Writers get their inspiration from all sorts of places — real life, current events, favorite books, other writers, their own imagination, and more recently: podcasts. Podcasts about writing have been around practically as long as podcasts themselves have been, (with the longest-running writing podcast on this list airing for the first time in 2005!) and they’re the perfect dose of advice, inspiration, and motivation — especially for working writers on the go. Because let’s face it: while most of us aspiring and/or working writers would love to pause our daily lives in favor of losing ourselves in a writers’ workshop for weeks, months, or even years at a time, for many writers that’s not so realistic. These podcasts — as helpful as a creative writing workshop itself, in many ways — might be the next best thing. (With the added bonus of not having to worry about your GPA and your muse showing up in a timely manner.)
Featuring the experiences of hundreds of writers working in every genre; practical tips on everything from grammar and character development to plot pacing and prose polishing; advice on what to do once you finally do have a manuscript worth publishing; and so much more, here are 20 podcasts just as good as a creative writing workshop — no homework (or tuition) required.
While we writers aren’t yet sure about a season three yet (though we’re keeping our fingers crossed) Magic Lessons with bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert features two seasons worth of creative inspiration. Offering advice, hope, and plenty of to-do lists to all sorts of artists — not only writers, but painters, photographers, dancers, and more — Magic Lessons will leave you motivated to recommit to that creative project of your own.
2Helping Writers Become Authors
Author and mentor K.M. Weiland is the mastermind behind Helping Writers Become Authors, a podcast that covers every in-and-out of the writing process: from idea generation and character development, to plot structuring and prose polishing, to fighting writers’ block and sustaining your story across the long expanse of a novel. If you love Weiland’s podcast, be sure to check out her tweets too — for when you don’t have time for an entire episode, she still offers tons of tips and writing prompts in 140-characters or less.
3So You Want to Be a Writer
Co-hosted by published journalists and authors Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait, So You Want to Be a Writer covers all sorts of things you'll want to know about today’s publishing world: writing opportunities, publishing trends, author gossip, and the latest and greatest news in writing, blogging, and publishing. Khoo and Tait also offer their own analysis of current publishing news, in addition to writing tips.
4The Narrative Breakdown
Though The Narrative Breakdown isn’t currently broadcasting new episodes, there’s a library of 52 info-packed past episodes available for you to enjoy. Co-hosted by Cheryl Klein and James Monohan, The Narrative Breakdown features discussions on the craft of writing and covers topics for working fiction writers, children’s book authors, screenwriters, playwrights, and more.
5I Should Be Writing
You should be writing — but first, check out the podcast I Should Be Writing, hosted by science fiction author Mur Lafferty. Airing for over 10 years, regular episodes range from five minutes to over 90, and in addition to covering an expansive range of topics concerning the craft, business, and career of writing, Lafferty also features tons of interviews with authors of a new or forthcoming work.
6Dead Robots’ Society
Inspired by Mur Lafferty’s podcast (see above) Dead Robots’ Society describes themselves as “a gathering of aspiring writers, podcasting to other aspiring writers” — so you know you’re in good company. With playful and compelling titles like “So Many Bobs!” and “Care and Feeding of Narrators” each episode features writing insights for fiction and novel writers.
With over 120 episodes around 20 minutes each, Writing Excuses will keep you in short, inspirational podcasts for weeks (or longer.) Hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells, Writing Excuses offers fast-paced and effective talks and tips about writing techniques and the writing life.
8The Writing University Podcast
If you can’t actually enroll in the famed Iowa Writers Workshop yourself, then this podcast might just be one of the next best things. The Writing University Podcast offers a library of recordings of events affiliated with the Iowa Writers Workshop, including craft talks, author readings, and various events hosted during the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
9Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach
Offering practical advice and easy-to-follow tips to writers of all ages and genres, Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach is a podcast designed to boost creativity, productivity, and confidence in your craft. Airing for the first time this April and hosted by writing coach Ann Kroeker (obviously), this podcast offers solutions for a wide range of writing issues and concerns — usually in ten minutes or less.
10Writing Unblocked with Britney M. Mills
Running 70 episodes long, Writing Unblocked with Britney M. Mills is the podcast for writers struggling with writers’ block. Mills interviews published authors while sharing her own insights and advice on the craft of writing, encouraging you to stick with your work, push past challenges, and publish the book of your dreams.
Learn about the writing craft, business, and life from some of the best writers working today. Particular to non-fiction writers and journalists, the Longform podcast features lengthy interviews with writers, focusing on new or noteworthy work and digging deep into how each writer got their start and where they’re going now.
12First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing
Featuring cannot-miss guests like writers Elizabeth Gilbert, Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett, and tons of other award-winning and bestselling contemporary literary greats, First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing is all about the excitement, creativity, energy, and inevitable pitfalls of the first draft. Host Mitzi Rapkin interviews a different author during each episode, who share firsthand experience on the ins-and-outs of getting through that beautiful, messy first draft.
13Write Now with Sarah Werner
Taking your writing off the page and into your life, Write Now, an inspirational podcast hosted by Sarah Werner, will help you find the necessary, healthy balance between work, life, and — of course — writing. Filled with encouragement, practical advice, and tons of inspiration, Write Now will leave you feeling more passionate and in better control of all the things you have to juggle in your average day.
14Creative Writing Career Podcast
Designed for aspiring writers in all genres, the Creative Writing Career Podcast features visual effects artist Stephan Bugaj, videogame writer Justin Sloan, and author Kevin Tumlinson, who share their thoughts, experiences, and tips for writing books, movies, video games, and more.
15Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
We can talk about the writing life and the beauty of craft all day long, but without the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of grammar, punctuation, and basic writing style, you’re not going to get very far. Good thing you can listen to Grammar Girl’s (aka: Mignon Fogarty’s) podcast offering “Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.” Plenty of helpful tips on great storytelling, structure, voice, and more are included too.
16A Way With Words
A National Public Radio program, A Way With Words is a podcast perfect for writers and word-nerds. Exploring language through the lens of history, culture, and family, A Way With Words features fun and funny conversations between radio show co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett and callers from around the world, asking questions about linguistics, slang, new words, jokes, riddles, word games, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, speaking and writing well, and more.
17Beautiful Writers Podcast
Writer Linda Silversten (aka: “Book Mama”) hosts the Beautiful Writers Podcast — an ongoing and in-depth conversation on writing, publishing, and creativity. Featuring tons of amazing guest writers, including Arianna Huffington, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brené Brown, Anne Lamott, Glennon Doyle, Dani Shapiro, and so many more, every episode includes advice and personal anecdotes from each author.
1810 Minute Writer’s Workshop
If you’ve ever wondered how great writers like Salman Rushdie, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Safran Foer, Caitlin Moran, Emma Donoghue, Colson Whitehead, Judy Blume, and others manage to get all their brilliant thoughts out of their heads and onto the page, the 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop will answer exactly that — all in around ten minutes or less.
19The Creative Penn Podcast
Hosted by author Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn Podcast offers a series of hour-long episodes about everything related to writing and publishing. From advice on finding and maintaining your initial inspiration, to tips on developing your craft, to information on publishing and marketing your work, Penn pairs her own words with guest interviews.
20The Newbie Writers Podcast!
220-plus episodes long, The Newbie Writers Podcast! is hardly a newbie to podcasting. Inspired by the motto: “Because talking about writing shouldn't be boring!” The Newbie Writer’s Podcast! is an upbeat and informative podcast designed to help you figure out what to do with your great book idea. Author interviews (and the occasional digression) are featured.