Guest post by Randi Beck
My current day job involves equal parts mind-numbing monotony (think walking very slowly through a grocery store while using a calculator) and twenty or so Billboard pop songs played on loop (think Maroon 5—all day, every day.) So rather than sink further into a Sisyphisian state of depression, I said screw the no-headphones rule and started downloading podcasts.
It turns out you can find a podcast on pretty much anything, including writing. I have found some to be surprisingly motivating and/or educational. I have also found some to be terrible. So I have weeded through dozens of podcasts to bring you this weekly list of recommended listening, which will heretoafter be known as “Sunday Sound Bites.”
Some of these will focus on craft and productivity, others feature author interviews, and some are just good writerly fun. A few may not be about writing, specifically, but should prove useful in developing your writing habit or motivating you when the going gets tough. I hope you’ll find at least a few that you enjoy.
So without further ado, here are the first three offerings for your listening pleasure. A nice way to spend your Sunday evening and/or to listen throughout the week!
A writer’s podcast if ever there was one. This show is all about storytelling. Each episode gives you tips and tricks for developing your craft, with the occasional author interview and story analysis using popular novels, TV shows and movies. It’s hosted by Cheryl Klein (publisher, editor, writer) and James Monohan (director, cinematographer, editor). At a very listenable 20-45 minutes with very little chit-chat, this is an especially good one for podcast newcomers.
You know that sort of great self-help book you picked up that one time and were embarrassed to be seen with it but wouldn’t stop reading it so you put it in the book jacket of a Murakami novel? Well, that’s this podcast. The host is something of a cross between high-energy fitness coach Jorge Cruise and spiritual guru Wayne Dyer. Comprised mainly of 30-90 minute interviews with highly successful people of all walks, the show focuses on helping you meet goals, increase your productivity and improve your life. A few good starter episodes:
- “John Assaraf: Unlock Your Brain’s Full Potential”:
- “Create Powerful Habits That Make You Happy with Gretchen Rubin”:
- “The Five Minute Rule to Change Your Life with Mel Robbins”:
If you’re looking for something wholesome to enjoy while you drive your kids to school in the morning, this is definitely NOT the podcast for you. However, if you’ve had it up to here with the daily onslaught of CNN headlines, commuter traffic, and spam mail and you’d just like a solid hour of humorous, occasionally raunchy, unscripted satire to get you through the day, then let the downloading begin.
The show is hosted by “Orson Wells,” who interviews one or more dead authors and hilarity ensues. Authors are played by the likes of Andy Daly, Maya Rudoph, Jen Kirkman, and so on. It is bawdy, irreverent, and usually hilarious, but some are definitely better than others. I’ve also voted it podcast most likely to make strangers think I’m crazy as I’m walking slowly around the grocery store tapping my calculator and snickering to myself. Recommended: The Brothers Grimm, L. Ron Hubbard, Fitzgerald, & Joyce. Not my favorite: Virginia Woolf, Nietzsche & HP Lovecraft.