15 outstanding podcasts for writers

From Grammar Girl’s weekly batch of helpful tips to guidelines on self-publishing, the array of options will prove helpful to scribes of all types.

Podcasts are the perfect way to listen to a conversation about your writing craft or business. Think of it as professional development—accompanied by a chance to rest your eyes.

Podcasts aren’t new, but they’re seeing an exciting surge in listenership. The problem with podcasts is that there are so many options to choose from.

There’s no shortage of writing-focused podcasts by amateurs and experts alike. Here, we’ve compiled 15 podcasts worth subscribing to.

Let the writer beware: You might find yourself binge-listening for hours.

1. Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Every writer should bookmark this podcast. With helpful and insightful tips on grammar and storytelling, Mignon Fogarty’s podcast is sure to help you improve your writing skills.

A great place to start: One of the most popular episodes from this podcast is “Who Versus Whom?” Take a listen to get a feel for the podcast, or tap into a more recent episode, such as “Dialogue Tags.”

2. Beyond Your Blog

Susan Maccarelli decided to seek publication outside her blog. She created a website and podcast based on her own need for the resource, and now helps others who want to publish their work on larger websites. She interviews editors from major publications who share tips and insight on publishing for their particular outlet.

A great place to start: Maccarelli’s interview with Amy Joyce, editor of The Washington Post’s On Parenting section, is a popular episode. Alexis Grant, editor of The Penny Hoarder and founder of The Write Life, has also made an appearance on the show.

3. A Way With Words

This National Public Radio (NPR) program discusses language examined through the lens of history, culture and family. This in-depth podcast typically runs about an hour.

A great place to start: A fun episode from October 2013, “Writerly Insults” looks at some poorly written query letters, and much more.

4. Writing Excuses

Writing Excuses is hosted by four writers who provide quick tips for writing techniques. This fast-paced podcast runs about 15 minutes per episode.

A great place to start: A relevant episode for all writers, “Breaking In” talks about the concept of breaking into the industry, how to do it and what happens if you have a hard time.

5. I Should Be Writing

This award-winning podcast is hosted by author Mur Lafferty. Length varies, but episodes typically feature an interview with an author who’s plugging a new book. The episodes often provide encouragement to “would-be” writers to believe in themselves and get writing.

A great place to start: A recent hard-hitting episode titled “Crippling Fear” is one all writers should take a listen to: Lafferty opens up about her own fears and failures.

6. Dead Robots’ Society

Dead Robots’ Society is a fun podcast by aspiring writers, for aspiring writers. Inspired by Mur Lafferty’s podcast, the hosts share writing insights typically related to writing novels.

A great place to start: The hosts talk about writing excellent short fiction in the episode, “Write Short Fiction Like a Boss.”

7. Portfolio Life by Jeff Goins

Well-known author Jeff Goins hosts this podcast about life and collective work and artistry. Goins is known for his inspirational messages, and his podcast is no different.

A great place to start: In an inspirational episode, Goins talks about “Getting Paid to Pursue Your Passion in 48 Hours or Less.” Goins talks about his own passion-focused experiment and how it worked out for him.

8. The Creative Penn Podcast

Author Joanna Penn talks about everything related to writing, including publishing, developing your craft and where to find inspiration. Penn also interviews many pros in the field.

A great place to start: Steal publishing secrets from Penn’s interview with successful indie author Dean Crawford, “Pros and Cons of Indie and Traditional Publishing.”

9. The Story Grid Podcast

This podcast is hosted by two writers, veteran author Shawn Coyne and amateur writer Tim Grahl. Their goal? To help writers create great stories. The twist? These hosts put their own work up for critique.

A great place to start: Shawn Rips it Apart,” in which Coyne critiques the first scene in Grahl’s novel. They also discuss some literary greats, including Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie.

10. Beautiful Writers Podcast

Beautiful Writers Podcast features conversations with professional writers, including best-selling authors Elizabeth Gilbert and Martha Beck. Episodes typically dig deep and include personal anecdotes from creatives in the business. Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen host.

A great place to start: The interview with Gretchen Rubin, in which she chats about habits that spark creativity.

11. StoryCorps

In this NPR podcast, hosts gather stories from Americans across the country. This may not seem like a “typical” writing podcast, but much inspiration can be found in listening to stories about everyday people.

A great place to start: In the episode “Hostage,” two people share their experiences with two separate hostage situations that had very different endings.

12. The Literary Salon

In host Damian Barr’s The Literary Salon, authors read excerpts from their books—all in front of a live audience in glamorous locations.

A great place to start: In a recent episode, JoJo Moyes reads from her most recent book, “Me After You.”

13. The Narrative Breakdown

Hosts Cheryl Klein and James Monohan discuss the writer’s craft, covering topics relevant for fiction writers, children’s book authors and more. Many top authors are featured, including Ailsa Chang, a reporter from NPR, and Tim Grierson, a film and music critic.

A great place to start: Screenplays of 2014” is a fascinating episode, especially for aspiring screenplay writers and movie buffs.

14. Self-Publishing Podcast

Self-Publishing Podcast is an interesting and informative show for anyone interested in self-publishing. The hosts share personal stories along with practical tips.

A great place to start: Video Game Writing” covers a writing niche that’s not talked about much.

15. Happier by Gretchen Rubin

New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin hosts a podcast on ways to practice happiness and how to find a more fulfilling everyday life. Although this podcast isn’t specifically for writers, it features many well-known bestsellers who share helpful habits that have made them successful.

A great place to start: A fun and light-hearted episode with bestseller A.J. Jacobs is offbeat and amusing.

Your turn: What are your favorite podcasts for inspiration or writing tips?

Brianna Bell is a freelance writer who specializes in articles on parenting, personal finance, and writing. Follow her on Twitter @briannarbell. A version of this article first ran on TheWriteLife.com.

This article first appeared on Ragan.com in Jan. 2016.


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