Writing can be a lonely profession, especially if you work remotely. Sometimes we all need to hear other voices from people who understand the highs and lows of the profession. And podcasts allow you to do that.
The medium has been in its heyday for a couple of years now, and the writing sub-genre has enjoyed a bonanza of new podcast launches — thoughtful, entertaining and educational fare for people who care about storytelling craft. From author interviews and “story behind the story” retellings to advice on writing, there are some great podcasts to add to your listening lineup.
Here are the best podcasts for writers:
1. Write About Now
Coming up on its 100-episode milestone, Jonathan Small’s insider-favorite podcast is a mixed bag of career advice from experts, creativity-building deep dives, industry news and author interviews…lots of author interviews.
He gets guests from seemingly every sub-genre of fiction and non-fiction: thriller, memoir, politics, travelogues and even children’s books. One thing to note is the format of this podcast isn’t a mix of different types of segments — you won’t get a grammar lesson followed by an author interview followed by industry news.
There’s one theme per episode, so if Grammar Girl is the guest of one episode, the whole thing will be grammar, and if David Borgenicht of Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbag is the guest, then the entire episode will be devoted to disaster.
2. The Kicker
The Columbia Journalism Review’s podcast is a must-listen for investigative reporting junkies who get a vicarious thrill (or sympathy pang) from hearing what journalists went through in pursuit of a big story.
Just like all big stories have many different angles, so does the podcast come at big topics from different entry points — but always from an expert journalist POV.
If you’re struggling to complete the middle chapters of a nonfiction manuscript, and in need of inspiration, this one’s for you. Each week presents a conversation with an accomplished long-form wordsmith (typically a book author, though sometimes documentary filmmakers or long-form journalists) about their working/writing process.
Though the guests have varying degrees of name recognition, they’ve all completed, sold and published a long-form non-fiction work — and typically are also still publishing on the Longreads site.
4. ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well
The name of this official ASJA podcast lets you know it’s getting straight to business, offering a practical and professional-minded counterpoint to the many podcasts that focus on the process and not the payday.
Here’s where we talk about editors who are looking for new writers, pointers on negotiation and real rates info. Though this podcast is paywalled on the ASJA member site, non-members can download each podcast for $25 in the ASJA store.
5. Minorities in Publishing
Hosted by Jenn Baker and Bev Rivero, this podcast offers a realistic look inside the particular challenges that diverse writers face in the publishing and creative arts spaces.
From cultural representation (or a lack thereof) and dealing with the white gaze to the collective strength of worker cooperatives and breaking into the mainstream as a creator of color, this series tackles many important issues that affect minorities — but that should be of interest to anyone who strives for greater inclusion in the writing world.
6. Shipping & Handling
Agents! They’re people just like the rest of us. Okay, they’re also gatekeepers to a remote kingdom but they’re slightly less intimidating and more relatable after you listen to this podcast. It’s hosted by two engaging literary agents who legitimately love to read and talk about good writing.
Each episode focuses on a few different aspects of literary life — mixing business and industry intel with story craft and lots of book/author appreciation.
7. Grammar Girl — Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
If your finger itches to correct folks on Facebook who confuse their/they’re/there, or if you felt internal panic when AP announced its new hyphen rules, then this Podcasting Hall of Fame fave is your happy place.
Rolling out new episodes a few times a week, Grammar Girl aka Mignon Fogarty and friends get nerdy on every grammarian topic from verbing nouns and emojis to the history of semicolons.
(Note: This is one of many Quick & Dirty Tips podcast series, all dedicated to making people better at a certain thing. Fogarty founded the network as well as the Grammar Girl brand, proving that grammarians can also be entrepreneurs and media mini-moguls.)