As much as I am not looking forward to doing an actual podcast (and I mean…really, really not looking forward to it), I am having a lot of fun looking for podcasts. There are so many of them out there! I tried to hone in on podcasts that related to writing (although I will admit I got sidetracked and listened to a meditation podcast along the way). In my search, I found two articles that related to podcasts and writing, which later led me to the two podcasts I decided to follow.
6 Must-Listen Podcasts for Novelists, Screenwriters & Storytellers: The author gives a brief synopsis of what he considers to be the best creative writing-related podcasts. My absolute (absolute!) favorite was Writing Excuses. Now before I get into how much I loved it, here is the synopsis:
Writing Excuses is a fiction writing podcast run by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, The Wheel of Time, and The Stormlight Archive), Dan Wells (I Am Not a Serial Killer), and Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary). They live and die by their tagline: Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart. This podcast is popular and garners over 10,000 downloads per episode. Every Monday, they come out with a new episode that covers a specific topic related to creative writing, whether it’s about literary techniques, idea farms, plotting, or the publishing industry. On top of that, they’re just plain fun and funny. Definitely one of the best writing podcasts out there – period.
This was the find of the century! I could have kept listening and listening. Okay…calm down. Breathe. The three I listened to were:
- When Good Characters Go Bad – they talk about how you take a character that a reader initially loves and how to turn them into someone fallen, evil, horrible, nasty.
- Microcasting – they answer various questions that have been tweeted to them.
- Discovering Your Voice – okay…this is the one that had me. I wrote so many notes as I was listening: that when you write to impress the reader, you lose your authenticity and your heart…that many new authors muddle through trying to find their voice and over-work it….voice is natural…freedom to stop worrying about how to do it, just write about what you’re excited about…get out of your own way…giving yourself freedom to write whatever you want rather than forcing yourself into a mode….
Stop. Breathe. It was a gold mind, and absolute gold mind. 15 minute snippets, packed full of free-flowing insights, ideas, tips, humour…perfect for the wannabee writer, like me. I can’t wait to go back and listen to more (but first, I have to finish this post).
Okay. The second podcast I found didn’t excite me as much as the one above, but the website I found it on did. The website is called WOW-Women On Writing. They had an amazing number of articles on writing (my printer almost blew a fuse). One article was called The Digital Affair: Podcasting Marries Printed and Spoken Words. An example within the article illustrates how author Jodi Picoult uses podcasting. I love her books but wasn’t even aware she had a website with podcasts…and she’s been podcasting for 5 years (boy, am I behind the times in the social media world). I listened to three of Picoult’s podcasts:
- Don’t I know You – she talks about her experience as an author
- A Letter to My Son – she reads a piece of her work
- The Story Behind House Rules – her personal experience with autism (her adopted cousin), which inspired the writing of the book
The feel of these podcasts were very different from Writing Excuses. Jodi Picoult’s podcasts are obviously very scripted – you definitely feel as though you are being read to. Although I like the free-flowing banter of Writing Excuses better, I can still see how Picoult draws in “ten thousand listeners each month”. Her podcasts not only bring a voice to her writing, it makes her, well…real. And by becoming real, you see the author behind the book and connect with her in a whole different way. Which, from a marketing perspective…is a good thing.
So…let’s wrap this up (so I can go back to listing to another episode of Writing Excuses). The author of The Digital Affair sums it up nicely:
“Writers should view podcasting as another form of expression that showcases the writing process and the author’s insights, in addition to creating an open dialogue with the audience. When writers declare their intentions and build a relationship with readers and listeners through podcasts, it’s a literary match made in heaven”
So there you go. Writers + podcasts = literary match made in heaven.