A few days ago, someone on Twitter asked me if I recommend any online writing courses. I replied, not with writing courses (I’ve only taken one as they are quite pricey!), but rather with a long list of favorite podcasts!
I’ve been on the podcast bandwagon for about two years now, and I cannot tell you how beneficial it’s been to me as a writer and entrepreneur. Every week, I learn a tremendous amount on both the craft and marketing side of writing, and also receive incredible encouragement from the hosts and their guests.
Before I list my personal favorite writing podcasts, I’d like to share a few reasons why podcasts are my learning jam in general:
The online courses I have researched cost anywhere from $400-$1000. Podcasts, on the other hand, don’t cost a dime. (I do, however, contribute financially to a few of my favorites on Patreon as a small token of my thanks for all their time and effort!)
2.) Up-to-Date Information
One downside of online courses – and college courses, for that matter – is that it doesn’t take long for the information they teach and the advice they give to become outdated and irrelevant, especially with the constant changes of today’s fast-paced publishing industry!
Podcasts, which typically air weekly, are always filling listeners in on the latest tips, tricks, and tools of the trade. The second the hottest craft book hits the shelves, the best podcast hosts will let you know about it and give their review. If there’s a must-attend conference a few months away, they’ll notify you so you can start saving up for it. If there’s a publishing scam that preys on new authors, they’ll warn you and then recommend the best people in the business who want to help writers, not rob them. It’s clear that the podcasts hosts I listen to do their homework, ensuring that the information they discuss is not only interesting, but useful, pertinent, and actionable.
I listen to podcasts using the podcast app on my iPhone. Seeing as my iPhone is basically just another appendage, it goes with me everywhere, so I really have no excuse not to turn on an educational episode while I’m cooking, folding laundry, doing my hair and makeup, making the bed, driving, or grinding through a cardio session (though I usually need something a wee bit more exhilarating than people’s voices to get me through a workout…).
At first, it may feel odd to turn on a podcast while you’re chopping onions or folding your undies, but I promise it will quickly become a favorite habit that will make otherwise mind-numbing chores and activities quite stimulating!
I can’t tell you the number of awesome people I’ve connected with on social media whom I first discovered on a podcast interview. With courses, you rarely ever hear from anyone other than the instructor, which doesn’t allow much growth in the way of community. And community, I believe, is an invaluable facet of a fulfilling creative life as it encourages continual improvement, motivates us to keep writing, no matter the obstacle, and reminds us that we’re all in this together and that the rewards of writing far outweigh the difficulties.
Most podcast hosts and their guests are on the major social media platforms and love to engage and answer questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out to “friend” and follow them!
And now, in no particular order, here are my top five favorite writing podcasts!:
1.) “The Creative Penn”
I can’t lie. This one is probably my #1 favorite (the rest are in “no particular order,” ha!) which is largely due to the fact that Joanna Penn was the first indie “authorpreneur” I discovered online back in 2013 when I started writing my first novel. Her passion for helping people was the first thing I noticed and loved about her (along with her lovely British accent), followed by her encyclopedic knowledge of the indie publishing industry. She’s been podcasting since 2009, so it took me a while to listen to her archived episodes, but it was well worth it!
2.) “Write Now”
Sarah Werner is the delightful host of “The Write Now” podcast. She is unbelievably warm, kind, and down to earth, so even when she doesn’t have a guest to interview, her reflections and stories from her own writing journey are well worth the listen. Her “Coffee Break” editions feature author interviews and truly feel like you’re sitting with them at Starbucks, enjoying good coffee and even better conversation. I always feel uplifted, refreshed, and ready to write after listening!
3.) “Rocking Self-Publishing”
Simon Whistler, host of the “Rocking Self-Publishing” podcast, is an excellent interviewer. He talks to successful indie authors, probing deep into everything from what inspires them, their launch and marketing strategies, to cautionary tales and lessons learned they’ve along the way. I appreciate that Simon stays on track and isn’t afraid to ask tough questions. He has a wonderful way of making his guests feel welcome and comfortable enough to share the not-so-awesome aspects of the writing life. He also has a British accent, which of course gives his show mega bonus points.
4.) “How Do You Write?”
Rachael Herron hosts this terrific podcast, which, as its title suggests, asks different writers the simple yet endlessly fascinating question, “How do you write?” Every week, Rachael puts the same questions to different guests, questions such as “How do you refill your creative well when it runs dry?” and “What’s your favorite ‘craft tip of awesomeness’?” I personally love hearing about different writers’ routines and rituals, so this podcast is super fun to listen to and also inspires me to do try new things as well!
5.) “Helping Writers Become Authors”
Along with Joanna Penn, K.M. Weiland is another of my writing gurus! Like her YouTube videos, her podcast episodes are brief, informative, and straight to the point. Usually no longer than five minutes, they cover a wide range of craft-related topics (she says she leaves the marketing and publishing side of things to people Joanna Penn) like outlining your novel, properly incorporating backstory, writing multiple antagonists, and making sure your book has an awesome ending. But beware: listening to her show is like eating Pringles – you can’t stop after just one!