The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘television

A few weeks ago, I was a guest on the wonderful podcast Black and Read, hosted by Terry Brown. Each week Terry and his guest discuss a work of literature from the unique perspective of a person of color. I talked about my journey to publication, finding your writing mojo, finding a creative process (and sticking with it), and the state of speculative fiction. Plus, I did some old school reminiscing about how Star Wars, and the T.V. shows The Bionic Woman and Lost in Space (the original) shaped my early love of sci-fi. Terry was a great interviewer and the conversation flowed easily. I loved being on the show.

The episode was released this week and you can hear it here.

I’ve appeared on radio and television before, but I am relatively new to appearing as a guest on a podcast. Being featured on a podcast is a fantastic way that authors and creators can share insight into their work. I’m also a huge fan of podcasts, especially those devoted to writing. If a guest is compelling, I’ll look up their work and consider purchasing it.

In thinking about what makes a guest compelling and reviewing own recent performance, I have complied these tips:

-Come Prepared

This sounds obvious, I know. But I can’t tell you the countless times that I’ve listened to a podcast and it’s clear that the guest has never listened to the show and doesn’t know the format. Being prepared means a few things: listening to several episodes prior to appearing on the show and understanding the format of the show (i.e. does the host ask different questions each time or is there a familiar script? Are there special segments to the show?). Also, your preparation should include having your elevator pitch about your creative work ready to go along with some compelling vignettes that reveal your process as a writer, approach to storytelling, etc.

-Give Us the Energy!

You don’t always have control over when you will be interviewed. It may be scheduled during a time of day that’s not your ideal in terms of peak energy. So, if you know you are not a morning person and you are to appear at 8am, then by all means make sure you are well-rested, caffeinated and ready to sound your best. We need you to sound engaged, excited to be there and eager to connect with the host and listeners.

-Know Your Verbal Tics and Work On Them

In listening back to the podcast I used several verbal tics including, “I would say” and “I think”. Everyone has verbal tics, but we should try to minimize them during an interview. Role play with yourself and imagine the kinds of questions you might be asked. Record yourself and notice how you ad lib and may use verbal fillers, like “um”.

-Create an Ideal Environment

You want a quiet environment during the time that you are being recorded. This might mean putting the dogs or cats in another room with treats so that they don’t bother you, working out a schedule with roommates, a significant other, children, etc.

-Tell Us Where To Find You

If listeners get curious about your work, they are going to take a peek at your website and social media. Speak clearly and slowly when telling us where to find you online. I did just that but, I didn’t tell people how to spell my name, so they may find Michelle Burger instead of me. Luckily, in the show notes, the title and cover of my book (which has a funky spelling, so can be hard to find) is listed.

Do you have other tips about being a guest on a podcast? I’d love to hear!


Hi folks, Reenu-You soon gets to have its turn in the TV spotlight.

I was so honored to be invited on UNC TV’s show Bookwatch to talk about my novella “Reenu-You”. D.G. Martin is the host and we did the taping during the summer. It was great fun and I learned a ton.

My episode is scheduled to air on Tuesday, October 10th at 8:00pm on the North Carolina Channel & on Sunday, October 15th at Noon on UNC-TV, with an encore broadcast on UNC-TV the following Thursday at 5pm. I hope you can check it out.

In this promo clip, I talk about the creative process and how to stay connected to one’s writing.

At some point, I will write a post about all the things I learned during my first TV appearance!


Mariah Wheeler is a creative spark in the small, but vibrant town of Pittsboro, North Carolina where I reside. Her Joyful Jewel Gallery is in the heart of downtown Pittsboro and has become a destination to explore, marvel and buy works from over 150 local artists. Her deep passion for art and supporting artists has enriched the community.

Writers always need fresh ways to tap into their imaginations. Three years ago, Mariah, along with poet Sheridan Bushnell, conceived of the idea of inviting writers to come to the gallery and write about art. Their idea developed into the much anticipated annual ‘Vision and Voice’ event where writers are asked to read what they wrote after their visit and the corresponding artists are asked to display their objects and say a few words about the art-making process.

Engaging with art objects, in this event, provides a unique opportunity to stretch one’s aesthetic sensibilities. I’ve participated in ‘Vision and Voice’ since the beginning and each time I’ve been amazed at how focusing on a work of art challenges my own assumptions about what I can write. In looking closely at a piece of art, I find myself asking different questions (about plot, character and setting) than when I usually sit down to write. The ‘Vision and Voice’ event also supports an enriching cross-fertilization of ideas and collaborative engagement between writers and artists that doesn’t often happen.

Mariah’s poem ‘A Hat is Better than a TV’ was inspired by hats made by Brooks, a fiber artist. Brooks makes all kinds of textile wonders and sells them at the Joyful Jewel. Mariah modeled the hats while Brooks read the poem. The audience loved it!  I’m so glad that Mariah is letting me pass on the sweetness, whimsy and insight of this poem to you.


Mariah Wheeler

A Hat is Better Than A TV



I am invited to Kazi Jane’s 2nd birthday party, and
I’m in the pink along with:
Cotton Candy Kisses
Giggles, Games, and Balloons
Glow Worm Tea Cakes
A Grandmother’s Love
















The military calls me, and
I’m at the ready:
The medals have already been earned and attached
I can divert attention at the last minute
(the enemy is dazzled & confused)
Hiding in trees or in a meadow is possible
I am just too cute to shoot




The Queen is found to be an imposter, and
I visit Buckingham:
A Palace Guard (in a similar hat) recognizes me as Queen
A stately fascinator is ready for me to wear after my coronation,
and it has room for the crown jewels on the crown
I feel like Dudley Moore as Amadeus when riding in the parade


mariah4I decide to safari in Africa, and
my camouflage allows:
Closeness with elephants and giraffes
A gazelle’s invitation to dance
Frolicking in the dirt (which remains invisible on my head)
A bird to find a nesting site complete with fuzz for the nest


mariah5I’m in my own hat, and
standing out in the crowd, I:
Bring fun to strangers by eliciting their smiles
Know that blue matches my eyes and I feel pretty.
Am reminded of Christmas tinsel and break out in song
Have a bad hair day and still look good


I say “A Hat is Better Than a TV” because:
Imagination has a prop ready for action
It can go with me, in a useful way, when I’m outdoors
I can take it with me wherever I go
Because Dreams accumulate underneath a hat
and nothing happens underneath a TV

Author Reflection: I am proprietor of the Joyful Jewel, where every day I see the great beauty that local hands guided by an undefinable muse are creating every day.

These hats by Brooks make me laugh and get my imagination going.  They do the same for any patron who tries one on.

For more about Mariah and the magical Joyful Jewel, see here. To see more about Brooks and her creations, see here.


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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