5 Writing Podcasts That Every Aspiring Author Should Listen To
Podcasts can be a great source of inspiration and knowledge for writers, but with thousands floating around out there it can be hard to figure out which ones are worth listening to and which ones are a waste of time. In an endeavour to help you overcome this struggle I’ve listed below the five writing podcasts that have been the greatest help to me over the years and explained a little about what each one entails. But be warned, because you might decide to listen to an episode of one of these bad boys and then look up ten hours later and realise that you haven’t moved in ten hours.
Do you listen to writing podcasts?
5. The Writer Files
The Writer Files is an ingenious podcast dedicated to educating listeners about well renowned authors. This includes their habits, their journey towards publishing and their thoughts on the writing industry today. Created by businessman, editor and writer Kelton Reid The Writer Files provides a fantastic opportunity to learn from and be inspired by a diverse mix of writers. It’s incredibly heartening to learn that successful authors are people just like you, and that they struggle with procrastination and feelings of inadequacy too. Providing that they’re not dead (R.I.P Hemmingway) it’s possible that your very favourite author was once interviewed on this podcast!
4. Ditch Diggers
Ditch Diggers is the most brutally honest podcast on this list. Hosted by industry professionals Mur Lafferty (remember this name for later) and Matt Wallace, this podcast focuses more on the business side of being a writer which, while somewhat boring compared to the creating-new-worlds bit, is important for any aspiring author who’s serious about getting published. Lafferty and Wallace adopt a frank and forthright tone as they help their listeners navigate the writing industry, from getting an agent to dealing with bad reviews. Each episode is packed full of practical advice and handy hints and luckily for you there’s over fifty of them. The podcast also has a pretty awesome and intense theme song; what’s not to like? "Ditch Diggers here, ain’t no wannabes here, with some not so nice for your writing career!" What’s not to like?
3. Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips is a little different from your usual writing podcast. Instead of focusing on plotting, character development or magic systems, each easily digestible episode of this podcast focuses on a specific area of grammar or the English language in general and aims to help you improve on it. While all writers like to think that they’re immune to spelling mistakes and common errors this podcast really is great for helping you to uncover your problem areas. Hosted by 'Grammar Girl' Mignon Fogarty (which is an awesome name, by the way), each episode is about fifteen minutes long. Mignon also posts written guides in between podcasts which further focus on helping you improve your English The next time you want a break of writing give this podcast a listen. There’s nothing worse than a book riddled with grammatical errors (except perhaps Fifty Shades of Grey, but we won’t go there).
2. I Should Be Writing
Hosted by Mur Lafferty (told you she would come up again), sci-fi/fantasy author and possessor of one of the most calming voices I’ve ever come across, I Should be Writing is a fun little podcast that covers everything writing, from style and tone to, as the name suggests, tackling procrastination. The podcast starts with a catchy theme tune that’s almost painfully relatable ("I should be submitting my next draft, but I’m sitting at home watching Doctor Who") and has featured many notable guests, such as Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis. There are over 300 episodes to sift through, which average around 15 minutes but can stretch as long as an hour when a particularly tricky topic is handled. A book version of the podcast that’s also titled I Should Be Writing was released in 2017. Overall, I Should be Writing is a great, entertaining and oftentimes uplifting podcast to treat your ears to after a writing session.
1. Writing Excuses
Writing Excuses is the holy grail of writing podcasts. Currently featuring authors Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal and web-cartoonist extraordinaire Howard Tayler this podcast, which has run for an impressive 13 seasons, teaches you all there is to know about writing in a fun but in-depth way. At the end of each podcast the listener is given 'homework,' generally in the form of a creative exercise, to complete before the next episode rolls out. In this way it’s almost like taking a course on creative writing for free! Another high point of Writing Excuses is the diversity of opinions take are expressed during conversations. Each of the featured authors predominantly writes for different genres (Sanderson for epic fantasy, Wells for horror and YA and Robinette Kowal for historical romance) and with Tayler’s experience writing for a different medium every single discussion is meaningful, interesting and deep. The hosts are also incredibly funny, so I’d advise against listening to this podcast in a public space (I did once, and it turns out that laughing to yourself on a park bench will attract a lot of stares). Furthermore, there are guests that appear on most episodes that are able to contribute further to the discussion and add their own unique opinions. Writing Excuses has covered topics from world building to marketing and really is one of the greatest learning tools for writers out there.
The tagline of Writing Excuses is "Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart!" However, the episodes usually run about five minutes overtime because the authors featured on it are, in fact, pretty smart.
The Writer Files
Interviews with over 70 renowned authors
Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
Brutally honest advice about the writing industry
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips
Focuses on helping the listener build their command of the English language
I Should Be Writing
A casual style and solid advice on the art of writing
Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler
A fantastic, all-round podcast that features fascinating discussions and a diverse range of expertise and opinions
And there we have it; five of the best writing podcasts out there that any writer worth his or her ink should be listening to. Bear in mind that there are thousands of other gems floating around there in the podcast-verse that are just waiting to be discovered! Keep in mind that all of the podcasts mentioned are available on spotify or are easily accessible with a google search.
Which podcast is your favourite?
Questions & Answers
© 2018 K S Lane