a guide for creating because I mean, art is a reflection of life, life is a reflection of art, yada, yada, but, but I think it’s important to live and experience. I think that’s where the best art comes from, I think it’d be impossible, honestly, in my opinion, to create if there wasn’t anything you’re going through, because I mean, everything I create, and I think any creator who’s doing it because they love it, and is not doing it as a motivation of money or something. The reason you do it is because you’re you want to create something relevant, something that you can relate to something other people can relate to. And you can only make something relevant if you’re living.
Jonah Angeles 53:39
Yeah, the human experience, right? We’re all pulling from the human experience. Assuming that you’re human and listening to this, if you’re an animal or an alien, I guess you can write about the animal or the alien experience, too. But um, yeah, like, in order to, to plant seeds in your writing, you need to have the seeds planted in you. Does that make sense? That, it’s kind of weird metaphor.
DJ Psyched 54:05
Jonah Angeles 54:06
I have the image of like, flowers sprouting up for my ears. And, you know, my, my nostrils and whatever orifice you want to name put.
DJ Psyched 54:17
That would make a cool photo.
Jonah Angeles 54:19
That’d be an interesting photo. Yeah, that’s a good idea. I have to write that down for later. But yeah, in order to write about life, you had to live your life. Because that’s what’s interesting. That’s what’s that’s what people like to read is, you know, they like to see themselves. People like to see themselves in what they read in the characters that they read. Or they like to relate to what they read. And I mean, or I do personally.
DJ Psyched 54:51
Jonah Angeles 54:53
That’s where I, where I experienced firsthand is when I read something that resonates with me that I feel like I have experienced that too. Or I feel like I can put myself in this character’s shoes or this narrator shoes and really understand what they meant, or what what the writer meant when they wrote that thing. Because a lot of the time, like good writing speaks about things that are universal, or things that are commonly experienced by humans. And as far as I know, it’s just us humans who make literature, but maybe I’m being ignorant.
DJ Psyched 55:33
Completely agree. Well, yeah. Thank you for all of that.
Jonah Angeles 55:40
Yeah, thank you. Thank you. You’re welcome.
DJ Psyched 55:43
Jonah Angeles 55:43
Thank you. Thank you for having me. And thank you for sharing your that we share too.
DJ Psyched 55:53
All right. Well, yeah, I guess our main following the, I guess, metaphor of the podcast we did on your page, which I want to let you get, have a moment if you’d like to just shout out that podcast again. So everyone knows where they can find you after this?
Jonah Angeles 56:09
Yeah, that podcast is called Overthinker’s Anonymous. It’s available on Spotify and anchor and wherever you get your podcasts, I think, except for except for Apple podcasts, but I could be wrong. I think it might actually be on Apple podcast. just haven’t haven’t checked. Yeah, don’t quote me on that. Yeah.
DJ Psyched 56:32
All right. Well, thank you again for being on again. And stay psyched
Jonah Angeles 56:39
DJ Psyched 56:40
Thank you so much for listening. The intro and outro beat us on this podcast was made by my friend and producer PME. He’s super talented, so make sure to check him out. His links are always in the description. And as always, let me know what you’re getting psyched about. I do this podcast because I think getting psyched is done best when we do it together. So please let me know and until next time, stay psyched.