Here at T&F, we’re all about refilling that creative well. A lot of my time outside of writing is spent listening to hours upon hours of podcasts. Much like reading and watching TV or movies, podcasts are super helpful for research, writing motivation, storytelling, and generally having a good time. Without further ado, here’s my roundup of podcasts I’m really into at the moment (and hopefully you will be too):
PODCASTS FOR: WRITING MOTIVATION
There’s nothing more motivating than hearing professionals in the industry share their trials and tribulations, their tips and tricks in terms of writing and life. Whether you’re running errands or cleaning the house, you can still use that time to fuel yourself for the next time you sit down to write with these writerly podcasts:
Hosted by Yin Chang (Nelly Yuki! Gossip Girl!), this funny, heartfelt, and wonderful podcast has seen the likes of everyone from Victoria “V.E.” Schwab to Angie Thomas to New Leaf Literary’s Joanna Volpe. This podcast covers everything about the creative process while balancing lovely (and sometimes emotional) conversations about family, sexuality, mental health, and more. Haven’t listened before? I’d recommend the episodes with Victoria “V.E.” Schwab and Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner to get started.
This laid-back podcast, hosted by Sarah Enni (author of Tell Me Everything, out in 2019), is great for listeners who want candid conversations with writers about life, what keeps them going in the publishing world, and their creative process. In each episode, Enni asks the authors to start at the beginning, and the conversation sprawls across where they came from and why they’re inspired to write. First time? Excellent episodes include Lianne Oelke and Laini Taylor.
Caught up with the two above like I am? I’ve just started listening to the incredibly popular PubCrawl Podcast, hosted by literary agent Kelly Van Sant and author S. Jae-Jones. Episodes on my to-listen list include Writing Mechanics – Voice and Publishing 201: Subrights.
PODCASTS FOR: STORYTELLING
Even if you’re not listening to a podcast specifically focused on writing, there are podcasts out there that are well researched, wonderfully told, and are great examples of how story elements, like pacing and revealing information at the right time, are necessary to keep the audience engaged and informed.
While true crime and comedy don’t seem to mix, having a bit of laughter makes the more difficult stories easier to talk about. Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are not only excellent comedians and storytellers, but are advocates for mental health, too. Not only has this podcast been a key part of my research repertoire for my dark fantasy (Murder! Sociopaths!), but is a fascinating exploration of story structure and conflict in every episode. If you’re into true crime or just having a good time, check out how the hosts became friends at a Halloween party in episode one, or check out the episode list to hear if they’ve covered your hometown murder.
If you aren’t into catching up to podcasts who have hundreds of episodes under their belt, check out this 3-part podcast staring Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton. Featuring a couple on the brink of divorce, lots of angry singing, a pet duck, 36 questions to help people fall in love, and a voice recorder, this podcast is a wonderful case study in character development, setting, and the use of time as a narrative device.
This podcast was started by a fan of Hamilton: An American Musical, and now they’ve gone on to interview nearly every major contributor to making Hamilton a Broadway show. Hear from sound designers, the actors, the costume designers, and even Lin-Manuel Miranda himself about how each element of the production is crucial to making the story come alive. Interested? Listen Lin-Manuel’s episodes first.
PODCASTS, JUST BECAUSE
Sometimes we just need a podcast for the heck of it. Everything doesn’t have to be writing related. But, listening to podcasts on topics just because they interest you could be the thing you needed to give you that next plot brainwave.
This podcast comes from the writers of the BBC’s hilarious QI, in which they each share the best thing they’ve learnt that week. Sharing everything from inconsequential factoids to that piece of knowledge that will win you a game of family Trivial Pursuit (and lifetime bragging rights), this podcast is just what you need to have a good laugh. Don’t know where to start? Check out Episode 242: No Such Thing As The Ancient Monty Python Dynasty.
Produced from inside California’s San Quentin State Prison, visual artist Nigel Poor and inmate Earlonne Woods share stories of life in prison. Excellent episodes include Cellies, where Earlonne and Nigel discuss the relationships that develop inside the tiny 4’ x 9’ cell and their Catch a Kite series where they answer listener questions about prison life in San Quentin.
Are you a podcast listener? Do you have any must-listen podcasts that I’ve missed? Sound off in the comments below or give us a recommendation on social media.
Extra goodies for your consumption:
- Listen Up: Podcasts for Writers by Melody Simpson
- 22 of the best podcasts for curious minds by WIRED