Monday, December 22, 2014

My Podcast Addiction

Hello. My name is Susan. I am addicted to podcasts.

At first, my obsession with podcasts started with listening to a few book programs or maybe an episode of This American Life. But then someone told me about Serial…and that was it. I was hooked.

After binge listening to eight or nine episodes (yes…I came to it late), all I thought about was Serial—the people, the events, the accusations. But I also realized something else—something that allowed me to justify my addiction. I discovered that I was also listening to this podcast as a writer.

If you haven’t listened to Serial yet, you really should give it a try. The episodes are available online for free at, and you can listen to them on your computer, if necessary. I downloaded them from iTunes so that I could have them with me on my drive to work each day. The episodes vary in length, but I have always been entertained and curious about what is coming next.

What I love most about Serial is that it is an excellent example of storytelling, and it only took me a few episodes to realize that I was learning all kinds of things about writing I started picking up on ideas about constructing characters, choosing point of view, the value of proper pacing, the complexities of plotting, and how to structure complex stories. 

After I caught up with all of the episodes of Serial, I wanted more. I didn’t necessarily want more podcasts like Serial (because those are hard to find!), but I did want more podcasts for writers and/or about books. Talking about books, authors, publishing, and writing inspires me as an author, so if you think you might need a shot of inspiration, give some thought to listening to podcasts.  

In my search, I found some great podcasts that are very well done and provide a lot of great discussion and information. Here are a few of the podcasts I now love as a reader and a writer... 

[NOTE: Each of these can be found on iTunes.]

Books on the Nightstand: The website’s “About” section states that Books on the Nightstand “strive[s] to bring you great book recommendations, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the world of books, bookstores and publishing.” I really enjoy listening to the two hosts, and they have some really interesting episodes. 

BookRiot Podcast: Another podcast heavy on book news and information.

BBC World Bookclub Podcasts: This is a great resource for author interviews and discussion of books. Many of the authors are literary fiction writers, but most are well-known names, and there is always a good bit of discussion about writing.

The Narrative Breakdown: This is probably my most favorite podcast for writers. The discussion is always lively, and you can get a lot of great advice about different aspects of the writing process.

Kobo Writing Life Podcast: Another excellent writing podcast. I've found great interviews (I loved listening to Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor and Park), and I hear lots of good information on here. 

Again, this tiny list just scratches the surface, but they are a good place to start. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments section! Happy listening!

Susan Sierra is a historical and contemporary romance writer. She loves books and old letters, adores her dog and family, and has a deep and committed love affair with coffee. She spent time as an undergraduate studying (having fun) in Mexico, went on to work for a large regional magazine as a copyeditor, and then decided that she hadn’t tortured herself enough in she went to graduate school. After many years, she walked away with a PhD and an unhealthy relationship with Charles Dickens. She hopes to complete her first full-length novel in 2015.


Aidee Ladnier said...

Hello, my name is Aidee and I am also a podcast addict. Great article, Susan!!! Although my podcasts are science-heavy (because I love to write science fiction, no doubt), I also have a healthy amount of storytelling. One of my favorites is a monthly podcast called The Memory Palace in which the narrator tells about one solitary moment in history and somehow makes the audience care and empathize in the span of just a few hundred words. I want to do that someday...

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Writing Excuses is amazing. It features Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal. I learn so much.

Off to check out others I hadn't heard of.

Susan said...

Aidee, I love it! I will have to check out that one. Have you listened to "Welcome to Night Vale"? So much fun!

Susan said...

Tasha, that one sounds great! I will check it out. Thanks!

Aidee Ladnier said...

All Hail the Glow Cloud, Susan!!

Ali Hubbard said...

I'm going to try serial! And thanks for the other recommendations. It really helps.