Episode 18- Master Series: The Journey of Award Winning Writer, Sheri Holman


It’s a word familiar with every hustler. Everyone that strives to achieve more in life.

“I Lived Next Door to a Crack House”

 “If you don’t risk things, you’re never going to get anywhere”

the Master Series 

In this series of GrindDaily, we focus on individuals that have mastered a craft. Part one of the Master Series featured Chef Kyle Bailey, a chef ridden with perseverance dedicated to honing his skills. This week’s master, award-winning writer, Sheri Holman has taken an incredible approach to become a career professional writer, through not only perseverance but taking opportunity when it’s presented. Sheri has written five novels, currently writes for the Netflix Original Series Longmire, and the new NBC show Emerald City. As a founding member of The Moth, Sheri has seen the benefit that live storytelling brings to people.  There is an immense therapeutic value writing, reading, and storytelling bring. Some of Sheri’s Moth productions can be listened to and watched here. I highly recommend the Rescue Mission episode, a telling story of her young career in the big city.

Rural Virginia to the Big City

Sheri started her career moving to New York City right after college. As she puts it in the episode, “there are two camps for professional writers: either go to graduate school, or her chosen alternative, the “Go to New York City” graduate program. Sheri believes that by living in a big city, struggling through the grit and grind of an aspiring writer she learned something about herself. Not only was she learning from her entry level jobs, but something about surviving in the city seems to teach a young writer an awful lot. The life lessons that the school of hard knocks teaches can be more valuable than any classroom, not to mention the real world experience.
Her first job was a temp job in a publishing house. Sheri just wanted to be surrounded by books, writers, editors, and publishers so she took the gig.
Shortly thereafter she moved to Greece to pursue writing on her own. After struggling through many pages of a book, she returned to the states with little money (having been robbed by a friend) and what turned out to be a novel that wouldn’t gain any attention. She landed a job with a literary agent who dismissed the novel written in Greece. This was pivotal for Sheri ,”In a weird way it grounded me”, she said.
Working for the literary agent she would read through countless manuscripts of aspiring writers. This is where the second year of her graduate studies came in, “Reading and doing became my graduate career”, tells Sheri. Everything from how they got edited, to how they got marketed she soaked it up like a stale french loaf dipped in a creamy tomato soup. At night Sheri was working on her second novel (and first published piece).

Netflix Original Series, On Demand Writing?

After several novels, Sheri decided to write for television. In a pivotal career move she wanted stability for her and her children. Realizing that screenplays were different than any writing she had done before, she went online and took a script from HBO’s “Six Feet Under“. Timing the scene changes on her phone, and analyzing how long the scenes were, she charted the scene changes and realized how fast things change in film compared to novels. Not only did the scenes change fast, the scripts turned over in a matter of weeks. In the episode Sheri discusses some of the challenges to writing with such short turnarounds, and how she overcomes them.

The Moth

The Moth, founded by George Green, a Georgian native and friend of Sheri’s. George created The Moth as an ode to his childhood style of storytelling, yearning to bring the lost pastime to the hustle and bustle of NYC.
With story slams (a bit like poetry slams), regular people and professionals gather to tell true personal stories.

Show Notes

Sebastian Junger on the Tim Ferriss show “Lessons from War, Tribal Societies, and a Non-Fiction Life
Quote or piece of advice on her mind. Sheri has been reading a lot of Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Cesare Pavese
One of Sheri’s favorite restaurants in New York is Han Bat, which is a 24/7 Korean restaurant, and Sheri claims has the best Kimchi in the city. Sushi Choshi is a top favorite as well.
The New York Historical Society-amazing resource for writers (researching particularly
Final Draft is the industry standard for writing screenplays. Scrivener is another option that Sheri recommends if you want a free version.
Currently, Sheri is reading Judis my Amos Oz
Sheri called out Madeline Shwartzman a professor, and insane creative working on several artistic  projects. Her new book See Yourself Sensing “
is an explosive and unique survey that captures the fascinating relationship between design, the body, the senses, and technology. A timely discussion with cutting-edge design, See Yourself Sensing examines work from the last 50 years by artists, architects and designers who have been experimenting with the boundaries of our senses, changing the way we experience the world” -Amazon

Some of Sheri’s Work:

You can reach Sheri on her website, or on Facebook!
“If you don’t risk things, you’re never going to get anywhere”
“I learned as much from the manuscripts that failed, as the ones that made it”
“if you only go after the one perfect thing, you may miss out on quite a few opportunities”
“Say yes to the thing thats in front of you”
“No experience is wasted”
“People want to hear about the struggle and the times you failed”
“when we allow ourselves to get lost we hear and see things in a heightened way” take yourself out of the routine and be awake in the world. The most interesting things happen when we find our way home.
As always, shout out to Cole Ross for the beats. 

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