10 Podcasts for Aspiring and Established Writers
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How do you deal with writer’s block? Where do you find new tips and tricks to enhance your writing? With so much advice available, how much of it is actually useful? It can be dizzying wading through all the information offered to aspiring writers. Building out your arsenal of tools as a writer can seem like a never-ending task.
As a writer with over a decade of experience, I’ve found that the most important thing is to cut out the noise and focus on finding the right advice for you. Considering these questions will help you identify where to focus your attention:
- What kind of writing am I interested in? Copywriting, creative writing, journalism, or something else?
- Are there areas of my writing that need improvement? This could be grammar, syntax, clarity, or perfecting your narrative structure.
- Does my lifestyle allow for me to maximize my time spent writing? Identify changes you can make to your routine to get the most out of your work.
With a podcast available on every topic you could imagine (there are currently over 2 million podcasts worldwide), finding ones that are actually useful is a challenge. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite informative podcasts that will inspire and challenge you to become a better writer.
1. Grammar Girl - Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Love it or hate it, grammar is an essential aspect of writing. It helps you to bring rhythm and clarity to words on a page. This award-winning podcast by Mignon Fogarty (self-described Grammar Girl) is about exactly this. Episodes are short and sweet with most lasting around the 15 minute mark, which makes this an incredibly actionable listen, as what you learn from the podcast can quickly be applied to your writing.
Fogarty explores the history of grammar and breaks down the origin of how we use common words. Alongside invited guest speakers, the podcast also provides insights on topics such as the value of brevity, language as a living entity, and the medieval origins of the @ symbol.
This is a phenomenal podcast that will help you understand the mechanics of language better and consider your writing in a new light — regardless of your specialism.
2. In Writing with Hattie Crisell
Exploring writing of all kinds, In Writing is hosted by journalist Hattie Crisell. An adept interviewer, Crisell invites screenwriters, journalists, novelists, poets and more to join her show and share their wisdom. This podcast is a great show to learn more about writers at the top of their fields, pick up insider tips and tricks, and become a better writer in the process.
Currently in its fifth season, some of my favorite episodes include Ruben Õstlund (filmmaker known for The Square), Elif Shafak (novelist of The Island of Missing Trees), stand-up comic James Acaster, and songwriter Hannah Reid (lead singer and keyboardist of London Grammar). Illuminating the variety of writing, I find this podcast particularly inspiring and useful if I feel a bit “stuck” or in need of some creative input.
3. The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience
This is another deep dive into the psyche of the writer. Prepare yourself to explore a diversity of topics, from the writing community, to failure, and how different writers find their rhythm.
Host Kelton Reid’s invited guests include New York Times bestselling authors Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick series), Grady Hendrix (How to Sell a Haunted House), Ana Reyes (The House in the Pines), and Deepti Kapoor (Age of Vice), as well as award-winning screenwriters Priyanka Kumar (The Song of the Little Road) and Iris Yamashita (Letters from Iwo Jima). The goal of the podcast is to motivate you as a writer and help you navigate those familiar road blocks.
Hearing directly from top authors and writers about how they navigate failure and challenges is particularly useful. I recommend giving this a listen if you’re feeling the plight of writer’s block or struggling to hit that writer’s stride!
4. Writing Excuses
There’s no excuse not to listen to this podcast. Short, sweet, and to the point, Writing Excuses describes itself as “fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.” It’s a refreshing, bite-size podcast that allows you to improve your writing abilities whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
The show explores themes such as tension, anticipation, narrative rhythm, and worldbuilding. Practical advice on the business of writing is also covered (particularly in the earlier seasons). The diversity of hosts and guests keeps this podcast fresh and means that it doesn’t get stuck in one writer’s voice or opinion.
Impressively, the show has been going since 2008, with their 2021 season winning a Hugo Award. It can feel overwhelming to know where to start listening, but the hosts recommend beginning with Season 10 for a good introduction to where the show is now. This season is tailored to be a masterclass on how to write genre-fiction.
5. The Psychology of Copywriting
Older episodes are each divided into three sections: scientific summary, copywriting concepts, and Q&A. The first part focuses on examining peer-reviewed articles on topics such as neuroscience and linguistics. In part two, the learnings from these articles are applied to copywriting concepts. Finally, the Q&A provides listeners with an opportunity to have their previously submitted copywriting questions answered. These early episodes are worth listening to in order to understand the mechanics of good copywriting and why it is so effective.
In later episodes, host Geoff Kullman — a copywriter and consultant for tech companies, serial entrepreneurs, and SaaS start-ups — brings on guests to discuss key areas of broader digital marketing. This is useful for those who want to supercharge their skills and understand why certain strategies work. At times, there is a big focus on financial gain, which can get a bit stale at times. But, overall, this podcast provides a good backbone for the aspiring copywriter or agency that wants to make the most of their digital marketing strategy.
6. The Writing Coach Podcast
Journalist Rebecca L. Weber hosts this super practical, informative podcast. As its name suggests, she takes a coaching approach to get the best out of her listeners’ writing skills. Weber tackles important topics such as imposter syndrome and how to get the most out of your career as a freelance writer.
Weber’s background includes working for impressive publications including The New York Times, CNN, and Dwell, so she’s well-versed in establishing a successful writing career. Her discussions on the common difficulties of under earning writers is particularly insightful, and will inspire you to know your worth and establish good rates (useful for any writer).
7. Writer’s Routine
One of my favorite episodes from presenter Dan Simpson’s podcast features a discussion with author Eva Rice (This Could Be Everything) on how noise can aid the creative process of writing. Writer’s Routine features invited guests talking through their processes and routines with Simpson in an illuminating and varied insight into what makes top writers tick.
If you’re needing a boost to your routine or are looking to find new ways to maximize your daily writing, this is all the inspiration you need. Interestingly, it highlights that there’s no one way to be a productive and creative writer. It’s a great reminder to try out new ways of working, but to also find ways to adapt your routine to your personal needs. After all, everyone is different.
8. Write Now with Sarah Werner
In this practical podcast for writers, writer, speaker, and executive producer Sarah Werner dishes out honest advice on finding work/life balance in what can, at times, be a challenging career as a writer.
Not one to shy away from difficult topics, Werner covers finding your voice, dealing with mental health as a writer, top tips and tools all writers should know, taking down hustle culture, and much more. To date, there are over 150 episodes, so there’s a solid back catalog for any aspiring writer to sink their teeth into.
This is a cathartic listen for when the business of writing can seem a bit overwhelming. Write Now reminds us that we’re not alone in these challenges and offers advice on how best to overcome and accept them.
9. The New Yorker Fiction
The New Yorker needs no introduction. In this podcast, one of the most well-known magazines of the Western world invites up-and-coming and established writers (hello, Margaret Atwood) to read stories from the magazine’s archives.
Hear from some of the world’s greatest living writers as they channel the greats of yesteryear. I find it particularly insightful to learn why they’ve chosen a particular piece to read. Understanding what the catalyst is for connecting with a specific piece of writing is a useful tool that can be used in your own practice, too.
This exploration of The New Yorker Fiction archives is sure to unlock some new inspiration for budding, as well as established, writers.
10. Start With This
From the co-creator of the absurdly brilliant Welcome to Night Vale podcast, Jeffrey Cranor, comes Start With This. Although no longer active (the last episode was in September 2021), the back catalog extends to 62 episodes, with each lasting between 30 minutes to one hour long. Start With This tackles topics such as absurdity, stealing from artists, narrative structure, writer’s block, and honesty within the creative process. Each episode encompasses a discussion on the given topic, with “homework” at the end to instigate the creative process for the listener. For example, one exercise invites listeners to write a short 200 word scene (dialogue or monologue) using only short sentences of six words or fewer.
This is a great listen for diving deep into the daily aspects of being a creative writer and generating work to keep those creative juices flowing. I found this podcast a really great way to remember the bigger picture of writing, and a reminder of the need to ground ourselves as creatives. Hosted by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the show is an entertaining listening experience crafted to perfection.
The Tools of Our Trade
Podcasts are incredibly useful tools that can slot into your everyday life, enhance your productivity, and inspire you. Remember to keep in mind what you want to get out of these resources. Then, pick podcasts and do further research that will support your writing goals.
By hearing and learning from the best, you can enhance your writing skills, hone your craft, and learn ways to get those creative juices flowing.