I have written several times about how much I love the writing podcast Writing Excuses, but since the last time I talked about this excellent production at length was nearly a year ago, I figure it’s time for a friendly reminder. You may have missed that post (and all the subtler mentions that followed), and I’d hate to think you were therefore missing out on this fabulous resource.
First of all, for the uninitiated, a podcast is a digital audio show similar to traditional radio, but hosted online and distributed via web-based and mobile apps. I have often talked about my love of audio books (and the fact that listening to a book is not cheating.) Podcasts offer similar benefits in that they are portable and allow for multi-tasking. Though I’m all for immersing myself in restorative silence, I am also all about learning. While quiet and classical music have their place in my routines, when I have a physical task that needs doing (running the vacuum, collecting and hauling the trash, folding laundry, etc.) there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find me listening to an audio book via Audible or a podcast via either Stitcher or the native iOS podcast app.
Writing Excuses is currently only available via the iOS podcast app. (It’s actually the only reason I still have that app on my iPhone.) Each week, the panel of professional writers posts a new episode that deals with a topic related to craft, publishing, the writing life, and so on. The show’s tagline (“15 minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.”) perfectly encapsulates the show’s vibe. This is a fun, brass tacks kind of show featuring in-the-trenches advice from people who write for a living. (And, for the record, these are not one-time authors, but seriously prolific, serial authors with many titles and awards to their names.)
I should mention that each of the four regular hosts write in genre fiction, specifically fantasy and SciFi. However – and this is important – even if those genres are not your cup of tea, this podcast is still definitely worth a listen. Although there are some episodes that focus on very specific genre issues (such as world building or magic systems), most of the discussions include valuable insights and advice that can be applied to any type of writing. Even the podcasts that deal with seemingly genre-specific topics and tips usually include some higher-level observations that are universal to all writers.
Some of my favorite episodes are the “Microcasting” episodes which feature questions from listeners and fast, to-the-point answers from the expert hosts. There isn’t a single question that this group can’t handle.
Equally as important as the quality content is the level of fun these writers have. They clearly have a fabulous relationship and their camaraderie extends to include their audience. Tuning in to Writing Excuses feels to me like meeting up with writer friends at the coffee shop. There is a lot of good natured ribbing, wild tangents, and a fair amount of old-fashioned tom foolery. Despite being grounded in the hard-earned knowledge of these very respected writers, the podcast has a casual and welcoming feel that is less like a classroom and more like getting to listen in on a really great conversation among friends.
Last, but not least, is the fact that this podcast (unlike most other writing podcasts I’ve listened to) is short. As the tag line promises, each episode is only fifteen minutes long. Can you invest fifteen minutes to learn more about your craft? Listen in the car. Listen while you’re waiting in line to pick your kids up from school. Listen while you wash the dishes or fold the laundry. Listen … well, you get the idea. There is a huge backlist of episodes available (the podcast is in its ninth season), so you’ll never be at a loss for something to listen to.
So, that’s my spiel.
Writing Excuses – an excellent writers resource no matter what type of writing you do (or aspire to do). These guys (and gal) will educate you and inspire you. They will make you feel like one of the gang and give you the kick in the pants you need to do what you need to do. As they say at the close of each show, “You’re out of excuses. Now, go write!”
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 the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.