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image of Grace Atwood & Becca Freeman

Podcast Co-hosts

@BadonPaperPodcast

Real-life best friends and Bad on Paper podcast co-hosts, Becca Freeman and Grace Atwood are keeping their community going with weekly book recommendations, witty banter, and thoughtful interviews.

q & a

How did Bad on Paper get started?

Grace: Becca and I met at an old job and became very fast friends. I have a blog, so my whole career is on the internet. Two or three years ago, a bunch of friends told me I needed to start a podcast next. I kept thinking about it, so I started listening to other podcasts with women. I thought it could be a really fun thing to do––I also immediately thought about Becca. She’s always been a very good friend of mine and we both love to read so much, especially Young Adult! We also have very different skill sets, which means we work very well together. Our first book club pick was called The Selection, and we realized there is a market for women who aren’t teens but who love these types of books.

Becca: Grace asked me to start the podcast at the time I was getting ready to leave a job, and I didn’t know what was next. I had no intention of it becoming a business––in my mind it was just a fun creative outlet. On a personal level, I’ve been a part of so many book clubs, all of them met once or twice and then ended. I’ve never had a real place to go once a month and talk about something I’ve read. We made that community online with our podcast and our Facebook group. All of these people are so excited to talk about the books we’re reading.

How do you determine who to interview? Which books to read? Which topics to discuss on each episode?

B: We try to hit different genres. If we read a thriller, we make sure the book is lighter the next month. We’ve realized that some books are great to read but are terrible discussion books. And then there are books that our audience might not like it as much––they may be more polarizing––but they make for a great discussion.

G: In terms of interviews and discussion topics, we tend to pivot our content based on our own lives and what’s going on in the world. In a pre-Covid time, guests would come over to my apartment where we record. People are more likely to let their guard down and have a better conversation when you invite them into your home versus a studio.

Home Remedies

One thing you did today for self-care?

Becca: Last night I went to bed at 9:30 and slept for 10 hours. It was glorious.

Grace: Took a bath.

Favorite song to dance to right now?

Becca: The Beyonce remix of "Savage".

Grace: "Blinding Light" by The Weeknd.

Comfort meal?

Becca: Spaghetti carbonara

Grace: English muffin with Franks Hot Sauce and cheddar cheese and toasted. Very specific, but it’s delightful.

First person you’ll hug after this is over?

Becca: Grace.

Grace: Becca.

Workout that makes you feel the strongest?

Becca: SoulCycle – I miss it so much. Expensive for exercise but cheap for therapy. I feel like a different human walking out of there.

Grace: Melissa Wood – good for your core, your arms, your whole body. I stream her workouts to my TV.

Have you learned something new during this time?

Becca: I’m knitting a baby blanket for my best friend who’s pregnant, and I’ve learned how to do colorwork knitting.

Grace: Tinting my eyebrows and baking bread.

Favorite cozy outfit right now?

Becca: The full sweat suit. Old Navy joggers that I call my “pandemic pants.” I bought four pairs.

Grace: A good pair of joggers and a band t-shirt.

q & a

How did Bad on Paper get started?

Grace: Becca and I met at an old job and became very fast friends. I have a blog, so my whole career is on the internet. Two or three years ago, a bunch of friends told me I needed to start a podcast next. I kept thinking about it, so I started listening to other podcasts with women. I thought it could be a really fun thing to do––I also immediately thought about Becca. She’s always been a very good friend of mine and we both love to read so much, especially Young Adult! We also have very different skill sets, which means we work very well together. Our first book club pick was called The Selection, and we realized there is a market for women who aren’t teens but who love these types of books.

Becca: Grace asked me to start the podcast at the time I was getting ready to leave a job, and I didn’t know what was next. I had no intention of it becoming a business––in my mind it was just a fun creative outlet. On a personal level, I’ve been a part of so many book clubs, all of them met once or twice and then ended. I’ve never had a real place to go once a month and talk about something I’ve read. We made that community online with our podcast and our Facebook group. All of these people are so excited to talk about the books we’re reading.

How do you determine who to interview? Which books to read? Which topics to discuss on each episode?

B: We try to hit different genres. If we read a thriller, we make sure the book is lighter the next month. We’ve realized that some books are great to read but are terrible discussion books. And then there are books that our audience might not like it as much––they may be more polarizing––but they make for a great discussion.

G: In terms of interviews and discussion topics, we tend to pivot our content based on our own lives and what’s going on in the world. In a pre-Covid time, guests would come over to my apartment where we record. People are more likely to let their guard down and have a better conversation when you invite them into your home versus a studio.

How has your definition of community changed over the past few months?

B: In general, so much more of my community has gone online. Zoom happy hours are the new norm, and I feel like I’m calling people much more frequently. That’s something we were already accustomed to by having this online community, but I hope that we’re providing some solace to people who maybe weren’t operating this way. A common sentiment from listeners since we started our podcast is, “It feels like sitting down and having wine with my two best friends.” That’s how our community feels, and right now, we’re in this collective grief, and our podcast can bring some sense of normalcy to sit down and listen to familiar people talk about topics they’re interested in.

What are your wishes for yourself and your community coming out of this moment?

B: People are rediscovering reading, and it’s become such a great escape. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I really hope the people who’ve discovered it again stick with it.

What motivates you both to stay connected?

B: On a personal level, I have this business and another podcast that I’m starting with another friend. The accountability with another person is so crucial for me. Not wanting to disappoint Grace or our community really makes me want to show up week after week. It’s also such a fun touchpoint. It’s the two of us talking about how our weeks have been and what’s going on in our lives.

“I want to grow our book club and bring new, underrepresented authors to our listeners.”

image of Grace Atwood & Becca Freeman

What makes you feel the most connected to yourself right now?

G: There’s so much quiet time which, as an introvert, I definitely appreciate. I’ve been able to spend more time writing, and I have little rituals that help break up my day, like taking a bath every single night.

image of Grace Atwood & Becca Freeman

How have you had to adjust your podcast to accommodate the current climate?

B: We record fully remotely now. I think our planning process has gotten more in the moment. We would have episodes planned out months ahead of time, but now that things are changing so quickly, we’re planning week to week to make sure what we’re talking about reflects what we’re feeling.

G: It’s nice to embrace a looser calendar. I thought everything needed to be perfectly planned, but I’ve realized that it’s not hurting our business by being flexible.

What would you say to women who might be struggling to cope or feeling less inspired?

G: Let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling. It’s important not to compartmentalize your emotions. I know we’re in a different position than a lot of people because we work for ourselves. But if I’m sad, I let myself feel a little sad and then I work at night or on the weekend. People have to realize this isn’t just working from home. It’s working from home during a pandemic. Be gentle with yourself.

What have you learned about yourself during this time?

B: Better coping skills. I’ve learned how to deal with myself when I’m having a bad day more so than I’ve had to previously. I’ve become a much more proficient cook. I moved to Brooklyn last May, and I’ve been going on daily walks which has been so important to my mental health. I’ve explored every nook and cranny of my neighborhood.

G: I’ve learned that yes, I’m an introvert, but I definitely still need people. I really miss social interaction.

What do you think will be our greatest lesson, as a society, in this?

B: Supporting small businesses. I’ve become more thoughtful with my dollars, seeking out small businesses as alternatives when I can. I hope people become more conscious about where they’re shopping.

What’s the best book you’ve read during quarantine?

B: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. This is her newest book about a plus-sized fashion influencer. Ideal beach read.

G: The Last Flight by Judy Clark. It’s a thriller, but it has a little bit of everything.

Who is your favorite person you’ve had the chance to interview?

B: Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff – we’ve had her on three times. She’s so incredibly accomplished, has so much life perspective, and is just the coolest person. And Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of Ellevest. Hearing her speak about her career, women, money, and investing was so interesting because these are topics I’m really passionate about.

G: Cindy Crawford – she was so gracious and just felt like a friend.

What do you see for the future of Bad on Paper?

B: I want to grow our book club to have the same taste-making ability of a Reese’s Book Club and bring new, underrepresented authors to our listeners. We want to introduce people to new books. Also, I just hope to continue to grow our community. Our Facebook group is my favorite place to go––it’s 5,200 women who are talking about books every minute of every day.

G: I want to walk into my favorite local bookstore and see Bad on Paper’s book picks.

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@BadonPaperPodcast

image of Grace Atwood & Becca Freeman