I am late to the podcast game.
I am a visual learner, which means when I’m in the car going places, I’m don't normally use that time constructively. I make phone calls (hands-free, of course) and listen to music. I’ve tried audiobooks, but unless they are seriously engaging (Rosamund Pike reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, for example) I have a difficult time with them.
But I wanted to use my car time more productively, so I subscribed to Elizabeth Gilbert’s MAGIC LESSONS podcast. I hadn’t read Big Magic yet, but I liked the idea of getting bits of inspiration as I drove around town.
And boy, did that work. I was hooked. I caught myself creating trips out just to listen. (I know, I could have listened at home, but I LOVE to drive, so…) When I finished, I told everyone I know to listen, and listen now, and I looked for something new to capture my attention.
I came across a podcast called WRITING EXCUSES. It has an adorable pitch— “15 Minutes Long, Because You’re in a Hurry, and We’re Not That Smart!”
OK. Totally in.
I scrolled for something that looked up my alley, for something I’d connect with. The proprietors of said podcast (Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells) all write in the fantasy, sci-fi world, so I worried for a moment that I was going to feel lost in space somewhere, but I love Sanderson, and what the heck, it’s fifteen minutes. (Though of course it has 12 SEASONS)
I picked an episode called “Elemental Thriller.”
Holy shit, people.
You know what’s totally awesome? Having people who don’t write your genre exclusively dissect your genre. I learned SO MUCH. A lot I already knew instinctively, I just hadn’t heard it phrased that way. But the most important thing was, I listened for five minutes and suddenly realized the essence of what was troubling me with my WIP—and fixed it that night. This particular episode was the key to allowing me to finish LIE TO ME.
I was hooked—again. I never expected something presented in a such a silly way to have such a remarkable effect on my writing. I of course went back to the beginning of Season 9 and have been systematically working my way in. I’m halfway through Season 11 now, and I am 100% convinced my writing is stronger, tighter, and more impactful because of all I’ve learned. The way they talk about story, about themes and elemental genres, just makes sense.
Highly recommend you listen, and try some of the writing prompts! It will help you think about your story in a different way, guaranteed. And hey, we all need to learn, right?