10 Podcasts for Writers Worth Listening To

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23 Responses

  1. HotForWords says:

    Thanks for including me in your list. I know that my show about etymology is not what one would expect to find from a typical philologist, but that is my whole plan. I have a channel on YouTube as well, and my objective is to introduce people to etymology who may not normally take the time to read or listen to the subject.. and the result has been 115 million video views and a 1/4 million to 1/2 million video views a day.

    The amount of emails I get daily thanking me for introducing them to a subject they now find fascinating makes it all worth it for me, and I appreciate that you were sufficiently leaning on one side of the fence enough to have included me in your list 🙂


  2. Dustin says:

    Marina: Thanks for your comments. I agree, the content of the show is very interesting, and I’ve been a subscriber for months. But th show certainly isn’t for everyone — surely a lot of people are put off by the approach. In the end, I’m comfortable letting my readers decide for themselves.

  3. Dustin,

    Thanks so much for mentioning The Writing Show! I’m so glad you’re enjoying our shows.

    You mentioned that it’s hard to find great writing podcasts. What would turn The Writing Show and the others out there from “pretty good” to “great”?

    Best regards,
    Paula B.

  4. Dustin says:

    Paula: I wasn’t trying to use “pretty good” to indicate a level of quality between “ok” and “good”, just to say I endorse all these. Podcast listening is such a personal thing — what makes a podcast great for me might be a total turn-off for others. For example, you recently interviewed the president of Stephens Press — some writers might find all that stuff about printing costs and tax deductions to be a real drag, but that aspect of the business fascinates me. On the other hand, I tend to shy away from podcasts that deal with the “artist’s journey” and “writing as a spiritual quest”, even though they might be technically very well-done and, to another listener, highly entertaining and informative.

    So, to answer a slightly different question than what you asked, what do I think makes a great podcast? First, authenticity. ALthough I occasionally get a little exasperated with her self-deprecating-ness, Mur Lafferty’s show is totally authentic — it’s her personality that shapes each episode, her strugglers that direct the content, and she’s not afraid (or maybe she is afraid but does it anyway) to let her goofy, geeky sensibility come through. The other aspect — and I think most of the shows on this list have this — is an encouraging positivity. Most writers, once they get serious, know the odds — that only one in tens of thousands gets a best-seller, that most of us are consigned to the mid-list somewhere (if we’re lucky) and possibly to total obscurity — but we persist. Podcasts that are honest about the odds but offer productive advice and real-world experiences that writers can actually learn from are important.

    Other than that, as I said, it’s personal. You either like the podcaster’s personality and style, or you don’t. You either like their choice of topics, or you don’t. You either like the way they interview people, and who they choose to interview, or you don’t. I don’t think anyone on this list needs to change anything — except to mention The Writer’s Technology Companion every episode 🙂

  5. Thanks for your detailed reply, Dustin. Very helpful!

    I had to laugh at your explanation of “pretty good.” You’re not English, are you? (When my English husband uses “pretty good,” he means “freakin’ awesome!”) 🙂

    It’s true that I try to present a wide range of topics, and I know that means not every show will grab every listener. I just feel it’s important to give listeners as much information as possible. They may not need it now, but they’ll know where to find it when they’re ready.

    As far as being positive is concerned, I believe that writing is good for you whether or not you ever publish or get produced. The effort, the focus, the struggle, the learning–all these lead to personal growth. There is nothing like the feeling that comes from having successfully surmounted obstacles. And as you know, writing is fraught with those!

  6. Dustin says:

    Paula: I’m not British, and I didn’t know that “pretty good” was so freakin’ good over there. Then again, I also didn’t understand, when I lived in London, why all my friends were laughing when I told them I had to go home and change my pants before going out, because my pants were dirty from work. (Anyone with experience in or of Britain will understand why that’s freakin’ HILARIOUS; the rest of you can stand, as I did, scratching your heads in wonderment.)

    I agree that writing is a positive thing — and in my day-job as a university instructor, I put great emphasis on writing. (Why, just yesterday, I gave my annual “Spellcheck is not your friend” address in two of my classes.) And I’m sure that some people are better writers for seeing their work as a journey of spiritual development — it’s just not my thing.

  7. Mur says:

    Hiya Dustin-

    Thanks so much for the link and all the kind words you said about my show. And thanks too for all the other links – I’ll definitely check those out and point my listeners that way.

  8. Dustin says:

    Mur: Thank you — ISBW was the first writing podcast I started listening to when I first discovered podcasts, and it’s been an inspiration. I’ve learned about a lot of great authors from your interviews (like Christopher Moore, which was one of the best author interviews I’ve heard) and not a little about the writing biz. Like I said in the comments above, I’m starting to find it hard to take your less positive remarks about yourself and your work very seriously, because you’ve enjoyed so much success and are obviously good at what you do, but other than that, ISBW is the model I wish more podcasters would follow.

  9. pedanticKarl says:

    Hi Dustin,
    Thank you for the great list of sites.

    I was rather fascinated by your use of the words “risqué”, “weird” and “deeply offensive” with respect to HotForWords.

    I consider my values and social behavior to be conservative, but would never use those words to describe Marina. The closest word I might think of is “titillating” (sorry for the non-intended pun), but even that word I would never use.

    I have watched all of the 200+ videos that Marina has done and have followed her work since early last year. A description I would use for Marina, HotForWords is classy, witty and intelligently sexy. She has a natural easy going friendly engaging style and smile that radiates a wonderful glow and that’s what I see.

  10. Dustin says:

    pedanticKarl: I don’t personally find “Hot for Words” offensive, or I wouldn’t subscribe to it and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. But others might, and I want to at least recognize that, even if in the end it doesn’t change my recommendation. I want to make sure that people with more delicate sensibilities than you and I can consider themselves adequately informed before they click through to Marina’s website — which prominently features several pics of Marina in bathing suits and other scanty outfits. I aim to make this site amenable to writers of all sorts, including those whose personal politics I might not agree with — consider the writer of Christian educational materials or the minister looking for tools to help organize his or her sermons, for example. Do I really want to draw a line in the sand that says “nobody offended by semi-nude pictures of philologists allowed”? Is that a fight worth having on my writing blog? I’d rather save that kind of conflict for things that really matter, like Mac vs. PC 🙂

  11. pedanticKarl says:

    Hi Dustin, thank you kindly for your detailed explanation and I agree with you. So, what do you have against Linux? No three way fights? Just kidding. I love that YouTube video entitled “South Park Mac vs. PC vs. Linux”.

    This is my first visit to your blog and I like it as well as the lifehack.org site. Kind Regards…

  12. kmb says:

    I’ve listened to several of the podcasts on the list and by far enjoy Writing Excuses the most. Different strokes for different folks, certainly, but 15 of the straight stuff without a lot of rambling or INFODUMP is great! 🙂 We’re writers, we’re communicators. Sometimes I do wish they were a bit longer only b/c I think they’re on such a roll or the topic is so interesting I want the infodump.

    FYI: I write romance and these guys epic fantasy, horror (-ish?) and web comics. Broad writing techniques transcend genre. Do yourself a favor and listen to these guys!

  13. Shirley says:

    Don’t forget Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s Writers on Writing. Great interviews with writers and agents.

  14. Leo Sigh says:

    Wow, some excellent resources here. I was looking for some podcasts to download for a trip I’m going to be on in Europe for a month. These are wonderful. Thanks a lot.

  15. Hahaha, I’m loving HotForWords. I’m also going to check out some of the other resources, but that one is unlike any I’ve encountered before (though now that I’ve seen it, I can’t imagine someone NOT having done it). She’s sexy AND smart. 🙂 I’ll stick to the etymology lessons, though.

  16. Josh says:

    There is another great Podcast that I think you overlooked. The Creative Penn.


    Check it out, she’s one of my favorits to listen to along with ‘I Should Be Writing.’

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