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Top 10 Podcasts For Writers – by Noel

The Top 10 Podcasts for Writers

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by Noel Dwyer, Jr. Editor at

I love podcasts. If you haven’t heard of them, think of them as radio shows you can download from the internet and listen to anywhere at any time, via your computer, phone, tablet, or ipod.

They’re great to listen to while walking, commuting, cooking, or doing the dishes. Some are informative and others are funny, and there exists at least one for almost any subject you might want to hear people talk about. Some are professional radio broadcasts repackaged for download, while others are the private projects of a few individuals. Most podcasts are free.

Here is an explanation of how to download podcasts using iTunes, and here are directions for listening on some other devices. (The directions in the second link are specific to the podcast Serial, but other podcasts can be obtained in the same way.)

The following is list of podcasts I particularly like that may be of interest to other writers. There’s no way this post will be even slightly comprehensive–there are a lot of podcasts out there! The following is a short and entirely biased list of a few of my favorites.

Writing Excuses  (

“Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.”

Four professional writers of fantasy and science fiction discuss topics related to writing, both the nuts and bolts of stories and the practical side of being a writer. Some topics are specific to speculative fiction, but others discuss more universal challenges like character creation, dialogue, or story structure. Light, short, fun, and informative.

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips  (

Short snippets about common grammar questions and mistakes from someone genuinely enthusiastic about language-related curiosities. A low-stress and friendly opportunity to brush up on rules that all of us are a little shaky on now and then.

The Narrative Breakdown    (

Tips and techniques in creative writing and screenwriting. The hosts and their guests draw on their own writing and publishing experience to talk about a wide variety of topics.

DBSA Romance Fiction Podcast  (

Reviews and discussion of the romance genre by smart, funny women enthusiastic about romance novels. I don’t generally read romance, but I love this podcast. Why do I listen to a podcast discussing books I don’t read? 1) The hosts are awesome, 2) it’s really cool as a writer to hear readers adoring books, and 3) they find some amazing people to interview, often on subjects related to the business of writing. They’ve interviewed librarians on the pros and cons of ebooks, a publicist on how she connects books with the reviewers who will love them, an author on what it’s like when your publisher goes bankrupt, and many others.

Papercuts Podcast  (

“Because YA needs to hear this.”

Reviews of young adult novels and movies. I love this podcast because the women who run it read the way I do: with a lot of snark and a lot of frustration at the horrible tropes that creep into books. Some episodes review a book or movie, some are author interviews, some just make fun of YA book covers, but my favorite episodes are those that discuss writing-related topics, including common YA story tropes, effective and ineffective strategies in book blurbs, and the etiquette of author-reader interactions.

So far, I’ve kept to writing- and book-related podcasts, but there are many wonderful podcasts that aren’t about writing, and I want to mention a few of them. After all, writing inspiration can come from anywhere, and I find the short, engaging format wonderful for sparking ideas. The following is a tiny handful of the non-fiction podcasts I love.

This American Life  (

The podcast of the successful weekly radio show. Each week has a theme with different stories on that theme, usually real-life stories about regular people in unusual circumstances. It’s a beautifully produced show and a wonderful reminder of how vast and utterly weird the world is.

Serial  (

A wildly successful spin-off to This American Life, Serial is an in-depth examination of a single story from many angles over multiple episodes. Its first season focused on a murder case from fifteen years ago and the continuing debate over whether the convicted man was guilty.

 Radiolab  (

Like This American Life, each Radiolab episode explores a theme, but the subject is science. Engaging and accessible, the focus is on surprising scientific phenomena.

Sawbones  (

“A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine.”

The hosts are a married couple: he’s a comedian, she’s a doctor, and they discuss the disastrous and bad-idea-filled history of mankind’s attempts to cure itself of disease. Hilarious, informative, and a little bit terrifying.

99% Invisible (

The show describes itself as “a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” Even if architecture isn’t usually for you, the host’s palpable fascination with anomalous buildings, odd objects, and overlooked details opens up wonderfully bizarre forgotten pieces of history.

If you’re at all interested in the podcast format, I highly recommend searching the iTunes store or another podcast retailer for any subject that interests you. There are many, many more podcasts I love that I couldn’t fit on this list, some comedic, some informative, and some just fascinating. It’s a fantastic medium and well worth exploring.



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