E108: Self-Help - War Zones to the USA: Adventures of a Journalist - Natasha Tynes (Journalist & Author)
Natasha Tynes (Journalist & Author)
How a seemingly mundane job interview led to a life-changing encounter with discriminatory labour laws. Through her letter to the editor published in a local newspaper, Natasha Tynes discovered the compelling power of their voice in sparking discussions and driving change. Explore how this experience ignited a passion for journalism and shed light on the transformative impact of storytelling and advocacy in society.
👉🏽Tips for Effective Writing
👉🏽 Trimming the Fat
👉🏽 Crafting Engaging Titles
👉🏽 AI Tools to Help Write Better
Natasha Tynes (Journalist & Author)
Natasha Tynes is a Jordanian-American author based in Maryland in the United States. She is a regular contributor to several publications. Her non-fiction work has appeared in the Washington Post, Nature Magazine, Elle, and Esquire, among others.
Her short stories have appeared in Geometry, The Timberline Review, Fjords, and the Markaz Review. Her short story Ustaz has won third place at the prestigious annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary. She is the author of the speculative literary novel They Called Me Wyatt.
She hosts the podcast, Read and Write with Natasha, where she chats with authors and publishers and discusses the reading and writing journey. She is currently working on her second novel.
⚡️ In each episode, Paddy Dhanda deep dives into a new human Superpower and practical advice on how you can apply it immediately.
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[00:00:59] Paddy Dhanda: Dear friend, thank you for joining us for another episode of the Superpower School podcast. I'm your host, Paddy Dhanda, and on today's episode, I have a very special guest, someone who has some superpowers that I personally would love to acquire.
So I'm gonna be listening with close intent and intention. She is a journalist, an author, a ghost writer, and she's all the way from the us. Welcome to the show, Natasha Tines.
[00:01:29] Natasha Tynes: Hi. Hi Patty. Thank you for having me.
[00:01:32] Paddy Dhanda: You are welcome, Natasha. What superpower would you like to bring to this episode?
[00:01:37] Natasha Tynes: Well, it's if you wanna call it my superpower, and it's my only power, which is writing. I've been journalist, writer, ghost writer for. Let's say over 25 years. So now you know how old I am, but I started when I was three.
No, I'm joking. But yeah. So, yeah, so I've worked as a journalist since I was 19 years old, writing for newspapers in Jordan, in Aman Jordan, where I was born in the Middle East. And then I moved around. As I told you while we were chatting earlier, that I moved to London England, got my master's in international journalism, then moved back to Jordan, worked for the Jordan Times.
It's. The only English daily newspaper in Jordan. Then I moved to Doha, Qatar, and worked for Al Jazeera for a few years as a reporter. Then I moved to the US with my husband, who is from the US and worked in non-profits training journalists. All over the world. So we used to travel, organize conferences, trainings is great.
Worked for the World Bank for five years in their communications department. And now for the past three years, I established my own L C. So what I do this l s e is I provide content for clients. And so mostly I provide newsletter support. So if there's any brand they want anyone to write the newsletters, I do that.
I do a lot of ghost writing mostly memoir, ghost writing through a company that's called, they contracted me. So, and I love this part of my A job, which is, I talk to people usually in their eighties or seventies and they tell me all their life stories, the happiest moments, their regrets, what would they change?
So for me it's a very rewarding experience. And I also write fiction. I. Published a lot of short stories. And published a novel almost five years ago called, they Called Me Wyatt. It's a murder mystery set between the US and Jordan working on two other books, also fiction. So yeah, I so that's what I do.
So I, I guess that you can call this my superpower since it pays my bills. So let's call it a superpower. And if
[00:03:52] Paddy Dhanda: you're watching the video version of this, there's a stack of books next to you as well. So, a true author and writer just there. There we go. I mean, I was looking at your website and, you've had articles published in the Washington Post Esquire, the Post you mentioned Al Jazeera.
I mean, these are, huge names in the world of journalism. So I'd love to explore more on that in a moment, but yeah. At what point in your life were you inspired to follow this career in writing? Was there a particular event that happened or was there a particular person that inspired you?
Like, tell us a bit more about that.
[00:04:32] Natasha Tynes: Sure. So all of my life I started reading at a very early age. That's what my parents tell me and I've just been reading all my life and it's like a natural progression. If you are a big reader, you would wanna also like write and it is just kind of the next step.
So I've always been interested in writing. I think what got me into journalism it's a story that. I think I was maybe 19 or 18, and I wanted to get a a part-time job. And so my friends told me about this sales job, I think you make sales over the phone and it's for a few hours.
I was like, yeah I wanna do it. I want, I wanna help with paying my parents with paying the bills. I wanna like do my own stuff. So I think I was maybe a freshman in university. So I go, I interview the guy, the person who was in charge. Everything was great. And he said, but we can't hire you.
I was like, why? And he said the morning shift is already filled. We only have the late shift. I was like, oh, it's okay. I prefer the late shift. 'cause I go to school in the morning and he was like, no, we can't do that. I was like, why? Because the late shift ends after I think 7 or 8 PM and according back then it probably changed.
According to the labor law, women are not allowed to work after 7:00 PM. I was like, what? I was like, I don't have a problem. Like if you worried about my parents, nobody has a problem. It's only 8:00 PM I can do. It's like, no, it would be like against the labor laws. So I was furious. So I wrote a letter and I sent it to the Jordan Times as a letter to the editor, and I wrote about my incident, like, and how can we do this?
And it's still this and I, it always got published and got responses and that back then that I realized that, This, that my voice can actually stir debate. It can, start conversation, maybe it can instill change. So that's honestly, I left Jordan 20 years ago and I haven't followed in that issue.
Probably. It's fine now. But that was like over, I said over 25 years ago. And after I started getting those responses to the letter to the editor, I sent, I started sending more letters to the editor and then, Right after that I started I contacted an editor at a different newspaper and it was a weekly newspaper and I started publishing.
I started 'cause I like art and music, I started doing like music reviews and art reviews and and then I continued and then I got master's degree in journalism. And this is how it started? Yeah.
[00:07:07] Paddy Dhanda: Oh wow. That. That's a phenomenal story. I wasn't expecting that actually, Natasha. I was just expecting you'd read a book or you'd
[00:07:14] Natasha Tynes: read an article.
No. It is, yeah. Yeah.
[00:07:16] Paddy Dhanda: That's a really powerful impact that you had there. And as a result of your article, did anything change or was there that sort of support for your argument that led to change.
[00:07:29] Natasha Tynes: The, I mean, there, there were few supportive responses, but you know, the, there.
There wasn't a major change. But at least, I started a debate. Which for me that's good enough, at least for that time. And I said probably the law changed. Now I'll have to look into it. Yeah,
[00:07:48] Paddy Dhanda: So following on from your graduation, you've got your master's, how tough.
Or easy was it for you to land your first job?
[00:08:00] Natasha Tynes: So it was easy for me because I was already publishing articles on the side before I got a full-time job. So while I was in school, I already had my own newspaper column. And the newspaper column was about it was, like funny about life in a man Jordan, and it was in English.
So this kind of humor about living in a city in the Middle East and like, I would joke about driving with no AC and it's really hot and like all that stuff. Or being dragged to weddings and you have to like do like belly dancing and you don't want like all of that life in a man. I was. Like my early twenties, like what did I know back then?
But I thought I knew everything, of course. And so, and it got lots and lots of responses. And so at least in Jordan, I managed to establish a name for myself very quickly, and that led to a number of journalism jobs. And then came, and then I got a full scholarship to go to London to the chief scholarship through the British Council, through the British government.
'cause studying in the UK for, coming from my background, it's we couldn't afford that. So the Chief Next Scholarship provided with us with that opportunity, it was great experience. So coming back to the Middle East with, It already published portfolio, a master's from the UK helped me like land jobs pretty quickly.
Like a job at the Jordan Times, followed by a job at Al Jazeera. And then but it's not like I, I did not suffer. When it comes to that, like in the us not sure if much about the US market. There's a lot of jobs, right? But at the same time, it's a tool employee and in many, which means that it's.
If they lose a, if they had a contract from a client, they lose the contract. They will lay off everyone. So, like I remember my first job was great. I was writing news articles and then they lost their contract. They laid off five people. That's it. I mean, it's, this is kind of the way it is in a capitalist society is like, you keep marching ahead.
And so of course I had my ups and my downs and all of that, but now I'm doing my own thing which is it for me. Like I feel I already paid my dues in the corporate world after 25 years. So now I have, I work with a number of clients and they find me. Either through word of mouth or through social media, or through the website or through platforms like these.
But yeah, it's been good. I have my, as I said, my, my good days and my bad days. Some months I'm really busy with client. Others not so much. So, it's a journey.
[00:10:41] Paddy Dhanda: Just take us back to your days in Jordan because. Yeah, I'm really intrigued about life as a woman growing up in that environment. I have zero knowledge of Jordan. I mean, I've been to yeah, other places in the Middle East, like, the u a e, that places that are, yeah, quite touristy.
But could you put it into a perspective what kind of environment did you grow up in and as a woman, like how was that for you?
[00:11:08] Natasha Tynes: So Jordan is pretty open. I used to go out and with my friends and I went to an older Catholic school growing up which the school was conservative. But But you know, like the society as a whole is conservative, but I'm talking about 20 years ago. So, some might argue no, it's changed now.
It's more open. People say no on the country, it's even, more more religious and is more so. It depends on who you talk to, right? But So like, in terms of like finding jobs or whatever it was okay. It was fine. I was well respected as a journalist. As I said, Jordan is pretty open and, we have like female ministers and all of that.
But I think the biggest issue as a woman growing up in Jordan was for me the freedom to choose a partner. And I think that's one of the biggest issues because it's still a conservative society in terms of. Dating publicly at least back then was frowned upon. So you would have to like date in groups or you won't be able to date until you're engaged or stuff like that.
So that for me was an issue because I wanted to have more freedom in choosing my life partner and not being forced in a situation where I had to because time was running out for me. And like for a woman, we have the biological clock and, I want to be able to have kids if I wait long, like all of these constraints.
And then the society would look at you as like a woman who's passed her prime after a certain age. And so all of these. Mental trauma that can mess with your head as a woman, again, 20 years ago growing up in, in that culture. And for me, sometimes I joke about why, of course there's every, there's no perfect society.
Like I love being in the us but the US has many issues and I love being in Jordan. And the u and Jordan has also many issues. So there's no utopia. But one of the things that I like about. The US or like maybe a country that's more open what Europe or the US is. I always Jo joke about it is like, I can put my AirPods and walk in the street and sing.
Nobody even looks at you, right? Like people are busy with their own lives. I don't think I can do that in Jordan. Women alone, walking, singing. I think I would attract a crowd maybe when I was younger. Now I'm an old lady, nobody looks at me. But you know, like when I was younger, they would do that, right? And it, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that.
But for me, this kind of simple act of freedom as a woman I think makes a big difference.
[00:13:59] Paddy Dhanda: I can, Kind of relate to that world where you are sometimes torn between two countries. So my mother and father came from India originally to the UK back in the, probably late fifties and sixties.
And I was born here in the uk. So when I'm in India, people say, oh, look he's a foreigner. Yeah. But then in the UK most people will address me as, oh, you are Indian, right? And so, yeah, sometimes I'm like, well, I'm British Indian, but you know, yeah I'm gonna make the best of both worlds.
So yeah, it's sometimes nice to kind of pull the cultural side of India into my life as well as have the liberal side of the uk.
[00:14:40] Natasha Tynes: But see, the difference is I was born and raised there, so I spent 20 years there, so,
[00:14:47] Paddy Dhanda: yeah, absolutely. Most of your childhood is from that land.
[00:14:51] Natasha Tynes: I came out of age in Jordan, pretty much.
[00:14:53] Paddy Dhanda: And Natasha, could you put into perspective the sort of pressures that you have to work within? Because I've never worked within the industry.
Before. Okay. In terms of journalism and I, but I know lots of other industries, we all have different types of pressures and for many of our listeners that are sitting at home, if they reflect on the jobs that they do, you know that they'll have these pressures on them as well. As a journalist, what sort of pressures are you under?
[00:15:22] Natasha Tynes: So it depends if you are a full-time journalist with a newspaper or if you're independent. So I'm independent now, so I like, I don't have lots of pressure because if I don't wanna work for this new, this newspaper, I don't work for it. But the pressure comes from after you publish an article. And you get the feedback and you, there are always people who don't like what you see in anything.
And it, it could be a very, like, I remember it was a very, like a topic about soccer and it was like, ah, I wanna force my kids to play soccer because I like something. It was just like, shall I force them or shall I give them the option? And it was published in the Washington Post, in the parenting section, and it was about my experience with maybe I should like push them and should I force them.
I got so many emails about who do you think you are? You're forcing your kids, you're a bad mom. You like there's always anything you say, somebody gets offended in anything. And I, and it depends if of how you look at it. You can, it can either crush you or you can either move on.
So after years and like early in my career, I remember once. I know this is probably, I know in retrospect in a mis it was a mistake, what I wrote, I was saying, yeah. And this artist is something like running his show for the affordable price of la. And then I. Yeah, the company called like, how dare you say this is affordable?
Who are you to say this is affordable or not affordable? And like they, they felt I tarnished their reputation by alluding to the fact that their tickets were expensive and that the, and using the word affordable and takes away the objectivity of the journalist. Which is, I think they had a point in retrospect.
But They called the editor of the newspaper, the, I think it was like an art studio, and they complained about me to the editor and editor had talked to me. It's only about this one word. So this is what some of the struggles. Is that any, anything you say about any like very, like, it's not politics, it's not like, social, just issues like social justice or any of that, that it's like, Simple topics about a play or soccer and people will get offended somehow, and you have to deal with it.
You have to learn how to have a thick skin. And so my rule is I allow myself to get upset for like two hours. I said, okay, get it out of your system. You have two hours, get upset. And then, okay, let's move on. Let's control our thoughts and I move on. But this is how I. So that, that's, I think my main struggle is the feedback from others.
[00:18:14] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah. Whenever I post on social media, I'm always conscious of the reaction I might get and yeah I generally have had positive sort of comments. I can't really remember any one post that's created any bad feeling. But there's always, the odd one here or there and, yeah.
Yeah. That. That is terrifying because you feel like there are certain things you then don't want to debate out in the open on social media because Yeah. You'd much rather have a conversation, but then Correct. Yeah. If somebody has made a point, then you've gotta respond.
That's my, always my fear about publishing stuff and putting it out there.
During your time as a journalist like how many articles have you ever written? Have you ever counted?
[00:19:00] Natasha Tynes: No. You can count them for me if you want to.
[00:19:05] Paddy Dhanda: I need some AI help on that one. But is it in the hundreds, thousands, do you think? Or?
[00:19:11] Natasha Tynes: I've been writing since I've been 19.
I'm 47, so that's it. 20 articles a year or more.
[00:19:19] Paddy Dhanda: Oh wow. So a lot of articles. And out of all of those articles, is there one or two that are really memorable in that they stand out the most for you? And if so, for what reason do they stick in your mind?
[00:19:36] Natasha Tynes: It would be the one that I wrote the first day of the second Iraq War. 'cause I was stationed on the borders between Jordan and Iraq. My story, my assignment was to write about the people who fled, or the refugees who fled the war and came back and came to Jordan escaping the war.
So we would wait by the border for a bus of refugees. And for me, I felt bad because the minute the bus stopped, all the journalists like attacked the bus, went inside like these poor people. The journalists were all over them trying to get a quote or a story of what happened to them just so that they can have a good story, I guess.
And it was the very first day of the war, so there was a lot of interest in getting the human side of the story. But you know, I tried to be, very understanding and get stories about, so I remember I talked with Sudanese refugees who left Iraq. They were based in Iraq, and they came to Jordan and they were carrying their kids and you know how the war affected them.
And it was And at the same time, we were very scared because there were bombs, right across the border falling. And I remember I was like really high on adrenaline that I, and maybe that's a bit dangerous because I was so focused on the story that. The fear disappeared and I ran on the adrenaline more than the fear of maybe what if a bomb falls across, the other side.
So, but anyway, we were okay. And it was the main it was the main story on the very first day of the Iraq war in Jordan, in the Jordan Times. So, I thought I did. I did a good job. And I remember back then we were like in the middle of nowhere, the desert, and we had to go to like a government office, and I wrote the story by hand and I faxed it to the editor.
That was the only way, I mean, So there was like, I couldn't type it on my phone. There was no iPhones. There was like, there was a cell phone, but it's not like there was wifi or anything like that. So I wrote it by hand and I sent it as a fax and it made it to the front page of the store.
[00:22:06] Paddy Dhanda: Wow. I mean, in a world where we are constantly using apps and gadgets and technology for everything to.
To then be able to just use old fashioned pen and paper?
[00:22:19] Natasha Tynes: Yeah. I mean, I didn't have a choice. I wrote it by hand and I faxed it.
[00:22:22] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah. Wow. And the fact that you faxed it as well, which is again another sort of technology that. Nowadays is rare that people talk about. Yeah.
[00:22:31] Natasha Tynes: Yeah. That's really interesting.
I'm that old. No,
[00:22:36] Paddy Dhanda: I was talking today on LinkedIn. Somebody put on a post and they said, you know what's your preference? Do you prefer to read books digitally or on paper? And I was like, paper all the way for me. I've gotta have it in paper. I just love that. Smell of the paper. The, yeah, the flicking of the pages.
Yeah. Sticking post-it notes on the pages too that I want go back to
[00:22:55] Natasha Tynes: highlighting, like,
[00:22:56] Paddy Dhanda: yeah. So yeah it's paper all the way so that I'm just as old fashioned, don't worry. We're in the, and Natasha, so if somebody out there is looking to ramp up their writing skills and I'm gonna put myself in that group because. I've recently started my newsletter. I'd love to get some advice from you in terms of how to. Get better at writing. Okay. And look to get some tips from you on that. So, could you share some of your wisdom of course, on this topic?
[00:23:25] Natasha Tynes: Well, if you wanna call it that, but Yeah, sure. So first thing is read. I mean, that's the number one rule. If you know you, you'll never be a good writer if you do not read in any topic. So if you wanna write fiction, Read fiction. If you wanna write nonfiction, if you wanna even like newsletters, just like imitate, then innovate.
Look at what others are doing, look at their styles, and then come up with your own style. As well do not try to sound over smart or over complicated. Try to be straight to the point. Read out loud and then get rid of. What I call them empty calories. And these empty calories include words like very, really just that.
And now with ai, some AI tools can help you identify them and just get rid of them. But just keep that in mind that these empty calories, they don't add much to the copy. And if you're talking about newsletters Your number one K p i is of course the open rate, right? So like you wanna have an open rate, 40% or more.
And from my experience, what makes sometimes what makes or breaks an open rate is just the title of your email. And I experimented with that so many times and I realized the one that works is a short. Informative but witty title that would grab the attention. And it should sound human, not robotic.
Like, do not put a title with, like, buy my course or two days left until my course ends, and do not be too salesy in the newsletter. Let's say my newsletter is about writing. Okay. And I wanna talk about as a writer, we tend to procrastinate. So I'll have a title like I finally slayed the procrastination monsters or something like this, right?
Instead of like, tips on how to beat procrastination or take my course on how you beat procrastination. People are not gonna open this, but use words that evoke emotions. Monster slaying, for example, or. People are also like words that has like ne negative connotation. Some people would say, I failed, and people are gonna click, hi, you failed.
Let me see. But if you have the same newsletter and the headline is, I'm blessed. People are not like I'm, they're tired of like, I'm blessed post. They wanna see how you fit. So like if, so people want. Sometimes to see negative emotions because they can relate to them. I'm not saying always to be like this, down or whatever, but.
Try to evoke emotions in the title in a very short, humane, not AI sounding, like let them realize that this was written by a human as well. And that's as well. Now in this age and time, distinguish yourself from AI as well by, by evoking these unique emotions that AI will never be able to do that because they don't feel their machines.
[00:26:29] Paddy Dhanda: That's given me an idea what might be a good. Provocative title for this episode. Do you think? Could you gimme some examples
[00:26:37] Natasha Tynes: For this one something like the journey of a writer. The Middle East to suburbia or something like this.
Something like this.
[00:26:49] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, I like that. That's quite adventurous. It sounds like an adventure.
[00:26:51] Natasha Tynes: Yeah.
[00:26:52] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah. I would be going on an adventure there, and I like that bit at the end. So we are actually giving some contrast
[00:27:00] Natasha Tynes: from here to here and I think that's like from more zones to suburbia or, Right.
There we go. The sleeper cell. The sleeper cell in suburbia. I'm just joking.
[00:27:11] Paddy Dhanda: Oh. But I get the idea that's like, so, so make it intriguing, but like you say, make it human. And the other piece you said there around creates some emotion or emotional connection Correct. With the audience. Yeah. I mean, the other big problem I have is, I'm a bit of a perfectionist and okay, I was trying to launch a blog a few years ago, and every time I went to publish, even my first blog article, I would stop and go, oh, it's not good enough.
I've gotta tweak it. It, I've gotta tweak it. And in the end, I just, I had all these articles, but I never published them. And they were always like, oh, they're just not good enough. Even now when I write the newsletter, I'm like, should I publish it, shouldn't I? Or what? Is there more I could add here?
What's your advice there? If somebody is Yeah. Overthinking things. 'cause I know I am overthinking,
[00:28:03] Natasha Tynes: so I always remind myself that like perfect is the enemy of the good. So you are your actually your own enemy, but trying to be perfect. Sometimes you have to ship your products even if they're not perfect and follow the.
The thinking of startups where they, it's called M V P, minimum viable product, right? So sometimes if, and then you can edit it later on, it's fine. But at least the minute you hit publish, you are done with that, and you can go back to it. But if you keep, like, like if you keep being like, like battling all these invisible enemies of perfection, you're never gonna get there.
So, slay that. Slay the dragon. Publish and remember, perfect is the enemy of the good, and you can always fix it later and just go with the attitude of M V P. Minimal viable product. I'm just gonna ship it. It's good enough. I will perfect it later, but that's the only way you can do it.
Otherwise, what is the other option? Just sitting on it and not publishing it is, are you gonna be okay with, and what is better to not publish or to publish something that might need tweaking later? Like it's mind hacks. It's mind games.
[00:29:21] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah, I get that. Absolutely. And In the past done talks on better storytelling for presentations.
And there are lots of different story arcs. And I know you do quite a bit of work in this space as well Yeah. In terms of storytelling, but for articles, blog articles, is there a structure that you would recommend we follow there? Are there any kind of acronyms that we could use or, any simple structures that you would suggest?
[00:29:49] Natasha Tynes: So the structure that I like to use that I think works well is start with a personal story and which is kind of the hook that will hook you. And then when you end, and then you make the point, and then at the end go back to it. So for example, remember the story I told you about they didn't give me the right shift 'cause I'm a woman.
I can start with that. And then I make my point. Let's say law changed, unload changed, and everything is good. Then we all come by, whatever. And then at the end, I would say I would end like, and maybe the 20 year the 20 year old version of myself would have never thought that this actually, I would have been possible.
I would go back to the same man and I told him, see, I told you so, or something like this, right? So, I'll take, I take the reader into a journey, starting with the personal story and then making my point, the conclusion, the the statements. And then I go back and I close it, the same circle with the same story of the man who told me, no, you cannot work.
So this way the reader is engulfed into this word that you created. I know it's only a blog, but you take them into the journey and just close the journey at the end.
[00:31:08] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, now I'm gonna send you one of my newsletters and Sure. I'd love your feedback because Of course. Yeah. Because I've tried to weave personal stories into it, but I bet there's so much more I could do and so much improvement I could make.
So I don't
[00:31:22] Natasha Tynes: just remember like Ted talks that you listen to or anything. You probably don't remember anything. The only thing you remember is a small story that they mentioned, like, My mom once told me, and that would stick with you and you forget all the tips or whatever. You just remember the story.
And that is the power of stories. We, people connect to them because we are hu we've always told stories around the fire, around what you know. That is, that's what we are as humans. We tell stories. So that's the only thing people are gonna remember. They're gonna forget everything else. Just gonna remember the story
[00:31:57] Paddy Dhanda: and talking of human skills.
We're living in a world of ai. I mean, even when we joined this Zoom call, I said to you, Natasha, who's this third person that's joined? And you said, oh, that's just my AI patty that, yeah. I normally get him to sit in on my meetings. And I was like, whoa. So in a world of AI and the way things are going at the moment, if somebody out there is thinking of becoming a writer or even enhancing their writing, should they bother?
Because surely AI is gonna do a lot of this for us and it's become a lot easier that I can put in a few sentences and just get AI to now create the whole article for me. What's your opinion on that?
[00:32:39] Natasha Tynes: So you can either be scared of AI or you can be excited about ai. Right? For me, I'm the team that is excited about AI because I make AI work for me, AI is literally my assistant.
So AI can help me come up with, let's say, one, a blog post, right? And they can just give you the first draft. And you can never use the first draft because it's very robotic, right? But at least having the first draft. Would cut the fear of the first draft, because sometimes looking at an empty canvas is very daunting, right?
But if you already have a first draft, I immediately you, your mind like beats procrastination and you get to it. So this is what my AI helps me, is gives me it helps me get rid of the fear of the empty canvas, right? So instead of writing, let's say five one blog a day, I can write five blocks a day.
And again, you can never depend on them. To have a whole blog post because it's very robotic. So they can give you some ideas. They can give you, like, he's like he or she or your assistant. Ah, like, don't forget to talk about this side of the argument. Ah, okay. That's a good reminder. And you build around it.
So for me, AI saves me a lot of time productivity. I have my own virtual assistant does the research. Of course I have to follow after them because you can't always trust your virtual assistant. You have sometimes to. Do some follow up and double check. But yeah, I mean, for me it's great and you can never replace a human writer again because humans feel AI do not feel, no matter how text you give them to understand feelings.
They can never understand feelings as a human, they can never describe feelings. As a human, you have to be a human to feel and to express that in your writing. So AI can never compete.
[00:34:30] Paddy Dhanda: And could you recommend any tools that you use just in case if somebody is thinking about utilizing this additional power?
Because I, at the moment just use chat G p t just in its basic form, but I'm sure there's loads of other really good ones. Yeah, it could be using.
[00:34:46] Natasha Tynes: So there's different AI for different things. So for example order that you saw, join the meeting. It's a subscription tool. So sometimes when I interview people for the memoirs, for the people that I go write their memoirs, I use order records, the in the interview for me, and then transcribe the whole text and then divide the text into chapters.
So I have my assistant, they came, they listened to it, they highlighted what's important, and they gave me the first draft. I mean, imagine how much time that in the past you would either transcribe the whole thing, manually, or hire someone to do it. Imagine the hours. That assist. And not only that, but they went through the script and they said, oh, okay.
And they divided the script into chapters and sub chapters. And then you look and you see, ah, okay, I wanna expand on this, I wanna expand on that. So that's one tool, for example. So chat, G P T, you can use it as for, Writing everything from a proposal to a blog post. Or another thing I use is Bard, which is the Google version of Charge G, pt.
And sometimes I put charge g p t on Bard and compare the results. I also use, of course, Grammarly. I have the Grammarly Pro for, to get rid to, to fix your language. Typo sentence structures. There's another tool called Hemingway, where you put your draft and would give you a rating of your draft and try to make it read depending on the grade level that you wanna present it to people.
I also use video editing ai, like, video ai, and that's for me, for my own podcast. It goes through the script and then it picks clips for me. I don't even have to listen to it again. Cuts it for and gives me the templates. All I have to do is to approve it and tweak it. Done. I used to hire a video editor for that.
You can say maybe AI got rid of the the job of the video editor, but no, now it frees some money for me to hire maybe different people, but I'm still hiring. Right. But, AI freed some money to do other stuff. So I use AI to do clips for my podcast, and it's two minutes. I'm done. I have like 10 clips.
Fascinating. And it's very smart. They pick good quotes from the interview. Like they don't pick random stuff.
[00:37:13] Paddy Dhanda: I did actually come across one but I haven't. Managed to use it yet, but somebody reached out and said, Hey, try our tool.
It does this type of thing. Yeah. Very similar to what you said there, but I was like, oh, I dunno. Might be hit or miss, but I might give it a go. So, Natasha, we're running fast out of time. If people would like to get to know more about the work that you do, and they would like to continue their learning journey could you suggest some resources that they could have a look at?
[00:37:39] Natasha Tynes: For me as a writer, Twitter is I know not twi. Twitter is like becoming very controversial and Twitter x whatever. But I still go there. I I have a very good community and so build Finding your people is amazing because you learn from them, you help each other out.
You share resources, all of that. I also go to LinkedIn as well. The same community of writers. I go to LinkedIn and interact with them. If you wanna, like, maybe take a writing course very good one is Rite of Passage by David Perel. He has an I took it as well. It's an amazing immersive, six week immersive experience.
Another resources. There's lots of books on writing like Stephen King on writing. That's, kind of the bible of writing. That's the important book to check out. And then just follow other ri writers like Jane Friedman. She has a very popular newsletter. All about writing and publishing as well.
If you wanna publish books and self-publishing versus finding an agent, we can go down the rabbit hole of that one, but, Jane Friedman and newsletter is a good one. Yeah, I mean, for me it just find your community online and start by writers you admire and follow who you follow and then interact with them and build your own community.
[00:39:01] Paddy Dhanda: Fantastic. And Natasha, how can we get in touch with you and check out your work that you do?
[00:39:05] Natasha Tynes: Sure, yeah. I'm I'm online everywhere and natasha times.com is my website. You can find me on Twitter and Natasha times Instagram, natasha dot times TikTok, all of these places. I have a novel if you're interested in Murder mystery.
It's set between Jordan and the us. It's called, they called Me Wyatt. And yeah, so please feel free to, and you can email me as well. Feel free to reach out anytime. I usually respond quickly and yeah. Would thank you for having me and allowing me to share my thoughts on this platform.
[00:39:40] Paddy Dhanda: Oh no, you're welcome Natasha. And you definitely do respond quick 'cause that's how we got in touch and yeah, you responded to my email. So, I really appreciate that as well and it's been a pleasure. I know you've had a niggly cough and thank you for battling through this episode, even though you weren't a hundred percent feeling right.
But I really appreciate your time today.
Thank you so much.