Run, don’t walk, to listen to Inside Creative Writing

inside_creative_writing

If you’d like, you can listen to this post.

I am a writer, but I am not yet the writer I want to be.

I have had very little in the way of formal training. I do not have a college degree or an MFA. I have taken a few, scattered writing courses (most recently a class on writing fantasy at the wonderful Grub Street in Boston), but mostly I’ve cobbled together random bits and pieces – like a magpie collecting shiny things to adorn its nest.

Though my journey has followed a somewhat circuitous path, I believe that I have made progress. From a seven-year-old scribbling in a notebook that I pilfered from the supply closet at the bank where my dad was a VP, I have evolved into someone who makes her living with words – crafting content for my marketing clients, writing a column for my local paper, and even occasionally penning a feature piece for a regional magazine.

But, I am still not the writer I want to be.

I ache to write fiction, but as a single mama workin’ this gig, I can’t easily afford time to play in the speculative and financially unstable world of fiction. The writing that pays my bills takes precedence. Making time to practice and study the craft of fiction is a challenge for me, to say the least.

Enter the power of the podcast.

Those of you who’ve been hanging around here awhile already know that I am a huge and unabashed fan of audio books. If it weren’t for audio books, I’d probably only manage to read a handful of novels each year. But with Audible in my pocket, I am able to “read” while I walk, drive, do the dishes, run the vacuum, etc. It’s a beautiful thing.

Podcasts are another audio format that allow me to connect with content while I’m doing something else. I have been listening to several marketing podcasts for a while, but only recently decided to investigate writing podcasts. Long story short, I struck gold with a brand new podcast called Inside Creative Writing.

[Author Note: Sadly, Inside Creative Writing appears to be on hiatus. I’m not sure if Brad will return to podcasting, but am hopeful that he will manage to get back to the mic one of these days. In the meantime, his archive of existing recordings is still very much worth a listen … or, two.]

Brad Reed is the writer and educator behind this podcast. As a frequent podcast listener, I can be a bit of a critic, but this guy is doing a fabulous job. His shows are highly informative, entertaining, and actionable. I frequently pause in my walk to jot down a note so I don’t forget what he’s said about a particular technique or insight. He has put a lot of thought into his format – alternating one-man shows with interviews and always including a couple of closing elements – “Wise Words” (inspirational and thought-provoking quotes) and a writing assignment (not a prompt, but an assignment on applying the techniques discussed in the show). His production quality is great, his show notes are thorough, and he even has a way for listeners to participate in the show by leaving him a voicemail with a quote for the Wise Words segment, which he then edits into the actual show. (You can hear my debut appearance in Show #8.)

Can you tell I’m a bit of a fan?

The thing is, we’re only eight shows into this podcast, and I have already learned SO much. Reed covers topics in a way that is clear and non-threatening. He makes great use of examples to bring each of the concepts and techniques to life. He isn’t afraid to take deep dives on a topic, making sure you – as the listener – really have a chance to fully absorb and process the idea. Also (and this counts in my book), he’s a really nice guy. I emailed him a quick note of appreciation and wound up having a very pleasant email chat. I can tell that Reed is doing this with his community firmly in mind.

I really can’t recommend the show enough. I was talking to a group of writer friends earlier this week about our favorite writing resources – the go-to books, blogs, and magazines that help us get a handle on what the hell we’re doing. All the usual suspects came up, but then the conversation took a turn as one of the writers sputtered, “They’re all great, but I never have time to read them!” Too true.

I subscribe to Poets & Writers. It’s an excellent magazine (probably one of the very best on the topic of writing). I always learn something when I read an issue, but – like my friend – I can’t always find time to read them. As a matter of fact, I have four unread issues sitting in a pile next to my desk right now. I feel guilty and frustrated and a little defeated when I think about how long those magazines have been sitting there, waiting for me to find a few minutes to crack their crisp covers. Alas, I don’t see that happening in the near future. However, the Inside Creative Writing podcast is filling that gap in my education quite nicely. I can honestly say that I am learning as much (if not more) about good story writing by listening to Reed as I would poring over the pages of Poets & Writers. (And, that’s saying something!)

I guess the most telling thing I can say about how much I like the show is this: I’m willing to pay for it.

In the most recent episode, Reed invited listeners to become supporters by making a voluntary donation to help offset show costs. He called it the “public broadcasting model.” I immediately went to www.insidecreativewriting.com and clicked the “Donate” button. I plunked down $36 – what I might pay for a year’s subscription to a quality, writing magazine – and was happy to do it.

After all, I can certainly forego a few lattes in the name of becoming the writer I want to be.

.

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

26 thoughts on “Run, don’t walk, to listen to Inside Creative Writing

    • Thank you, Sheri. That means a lot.
      (Your blog is fascinating – glad to “meet” you here!)

  1. It’s so inspiring to find someone who you can connect to and also learn from – there are so many people out there with writing ideas, tips and advice, but a lot of it is lost when it isn’t taught well. I’ll have to check out Brad’s stuff! 🙂

    • I hope you do check Brad’s podcast out. You’re right – the “nuggets” are few and far between. Always so delighted when I find a “keeper.” 🙂

  2. I will check this out Jamie. I often listen to a Ted Talk in the morning or read a bit of something to get me fired up. Will add podcasts to the list of inspirational pieces.
    As for reading your Poets&Writers – stuff one in your handbag/tote so it’s always at hand. Read at a doctor’s office, waiting for your daughter at karate, etc. Five minutes here, ten minutes there and over the course of a month, you’ll be able to get through most of the articles of interest without taking time out of your day attending to more important projects.

    • Hi, Laura! 🙂

      I LOVE TEDTalks. I should see about listening, although those are usually better to watch because sometimes they have visual aides and such.

      Good idea re: the magazines. Maybe I’ll move them to the car and see if that helps! TKS!

  3. Thanks for the tip! I’m downloading the podcasts now. I too have a shelf full of neglected writing books and magazines due to the never having time to read them problem (any time I have available for writing I like to spend writing). So I’m looking forward to hearing the wisdom on offer through podcasts.

    • So excited that you’re already downloading! I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do. Hugs to your neglected books and magazines. 😉

  4. Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to listen! I am also a huge fan of audio books – they make my commute much more enjoyable! I love the idea of listening to podcasts, too!

    • I know what you mean, Jennifer. When I first discovered audio books, I started looking for excuses to drive places just so I would have more time to listen. I’ve also been known to park in the driveway, turn the engine off, and sit until I get to the end of a chapter. 😉

      Enjoy!

  5. This sounds great. So understand what you mean by right now the writing you do must pay the bills – but it’s not a waste of time – the brain cells are absorbing and simmering. You will be that writer.
    Thanks for sharing this discovery

    • Hello, Phil! 🙂
      You are right. No writing is a waste of time. I used to worry that all the non-fiction and marketing writing I do would somehow handicap my fiction writing, but I think the opposite is true. Any kind of writing is about trying to connect to the reader in some way. Done correctly, it’s all stories of one kind or another.

      Thank you for your encouragement. One day, one story at a time.

  6. Thanks so much for this tip. I love audiobooks (father of two, so my eyes are frequently preoccupied) as well. I started listening to these podcast an was immediately hooked. Reblogged this post over on my website.
    Neil

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  9. Thank you to you and all the writers of this blog. I have been following it since last spring. It is the first blog I plunged into. Tiptoeing into the world of social media, I started a blog in January. Needing to learn so much and being crazily curious I have hit a stage that demands more time to educate myself about everything “blog”. Your podcast idea thrills me because I can listen to it while hiking. I often listen to NHPR but right now I think spending that time listening to writing focused pod casts would help me and interest me more. Thanks for all your insights, tips and inspiration–past, present and future.

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