My Favorite Podcasts for Writers

Living in the country, I don't get many chances to attend readings, mingle with other writers, or take part in a writer's group .... all things I took for granted when I lived in Boston. Fortunately, the explosion in podcasts has brought a ton of great audio content that lets me learn about craft, find books to read, and cultivate a connection to the writer's community. Listening to writing podcasts has helped me better understand the publishing industry, feel less alone in my journey, and get a new perspective on aspects of the writing craft and process.

Keyboard, mouse, notebook and headphones.

Keyboard, mouse, notebook and headphones.

My Favorite Podcasts for Writers

Since time is precious, here are the podcasts for writers that have brought me the most value.

10 Minute Writer's Workshop

I love the brevity of this one as well as what it's able to accomplish in 10 minutes. Powerhouse writers like Roxane Gay, Anita Shreve, and Atul Gawande have all been interviewed. You'll learn more about the writing life and writing process than about the author's latest book, which I like.

I'm creating a reading list based on authors I've heard on here, whose work I haven't yet read, and it's also sparked some suggestions of comp tales, so those are the biggest value-adds for me.

The 10 minute time frame makes it a super approachable way to stay up to date with writers, even if you don't have the time to read as often as you like.

Start listening with #44 Anita Shreve on how you know when you're done or #4 Alexander McCall Smith on writing from the heart and trusting your subconscious.

diyMFA

The diyMFA podcasts offers writer interviews in a range of genres, from picture books to thrillers. The episodes focus on the craft of writing, the author's personal journey to publication, and the author's latest project.

While I find the episodes a little long for my tastes (they're around 40-45 minutes) and tend to fast-forward, there's a good kernel of advice in all the episodes I've listened to. I always like hearing about the process and publishing experience of other writers, even if they aren't in my journey. Picture book or middle grade writers might find a lot more value since more episodes tend to focus on writing for those age groups.

Start listening with #167 Publishing Through Perseverance to hear how a MG author kept her faith - and kept learning - through years of rejection or listen to # 159 Character Relationships to learn how to integrate issues into your writing without letting the issues eclipse the characters.

Reply All

It's a podcast about the internet, but so much more than that. The internet is really a portal into the strange connections between people, often facilitated by the internet, and the meaning we ascribe to these connections. It's about who we are and what we value and the choices we make. Character.

What I love about Reply All from a writing perspective is that the team really follows stories to these unexpected, sometimes dark places, with transparency about the whole process. It models an open and non-judgmental attitude toward forgetting what you know about the story you're writing and letting the characters and circumstances guide you toward what is.

Start listening with this one about the missing cellphones or this one about India call centers.

Woman looking out a window.

Woman looking out a window.

The Manuscript Academy

This is my favorite for publishing industry insight and news. Episodes are brief, but crammed with valuable tips. You won't find 20 minutes of inside jokes and sound effects, just interviews with agents and editors, tips on querying, agents' reactions to first pages and more.

Disclosure: You'll find an interview with me on Episode 16, and my first page was selected by an agent and read aloud on Episode 15 (it's been edited since thanks to the advice given here and elsewhere).

Start listening with Episode 6, How to Spend 10 Minutes With an Agent to make the most of meetings with agents, or Episode 22, Ten Queries with Agent John Cusick if you're planning to query and want to know what that agent is really thinking when your umpteenth-draft query letter hits their inbox.

Longform

Longform interviews writers, and while it focuses on journalists, everyone from Cheryl Strayed to Tavi Gevenson has been on the show.

Episodes are usually 45-60 minutes, and they cover a specific writer, their best stories, how they got started, and what's new for them.

I always like episodes that give me something unexpected and cool, or lets me dive deep into the writing mind of someone doing something I would never do. Since they run so long, I like to listen on a run or while I'm cooking.

Start listening with the interview with S-Town host Brian Reed or this powerful and honest episode with former war correspondent KellyMcEvers ... yup, I'm a public radio geek.

Writing Class Radio

I started listening to Writing Class Radio after hearing it advertised on another podcast for writers. It aims to mimic a writer's group with writing prompts, shared stories, and conversations about craft. Since I don't have a writer's group where I live, it is a nice way to vicariously pretend I'm in dialogue with other writers.

It's not a podcast I can listen to while I'm doing other things, so I don't often tune in, but when I do I usually take something away, even if it's renewed enthusiasm for the process after a difficult writing day.

Start listening with Episode 32: Will This Ever End? to talk about everyone's favorite topic, endings, or try Episode 16: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone...Where the Magic Happens to talk about the rewards of taking risks when you're writing.

Don't see your favorite podcast for writers listed here? Let me know, and I'll check it out.