Writers’ Podcasts to Check Out

Writers’ podcasts are a great way to boost writing skills without outlaying a lot of money. Cheap is good, as anyone who’s been in the game for a while knows. Learning to write for profit can be a long and expensive pursuit.

writers' podcasts

Writers interested in completing graduate studies in Creative Writing better have deep pockets. A two-year MFA in the US costs between $27K and $73K. An Australian equivalent runs around $45K. No matter where in the world you study, you won’t get a guarantee of a return on your investment.

Even the cheaper options like master classes, seminars, and writers’ conferences add up. Throw in professional memberships and writers’ organisations, and we’re talking about a substantial, ongoing writing bill.

So when free opportunities come along, I get excited. Podcasts are my favourite inexpensive skill builder. Here are six of my favourite writers’ podcasts to sharpen my craft, stoke my imagination, and fire my passion.

Five Worthy Writers’ Podcasts

Helping Writers Become Authors

Author K M Weiland mentors writers around the world with her website, vlog, podcasts, and books on writing craft. (I’m keen to read her writer’s analysis of Jane Eyre). She covers a variety of topics from business to craft.

Dead Robots Society

Justin Macumber created this podcast to inspire and equip aspiring writers. Dead Robots Society has an interesting mix of author interviews and writing craft segments.

Scriptnotes Podcast

John August and Craig Mazin focus on screenwriting, but I find their topics are useful for any kind of writer.

TED Talks for Writers

We all know and love TED talks, but were you aware that they have some talks that speak specifically to aspiring writers, creatives, and literary types? Author Mac Barnett’s talk Why A Good Book is Like a Secret Door is funny, erudite, and inspiring. If you write for kids, do yourself a favour: click the link right now and thank me later.

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio compiled a complete list of TED Talks for Writers, which includes Elizabeth Gilbert talking on Your Elusive Genius  and Amy Tan uncovering Where Does Creativity Hide?  and filmmaker Andrew Stanton explaining The Clues of a Great Story.

This American Life 

While not specifically about writing, this famous public radio show is a wonderful example of the power and universality of story. Week after week, This American Life presents several stories based around a theme. Some are quirky; some are sad; some are hilarious. All of them make you think. It’s like super-food for your imagination and über-inspiration for your inner muse.

The show’s iconic producer, Ira Glass, is one of my heroes, mainly due to this four-part video about storytelling. Be sure to check it out.

Over to You

Got a favourite writers’ podcast the world needs to know about? Please leave a comment and a link so we can check it out!

Creative Commons Image by Steve Rhodes

Five Super Book Podcasts for Readers

book love

Finding the next book–It’s a never-ending hunt for avid readers. Stored in the super-charged brains of librarians and independent bookshop owners is loads of up-to-date information, ripe and ready for the picking. Sadly, most of us don’t have 24-7 access to one of those lovely people. (Half your luck if you do!)

Book podcasts fit the bill if you’re looking for a steady stream of book recommendations.  I listen to (free) book podcasts between my (not free) audio books. With the audio files loaded on my smartphone via the Downcast app, I can follow along while I’m out for my walk or driving around on errands. iTunes offers a huge variety of podcasts as well.

Not all book podcasts are created equally. 

Some focus on high-brow literary commentary, while others fall into the category of fandom. (Into fandom? I can recommend the adorable vlog, Bella and Books.)

Below are five super book podcasts for readers. I listen to all five regularly but I never miss an episode of the the first two.

Books on the Nightstand

I’ve listened to Ann Kingsman and Michael Kindness talk about books and publishing for years. There’s a lot to love about this podcast

  • They focus on recommendations rather than reviews. No snarky book slamming here. It’s all upbeat and insightful.
  • They work in the world of publishing and reveal interesting behind-the-scenes titbits.
  • They comment on an impressive variety of books—including new releases, best-sellers, and even the books that normally don’t get a mention on these shows—graphic novels, audio books, and kidlit.
  • They’re on GoodReads so you can enjoy the fun on more than one platform.
  • Best of all, the program’s recording quality is top-notch, and the show is family-friendly (no dodgy topics or gratuitous swearing).

This American Life

While not technically about books, this podcast appeals to lovers of good narrative. Produced by the loveable and acclaimed radio producer Ira Glass, This American Life offers a weekly show created to a theme and chock-a-block full of ripping tales and thought-provoking content. How they manage to create such high quality shows week after week on a public radio budget is beyond me.

Book Lust with Nancy Pearl

Nancy may well be the only librarian with an action figure created in her honour. She once started a program called “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” that was taken up in cities across the US. Her rock-star status gives her connections with A-list authors, so check out the archives of Book Lust to see if your favourite author is there. (I can recommend the interview with John Irving).

BBC World Book Club

Here’s a great way to learn about foreign books you might want to read. The usual format is Q & A in front of a live audience. This one falls at the erudite end of the spectrum without being too stuffy.

Book Riot

These guys are young and hip, so they cover books in a fresh way with an emphasis on technology and innovation. Their slick accompanying website gives you a good idea of the flavour and scope.

Creative Commons Image Credit: lovely book! by Tim Geer