In between writing sessions there’s a lot of life to which we writers must tend. There’s commuting to work, trips for groceries, dental appointments, hair cuts…all sorts of everyday stuff we do, well, every day. Pile onto that the occasional vacation flight, drives to see Aunt Gertrude, or that 50 mile bike ride for charity, and there’s a lot of hours spent away from the keyboard or notebook. But that doesn’t mean you have to be far from writing.
Podcasts offer a simple and entertaining way to stay in touch with your writerness while learning and improving your craft. There are podcasts on novel writing, short fiction, poetry, publishing, screenplays, and even audio readings of some incredible work. Whatever your writing interest, odds are there’s a podcast that’ll make your down time more rewarding.
Authors Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler and Mary Robinette Kowal present 15 minute discussions of the nuts and bolts of producing good fiction and insiders’ views of the publication process.
The insightful and usually hilarious back and forth between authors Baker Lawley, Jody Gehrman and Tommy Zurhellen make learning the fiction craft and nuance of the publication process fun and enlightening. I usually learn best when something makes me laugh.
Grammar Girl: Quick & Dirty Tips
Mignon Fogerty’s often humorous yet informative audio tutorials on the nuance of grammar and style is a must-listen for every writer. You’ll be surprised that what you thought you knew has changed and happy to learn that you’re not alone in not knowing what you don’t.
Although I list those three as my favorites, the following are right up there on my listening list, and I inevitably run out of episodes and find myself checking for new downloads regularly. Whether you’re looking for insights into the craft or simply want to hear a good yarn read by great voices, this list will give you a great place to start.
Angry Robot Books
Interviews with science fiction authors, especially those published under the Angry Robots label.
Round-table discussions with independent authors about self publishing and all things writing related.
Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
Interviews with self published authors and people in the know about all aspects of self publishing.
Fanboys on Fiction
General fiction writing discussion that bridges print and visual story mediums.
Available via iTunes
So You Want to be a Writer
General writing discussion, particularly fiction and self publishing.
Available via iTunes
Helping Writers Become Authors
Author K.M Weiland provides audio tutorials on various aspects of story writing, key. Among them her 13 part “Crafting Stunning Character Arcs” series.
The Writer and the Critic
Kristyn McDermott and Ian Mond discuss works of speculative fiction.
Meet the Writers (Barnes & Noble)
Interviews with published authors.
Audio readings of short science fiction.
New Yorker: Fiction
Audio readings of classic and more current short fiction works that have appeared in the pages of New Yorker Magazine.
Available via iTunes and New Yorker Magazine online
Writing for Rookies
Fun discussion of all aspects of fiction writing and publishing, with a sci-fi leaning.
Flash Fiction Online
Audio readings of flash fiction works submitted by writers. Quick, entertaining listens.
I Should Be Writing
Mur Lafferty’s discussion of all things fiction writing.
The Creative Writer’s Tool Belt
Andrew J. Chamberlain’s cast digs into the nuts and bolts of good story telling, as well as the nuance of things like sentence structure and choosing the strongest possible verbs.
Available via iTunes
Audio presentations of current short science fiction, along with interviews and discussion.
Drabblecast.org focuses on extremely short fiction pieces called “Drabbles”: Complete stories told within 100 words–exactly, no more than 100, now fewer than 100.
Members post their drabbles and fellow members comment. Select drabbles are read by Drabblecast narrators in upcoming editions of the podcasts.
There’s also a section on Twabbles: 100 character stories (including punctuations).
Want to see how short short can be, stop by and be amazed. and do give theor podcast a try.
The Pocket Casts Podcast Player
The folks at Shifty Jelly have created what I consider to be the best podcast player around, and I have tried many. Its simple icon-driven interface provides a visual glimpse of all casts to which you subscribe, as well as a Discover page to check out other popular casts or to search for categories or titles that interest you. Click subscribe if you find something you like and it appears with its icon on your main page.
Pocket Casts allows you to select a cast to hear now, then tap subsequent casts that will begin the moment your initial choice ends. There are FF and REV buttons that allow you to skip forward or back, as well as a slider to move quickly through a cast.
This great tool remembers where you left off, an pauses for incoming calls when using Bluetooth hands-free devices. Casts resume where they left off when the call ends.
If you’re the impatient type, Pocket Casts has a slider that allows increments up to 3x normal playback speed; you can slow to 1/2 speed, as well.
Yes, Pocket Casts plays both audio and video casts.
Versions for iPhone or IPad are available via iTunes Store; the Android version is available through your Play a Store.
By the way, while the podcasts I mentioned above are available via iTunes or the Web sites associated with those casts, all are available through the search tool in the Pocket Casts Discovery page.
Learn more about Pocket Casts player at www.schiftyjelly.com