It’s a happy day when I can curl up in an armchair and get lost in the story of a kick-butt heroine or the little guy taking on the forces of evil. But while I cringe to admit it, I am awful about setting aside precious reading time for books on craft. They are the broccoli at the buffet. Sorry, the fettuccine alfredo and triple fudge cake have filled up my plate. No room for you!
So I was incredibly excited to find a way around this conundrum of needing to focus more on craft and not wanting to give up fun reads…writing podcasts. Writing podcasts are like getting Hermoine to lend me her time-turner. They take boring errand time – driving to the bus stop to get the kids, grocery shopping, and even chopping vegetables for dinner – and turn it into time to focus on craft. They even provide encouragement to get over those days when the cursor seems to be taunting me, and insight into business aspects of publishing. What could be better?
The Writing Excuses tag line is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.” But show’s four hosts, Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells, are that smart. Their podcast for newbie fiction writers focuses on one topic on craft or the business of publishing each week. They are in their tenth season of this podcast, so there’s a lot of good stuff in their archive. Since the hosts’ writing ranges from horror to epic fantasy to online comics to historical romance, they approach each topic with a variety of perspectives and great insight. You can find Writing Excuses at http://www.writingexcuses.com/ and on iTunes.
Mur Lafferty hosts I Should Be Writing: The Podcast for Wannabe Fiction Writers. Mur is amazingly forthright about the ups and downs of writing life. She talks about everything from getting rejections to writer’s block in a way that makes you feel like you’re not alone, wasting your time slogging away at your computer. Mur wants you to keep writing great stories. For some of Mur’s Momma Hen encouragement, find I Should Be Writing at http://murverse.com/podcasts/ and on iTunes.
A relatively new podcast I’ve started following is Ditch Diggers. Mur Lafferty hosts this podcast with Matt Wallace. While I Should Be Writing is targeted toward newbies, this show is focused on the realities of making a living as a writer. Mur’s openness about the good and the bad of writing as a career are pushed to brutal honesty by Matt’s pull-no-punches style. And these guys take on the issues no one talks about in public: when your agent doesn’t like your new book, when your publisher decides to change the terms of your already-signed contract. They’ve had great guests, including Kameron Hurley and Chuck Wendig. Mur promises that Ditch Diggers will show up at murverse.com, but it’s not there yet. Look for it on iTunes.
For a podcast that goes deep into craft, turn to Helping Writers Become Authors. K.M. Weiland puts tons of research into her podcasts, delving into a different craft topic each week. You can find Helping Writers Become Authors at http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/resources/podcasts/ and on iTunes.
So from me, here’s a big thank you to Mary, Brandon, Howard, Dan, Mur, Matt and K.M. for making learning about craft and the business of writing more like chocolate fudge cake than brocolli. And you, reader, have no more excuses. Go download some writing podcasts today.