Despite only living 14 miles from work, my commute often lasts 45 minutes to an hour, and that’s just one way. I used to fill this time with music, and while I still find that singing my face off is a great way to get me pumped up for the day, I’ve started to use this time to listen to podcasts and educate myself on the business and craft of writing.
What is a podcast? It’s basically a digital radio show where people talk about their interests. They can be educational, entertaining, interesting, or just downright strange. And while podcasts are often just audio, some feature a video component as well. To listen to podcasts, just look for a podcast app on your phone, or search Youtube.
Because of how long I’m in the car, I have a variety of go-to podcasts, depending on my mood. So, here’s my list of my Top 7 Podcasts (of the moment), five on writing, and two that I just find interesting.
Top 5 Writing Podcasts
1. Writing Excuses: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.”
This is one of my favorite podcasts, one I’ll almost always listen to first when there is a new episode. Currently, new shows drop on Sunday, which makes my Monday commute a happy one.
This podcast is about the craft and mechanics of writing, with the occasional marketing episode thrown in, as discussed by four full-time professional authors, with occasional guests. They strive to only discuss something for fifteen-ish minutes, and they get surprisingly in-depth with their discussions, despite the short time frame.
Every season they try to do something different, so it’s worth it to go back and listen to past seasons. One season they did a novel boot camp, where if you followed along you would have a novel by the time you were done. Another season featured discussing different “elemental genres,” such as wonder, horror, thriller, mystery, ensemble, adventure, etc. And every episode they give you homework, something to practice that will help your writing.
If you’re a writer ready to up your game and get serious about your craft, I highly recommend listening to this podcast.
2. Start Writing: “Start writing is a craft focused podcast dealing with the art of telling stories, we look at the structure of plots, scene, word choice and all the details that go into writing great fiction.”
This is my new favorite podcast. The episode about action beats and dialogue beats blew my mind so hard that I had to listen to it in two sittings to take it all in. They often talk about the craft of writing, though they are starting to sprinkle in episodes about marketing. I have only listened to a few episodes, and I have yet to listen to any of the interview episodes, but what I have listened to has been pure gold.
Part of what I like about them is that they have a fresh approach to writing and marketing. They often focus on the why of what you’re doing and are advocates for the end reader experience.
If you’re interested in the craft of writing and want to get better at self-editing, try giving this podcast a listen.
3. Sci-Fi & Fantasy Marketing Podcast: All about marketing science fiction and fantasy, with a focus on indie authors/publishers.
Hosted by three full-time indie authors, this podcast focuses almost exclusively on marketing, though I would argue that many of their tips could span genres outside of sci-fi and fantasy. Sometimes there are guest interviews, sometimes there’s not, but it’s always an entertaining and educational listen.
4. The Self Publishing Podcast: A podcast discussing the ins and outs of self-publishing.
This is another podcast that I have just started listening to, but that I like a lot already. It’s three friends talking about self-publishing, marketing, and the writing market. They are interesting and make an hour go by quickly.
5. Writers on Writing: This is an interview style podcast from UC Irvine, where the host’s interview writers, poets, and literary agents.
While I don’t listen to this one as often anymore, everytime I do, I find it interesting to hear excerpts of stories I wouldn’t otherwise hear of. One of the things I really enjoy about this show is listening to the language the writers use as they talk about their manuscripts.
Other Cool Listens
When I don’t want to listen to people talk about writing, you can often catch me listening to these shows.
6. Beautiful Anonymous: Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, or Beautiful Anonymous, is hosted by comedian Chris Gethard, and is an interview style podcast where people call in anonymously to talk about whatever they want.
What’s fascinating about this show is the depth and variety of topics people will talk about when they truly are anonymous. I also enjoy Gethard’s style of interview. The one con about this podcast is that there are a lot of sponsors, and I often find myself fast-forwarding through the first few minutes of the show.
You can also find Beautiful Anonymous on Youtube, though it’s just the audio with a still picture.
7. Note to Self: The show about the human side of technology.
This podcast explores the world of technology, and how it impacts us as humans. There are a lot of interesting stories in this podcast, such as the time Google thought a woman was a gorilla, and what implications that has, or what dating is like in the digital age, and how it’s changed because of our technology.
Aside from the interesting tech stories, one of the things I really enjoy about this podcast is the host, Manoush Zomorodi. She’s cute, quirky, and inquisitive, and her voice is different than most (in a good way) which makes her interesting to listen to.
Well, there you have it. That’s my Top 7 list of awesome podcasts you should listen to, especially the writing ones if you are a writer. I hope you find something in here that interests you, or at the very least, that inspires you to go find your own favorite podcasts on whatever topics you happen to enjoy.