Last week, I shared a review of “The Emotional Wound Thesaurus” as a soft kick-off to a series of resources for writers. Today, I’ll begin diving into other types of recommendations.
Let’s start with podcasts. If you haven’t yet entered the world of podcasts, I highly recommend you do so. I use a free app called Overcast on my phone. Once installed, it’s easy to search for podcasts based on title or host. You can also browse categories. If a thing exists, there is probably a podcast on the subject. I’m subscribed to a ridiculous number of podcasts and I love it.
Podcasts are great because they offer a way to consume content while doing other things – driving, exercising, flying, cleaning… I listen to the majority of mine while doing chores around the house.
Here are the four podcasts I find most valuable as a writer:
|I Should Be Writing: Mur Lafferty has been podcasting for over 10 years. She’s an author, mostly of fiction but she also publishes non-fiction essays. This podcast is about the craft of writing, targeted primarily at beginners. She deals with the scholarly issues of plot and voice, but she also tackles the emotional struggles of writing through depression, dealing with rejection, celebrating victories, and carving out time to type out some words. Many episodes include author interviews. She’s currently discussing prep for NaNoWriMo and often does daily short podcasts during the event. (Mur has just released a book based on the podcast.)|
|Ditch Diggers: It’s Mighty Mur once again, this time joined by her pal Matt Wallace. This podcast focuses on the business side of writing – dealing with contracts, working for exposure, meeting deadlines, and paying the bills. The two hosts have great chemistry and often wander down enjoyable asides. They answer questions submitted by email and Twitter, often bringing in guests that specialize in a particular topic. This show includes some bawdy language, harsh realities, and random Morgan Freeman references.|
|Writing Excuses: This show’s tagline is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Except, they ARE that smart. Four primary hosts (all established authors in various genres) share their thoughts and experiences each week as they do deep dives into all kinds of topics to make you a better writer. Last year, they did a great series on elemental genres – romance, suspense, humor, etc. Right now, they’re exploring how to successfully write at various lengths.|
|CriTiki Party: A group of six professional authors provides a rather in-depth critique of a listener-submitted “back cover” and beginning of a story (about 3000 words). The idea is that by hearing critiques of someone’s work, you will be able to apply those ideas to your own writing. Episodes are tiki-themed and include a tropical beverage recipe.|
Beyond podcasts dedicated to writing, there are many other shows that may inspire you and spark ideas. The possibilities are endless, though two of my favorites include:
|Lore: This podcast, hosted brilliantly by Aaron Mahnke, covers legends and scary stories from around the world. It digs into the origins, the rumors, the fears. The Lore empire now includes books and a six-episode series on Amazon Prime Video.|
|Found: Davy Rothbart’s enthusiasm over found items is contagious as he explores the world of lost letters, lists, and other random discards. The podcast is often very touching, but it’s not heavy. Ample humor and music run through each episode. I recently listened to the episode called “What a Samurai Does” – and it was equal parts hilarious and heart-breaking. Yet I was left feeling inspired, which is often the case. Sometimes they find the person who originated the “found” item, and other times they’re left to imagine the story behind it.|
I’m sure there are many other podcasts that could be mentioned here. What are your favorites, whether they’re specific to the writing life or a source of ideas?