Writers have so many online resources these days to help them hone their writing skills, but there are never enough hours in the day to take advantage of them. And when it comes to podcasts, you would need a thousand lifetimes to listen to all the great content that will help you on your writing journey.
One of the great features of podcasts is the audio format, which allows listeners to learn while doing a whole lot of other non-writerly things. You can listen and get inspired and motivated, be introduced to new authors and their stories, and acquire new skills all while folding laundry, prepping dinner, driving to town, weeding the garden, running on a treadmill, or taking the dog for a walk (I have done all of these!).
I’m the kind of person who thrives in doing more than one thing at once (it makes me feel uber-productive and that I’m being efficient with my time). But whether you like to do two things at once or sit quietly and intently listen so as to get the most out of your experience, podcasts are a terrific benefit for writers in our modern techy world.
I’ve been hosted on more podcasts than I can count, and I enjoy doing podcasts more than any other type of teaching. Maybe it’s because the exchange between host and guest is so personal, relaxed, spontaneous, and fun—no pressure. And maybe this is why so many writers enjoy listening to them.
It can feel as if everyone’s in your living room (without you needing to neaten up or serve snacks!) sitting around having a friendly chat. You may not have thought much about listening to podcasts, but give them a try! You may be surprised at how much you get out of them.
If you’re feeling stuck in your writing, unmotivated, in the dumps, or just plain bored, a podcast is just the thing to help you switch mental and emotional gears.
But with a gazillion podcasts vying for your attention, which are the best ones to listen to?
Why Focus On Podcasts Specific for Writers
For writers, there are three general types of podcasts: book clubs, interviews, and writing craft—though many are combinations. Some podcasts are genre-focused, so if you are yearning to learn all you can about the genre you’re writing in, consider delving into some of these.
For instance, if you write fantasy, check out The Legendarium Podcast (an online book club format), The Great Big Beautiful Podcast (interview), or The AmWriting Fantasy Podcast (writing craft) and Mythcreants to “geek out about spec fic and storytelling.”
Many podcasts cover the gamut of writing, from fiction to nonfiction to poetry to copywriting. Check out the descriptions of the podcasts you find online to see what their emphasis is.
You can break down writing craft podcasts into more specialized focuses:
- How to improve your writing chops
- How to make a living as a writer
- The writing life
- Publishing strategies and options
- Writing community support
If you’re not sure what exactly you want to listen to, here is my curated list of a variety of podcasts to whet your palate:
- Story Grid: Many writers are familiar with Shawn Coyne, author of the book Story Grid. He discusses writing tips and the writer’s life with newbie author Tim Grahl, offering two diverse perspectives.
- The Writer Files: Kelton Reid “studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity.” He interviews authors, editors, book reviewers, and others to share insights into the writing and publishing journey.
- A Way with Words: Fascinated with words and wordcrafting? This podcast, hosted by a lexicographer and an author, explores language through history, culture, and family (they even play word quizzes).
- Writing Excuses: If the title of this podcast resonates with you, then check this one out. Their tagline reads: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Pick up a few handy writing tips in record time.
- First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing: Mitzi Rapkin hosts weekly interviews with authors of both fiction and nonfiction who discuss their work, the craft, and literary arts.
- The Dead Robot’s Society: Focusing mostly on novel-writing craft, this podcast is aimed at aspiring writers and teaches great content covering topics like setting and riveting characters.
- The Literary Salon: Imagine going back in time, when authors held readings in salons. Instead of listening to an audiobook, try listening to authors read excerpts from their books in front of live audiences. There’s nothing like hearing an author read her own writing!
- 10-Minute Writers Workshop: Though the podcast shuttered in 2017, there are 60 great 10-minute episodes peek into how great writers conjure and craft their work. From creative rituals to guilty distractions, writers revealed what it really takes to get pen to paper.
- Sell More Books Show: This weekly podcast hosted by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor casts a net over everything self-publishing—marketing, promotion, trends, and timely tips.
- Book Marketing Show Podcast: Dave Chesson, a terrific book marketer, not only shares marketing advice but features case studies and interviews with marketing experts.
- Wordslinger Podcast: Thriller writer Kevin Tumlinson interviews authors and offers terrific insights into the indie publishing world and the writing life.
- Writing Unblocked: Whether you are writing books, screenplays, poems, or other projects, these brief episodes with tips and interviews will help you get unblocked in your writing process.
What are some Non-Writing-Related Podcasts That Can Uplift Writers
Since writing can be a daunting and sometimes discouraging endeavor, we writers can benefit emotionally by listening to some podcasts that have nothing to do with writing but everything to do with inspiring us and lifting our spirits.
- The Kindness Project: Nicole Phillips, author of the book Kindness Is Contagious, spreads the message of the healing power of kindness on this NPR channel.
- Happier with Gretchen Rubin: This best-selling author shares her practical and manageable advice about happiness and good habits, hosted along with her writer/producer sister.
- The Science of Happiness: Learn research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe. Hosted by award-winning professor Dacher Keltner.
- The Joy of Procrastination: By removing the shame associated with procrastination, hosts Jackson and Sullivan help listeners look at procrastination in a positive way.
- Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations: Oprah interviews thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts to inspire and answer life’s big questions.
- The Positivity & Prosperity Podcast: Victoria Maskell focuses on mind-set, motivation, and the courage to follow your dreams. A great podcast if you need a positivity boost.
- The Next Big Idea: This is one of my favorites, as it opens my mind to new concepts in tech and sociology, as well as gets me thinking creatively about our culture and how we might design a better future.
There are so many more great podcasts, but I can’t list them all in this post.
While there aren’t enough hours in the day, surely you can carve out an hour or two—whether you’re sitting and relaxing, working out, or on the move—to listen to a podcast.
Tap into the audio ether that will enrich your writing life.