The Fail Safe podcast explores how today’s most successful writers grapple with and learn from creative failure. From the blank page to the broken sentence, we examine the many challenges and pitfalls of the literary life and discover how authors transform false starts, dead ends, and assorted blunders into works of literary genius. Produced collaboratively by draft: the journal of process and The Iowa Writers’ House, The Fail Safe provides encouragement for anyone who’s ever wanted to write and pulls back the curtain on the creative process for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the writer-at-work.


Episode 2: Chris Boucher is a Failure

Episode 1: Garth Greenwell

Earlier this year, draft journal editor Mark Polanzak sat down with novelist Chris Boucher on a snowy New England day in his office at Boston College. Their talk focuses on Boucher's first novel, How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (Melville House), and the 10 years he spent writing...and failing...on a daily basis.

For our inaugural podcast, heralded author Garth Greenwell opens up on how setbacks have shaped his success and the ways in which he’s come to terms with and transformed failure.

Future Episodes

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BEHIND THE SCENES of our first episode

Fail Safe Launch Party and Live Taping | April 28, 2016 | Clinton Street Social Club, Iowa City
photography by Seth Missiaen


rachel yoder

Rachel Yoder, host and co-creator of The Fail Safe, might these days be a writer and editor based in Iowa City, but in former lives she’s also been a burlesque dancer, river runner, and professional schmoozer. Rachel’s writing about everything from Mennonites to unicorns has appeared widely in both print and online publications including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Paris Review Daily, and The Sun Magazine. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Arizona, and, if you ask, she will show you her selfie with Lena Dunham.