Podcasts for writers

February 17, 2010 · 12 comments

It’s been years since I’ve spent this much time on cardio machines at the gym. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve long been a compulsive exerciser. But in Houston, I ran outside all year round. And upstate New York? Not so much.

So this winter, to pass the time on the treadmill, I tried something new: podcasts. I’m kinda embarrassed to admit this, because podcasts are so yesterday’s technology. But I’ve always been more of a fan of the written word than audio.

Turns out there are quite a few podcasts out there for writers! Whatdoyaknow. If you’re a newbie like me, you can listen to most of these audio files right on the Web site or download it to your iPod through iTunes. In addition to listening to the latest ones, check out the archives.

Podcasts for writers:

  • The New York Times Book Review. Interviews with authors whose books are reviewed by The New York Times. Each podcast also includes an industry update and overview of bestseller lists. This is one of my faves. It’s also shorter than some of the other podcasts, so my child-like attention span lasts for the entire thing.
  • Writers on Writing (or Pen on Fire). Live interviews with writers, poets and literary agents. Hosted by author Barbara DeMarco-Barrett.
  • I Should Be Writing. Mostly about fiction, but motivational for all writers. By Mur Lafferty, who says she’s a wanna-be writer just like her listeners.
  • Writing Excuses. I’ve yet to try this one, but I’ve heard it’s quite popular, so wanted to include it here. Several contributors.

And, of course, there are lots of fabulous podcasts out there that aren’t writing specific. I like the New York Times’ Story of the Day and World Story of the Day (I can’t find links for these but you can subscribe through iTunes). Lots of people are super into National Public Radio’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and This American Life from Chicago Public Radio.

What are your favorite podcasts?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey OConnor February 17, 2010 at 11:41 am

This American Life is #1. #2: Radio Lab. Seriously, this is great.

Also BBC’s “Americana.” American Public Media’s “Speaking of Faith,” “The Story” w/Dick Gordon, “The Splendid Table” (a great food show), NPR’s “StoryCorps”, “Studio 360” w/Kurt Anderson (show about culture and arts).


Margosita February 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

The Writer’s Almanac, by Garrison Keiller. Can’t go wrong! Short and sweet, so not perfect for a work out, but good for the morning coffee break.


Heather Rae February 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Great list – I’m looking forward to checking some of these out. One of my favorites is Will Write for Wine (willwriteforwine.com). It’s about writing fiction and pretty funny to listen to. Good for when you need a break but still want to do something semi-productive.


Kris February 17, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Great list – I’ll check them out.
I listen to several news headline podcasts while I run in Cow Town. I space them out with my favorite music tracks.

In my car, I enjoy listening to these podcasts by writers:

– Martini Shot by Rob Long, a TV writer and producer: He offers a fun, snarky and sincere look at writer’s block, comic timing and other challenges in the TV sitcom world.

– Memories of the Futurecast by Wil Wheaton: The former Star Trek: Next Generation Star reads a little bit from his book and shares more insights into the plot and crew of the Starship Enterprise. He’s funny, honest and totally entertaining.


Dawn Embers February 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I love “I Should be Writing” and “Writing Excuses” when it comes to writing podcasts.

Quick correction though. Mur is published. She had her book come out in print a couple of years ago. Her podcast has gone on even longer, it started before she got published and even now she keeps it going as she knows she has much to learn/face when it comes to writing. Her published book is Playing for Keeps.

Another good podcast, though it isn’t updated as much anymore is “Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing”. They are funny and do many great interviews with authors. One of the podcasters, who does most the talking now is also writing a book or two.


Alexis Grant February 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Dawn — Oh, thanks! Thought I got that off Mur’s Web site — I’ll check and correct it if need be.

Everyone — Great ideas! Keep ’em coming!


jessiecarty February 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Funny, I’ve never gotten into podcasts either, probably because i don’t sync up my ipod a lot, but maybe it would vary my workout..hmmmmmm


Emily on the Southern Prairie February 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm

you ran outside year-round in houston?!

what, at 4 a.m.? 😉


Alexis Grant February 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Uh, yup. Summer running group met at 5:30 a.m. BRUTAL.


Ami February 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Most of my favorites have already been mentioned, but I love a lot of the NPR podcast: Fresh Air, Splendid Table, Radio Lab, This American Life, and Speaking of Faith. I also recently discovered The Writers’ Block (through The Gatekeeper).

I love podcasts for the gym or my commute. Looking forward to checking out the ones you mentioned.


Nomad Scry February 23, 2010 at 2:24 am

Two more for you:

Dead Robots’ Society

Get Published

Both podcasts feature discussions on various writing topics as well as interesting and useful interviews with authors, publishers, and agents.


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