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1279 interviews since 2009

A picture of Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Jude Ellison S. Doyle


in mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jude Doyle ("Jude Ellison S. Doyle" if you publish me, because Google Reader tells me there are a thousand 65-year-old Irish traffic cops named "Jude Doyle" in the world) and I have, at present, two roughly parallel careers.

I started as a non-fiction writer. In that capacity, I'm a trans feminist who does reporting, opinion and culture writing, currently for XTra Magazine -- Canada's biggest LGBTQ+ magazine -- and for my newsletter, I've written two non-fiction books, "Trainwreck" and "Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers," and I have a third on the way.

I also write comic books, and that's my favorite thing that I do. "The Neighbors," which is my second limited series with Boom! Studios, came out in collected edition at the beginning of this year, and it just got nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. "Maw," which is my first series, just got translated into Italian through Edizioni Tlon.

What hardware do you use?

My great fortune is that I don't need anything but a laptop and an iPhone to do my job. The laptop is a MacBook Air, the smallest and cheapest one with the fewest frills. It's gold, because I got creative. The iPhone is several generations out of date, because I'm too cheap to replace it. It works, though.

And what software?

Here's where I have opinions for you. First: I don't know how anyone has ever written a book without Scrivener. It auto-saves; it gives you different pages and folders within the same document, so that you can keep drafts and outlines and research and notes all in the same place; it has templates for different types of writing. (Shamefully, all of my comic book scripts have been written using the "Comic Book Script" template.)

Second: Everything about my reporting got better when I started using Trint. It's a voice-to-text transcription service that costs $60 a month. You have to go in and correct its mishearings yourself, but it's very easy to do so. Before I had Trint, I would try to record interviews on GarageBand or Voice Memos, and transcribe the best quotes by hand, or (worse) take notes while the other person was talking. The conversation couldn't follow any kind of normal flow, because I was always asking the other person to slow down, and I was more focused on taking notes than on what they were saying. I also couldn't adequately review it afterward -- any good conversation is going to be too long for you to go through it with a fine-tooth comb when you're on deadline.

Anyway: With Trint, I just pull up GarageBand or Zoom, record the conversation, and upload it. I've been able to do longer profiles, report on more sensitive stuff (you don't want to make someone rehash a trauma while you're pausing them every five seconds to take more notes) and write reported pieces that capture the ways people actually talk, which I think just makes for a better reading experience.

Finally: I don't know if newsletter platforms count as software, but I have strong opinions on those, too. Do not do business with Substack if you can possibly help it -- it's the cheapest option, and it can grow your audience relatively quickly, so I understand why people start out there, but the management are the shadiest creeps I've ever had to deal with in a work setting, and they're increasingly outing themselves as Nazi sympathizers. My newsletter is currently on Ghost, because it's got a lot of bells and whistles, and because it's a non-profit, which makes me think it'll be more stable in the long run. Ghost is also really expensive, though, and Beehiiv has most of the same extras for about half the cost, which makes me think I'll probably move there some time in the next year unless I get a big spike in paying subscriptions.

What would be your dream setup?

I want the computer to spit out fresh-baked donuts and tell me I'm a good boy every time I meet a deadline, but the science is not there yet. What I have is probably fine.