Writing is all about community. It might not be the first thing we assosciate with writing – we all know about the mythical long, dark nights of the soul when a book is supposed to pour from you to the page. While we might be lucky enough to experience thesenights from time to time, in most cases writing is just a lot of hard work. It’s repetition, dedication to your craft and trusting in your story, while at the same time you’re worrying about those mundane things like how you’re going to pay the bills. This is where community comes in handy, even if it’s just to reinforce that you are not along.
It can be difficult in our busy daily lives to fit in time to get face to face contact with other writers. Joining a local writers group is a great start, but as I can’t attend my writers group all the time, I get my fix from podcasts. There are a great number of excellent podcasts on writing and literature out there, but for my part, these are the five podcasts I’m listening to right now.
1. Better Words
Better Words is hosted by Caitlin (who blogs at Just A Bookish Babe) and Michelle (who blogs at The Unfinished Bookshelf). At first, listening to this podcast is like sitting down at a local café with a couple of friends, as they talk about everything related to books they’re currently reading, shows they’re watching and generally what’s happening in their daily lives. Then it gets into the nitty gritty, when they start talking to authors, book bloggers and anyone who works in the world of words. They’ve interviewed prolific young adult authors such as Ellie Marney, Carly Findlay and Gabrielle Tozer, so if you’re a reader or a writer you’ll find something of value in this podcast.
Better Words covers a whole range of topics on the podcast, such as what it means to be an author, what the current YA scene is like (their conversation with Adele Walsh is awesome!!) and how their featured authors got their work published. There’s also a hearty dose of Caitlin and Michelle’s favourite books, movies and tv shows interspersed throughout the podcast, and I’ve picked up a few of my new favourites from their recommendations!
As a podcast that they’re not being paid for, it’s totally understandable, but the quality in some of the episodes isn’t perhaps as polished as you might be expecting it to be, but nevertheless their content is honest, insightful and fun.
Oh, and one last important point – Better Words has started to host a Book Club! At the end of the month they will have a book to discuss (April’s choice was Margot McGovern) and host a discussion on Twitter. So far, the authors themselves have been able to join in too! Interacting with your favourite authors and chatting about their books? Can’t ask for anything better than that! #BWBookClub
2. Starving Artist
The title says it all, doesn’t it? This podcast is hosted by Honor Eastly, and at its heart, Starving Artist is an exploration of trying to make life work as a creative without actually becoming a ‘Starving Artist’. It flies in the face of that expectation that artists should be starving or expect to be martyrs in order to practice their craft.
This podcast sadly only has about 13 full episodes and I am eagerly waiting for Honor’s return, but they episodes that are available packed full of honest accounts from people working in their creative industries. The title of the first episode was what got me hooked on this podcast to begin with – ‘F#ck Plan B with Tom Dickins’. In this episode, Tom reflects on quitting his job, without the safety net of savings behind him, and deciding to make a living off his art. Talk about flying by the seat of your pants.
3. Hashtag Authentic
Sara Tasker of Me and Orla hosts this podcast and has a variety of guests featured in each episode. There is something calming and mindful to this podcast, and it can be a nice relaxing one to listen to perhaps at the end of the night or if you’re taking a walk somewhere. Sara chats to her guests on a range of topics, but they all focus on how to build your business as a creative.
I say that this podcast is a calming one to listen to, because in most of the episodes I’ve listened to there seems to be a mindfulness aspect to what the topic is. It really challenges me to think about my career as a creative, and what I really want from it. It also encourages you to own your work, and to not be cowed by fear or the thought of failing.
I’m just starting to get into this podcast, so I don’t have as much to say about this one as I did with the others. However, I’ll just leave you with this quote from the episode with Kate Swoboda on Building a Courage Habit:
‘Live your life in service to what makes you feel alive.’
4. The Garret: Writers on Writing
Hosted by Nic Brasch, I came across this podcast through the Writer’s Victoria newsletter and thought I would give it a go. This podcast started off with an interview with The Illuminae Files authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (apparently, the two of them met due to a shared anguish over the tax system in America…yikes). The Garret has hosted a wide range of authors, including Hannah Kent and recent Stella Prize winner Alexis Wright, and they talk about everything related to the writing life.
This podcast hosts a rather large back catalogue of episodes, going back to 2016, so there’s quite a few to sink your teeth into, and the production value is high quality. The focus of this podcast really comes down to how the writers being interviewed choose to work, and you can pick up quite a few tips and tricks as the podcast goes along.
5. Hamish and Andy
Okay… does this one have anything to do with writing? Not really, but all work and no play makes Ash a dull girl, so this is my podcast for when I need a break from all that writing business. These two loveable larrikins gave the public what they wanted by continuing their podcast, so this podcast is a discussion with ‘the people’ (also known as Hamish and Andy’s listeners). Notable funny moments are any stories to do with Hamish’s adorable son, Sonny, and ChitChat Champions. Worth a listen if you need to have a laugh.