Make/Work Episode 12: Diane Cook

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In Episode 12 of Make/Work, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks with writer Diane Cook. Cook was a producer at This American Life for years until she quit to pursue her own fiction writing. She’s since had work published or forthcoming in places like Harper’s, Granta, and Zoetrope, and in 2012 she won the Calvino Prize for fabulist fiction.

Cook speaks about what she learned from her time at This American Life, how she ultimately had to leave the job to develop her own identity as a writer, and her need to focus exclusively on her writing for the last couple of years.

I knew it would be hard for me to juggle [a day job and writing]. I’m not a juggler. I might seem then like a half-assed creative person but it’s hard for me. I’d have to spend a lot of time learning how to do it more effectively than I have.

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Listen to Episode 12 (and subscribe to Make/Work!) now in iTunes. Or get the direct download. And you can get Make/Work through Stitcher.

Check out Diane Cook’s story, “Moving On”, in the latest issue of Tin House. Preorder her debut collection, Man V. Nature, here.

Every creative laborer has a different story to tell about how they negotiate their relationship between their creative work and their paycheck and how they balance their lives to sustain their creative practice. In Make/Work, Scott will speak with emerging and established artists working in a wide range of creative mediums about how they survive, how they make a living, and how they maintain their work over the long term. New episodes will be released every other Thursday.


Scott Pinkmountain is a writer and musician living in California. He is the creator and host of The History Channeler comedy podcast and has written for This American Life, A Public Space, HTMLGIANT, and other publications. He has also released dozens of albums of both instrumental music and songs including the recent No Country Music. He can be found at http://www.scottpinkmountain.com/. More from this author →