Girl sitting on the floor listening to music

Podcasts can be one of the most useful tools for a writer. They are easy to access, they are plentiful and diverse, they are FREE!, and they are something you can listen to while doing other tasks. Often reading is a key suggestion for writers, but sometimes this can be a little tricky for a number of reasons, but time management is a core one. Not many people have the wonderful luck to be full time writers, as such writing is something we do around our other work. Podcasts can be listened to on the drive to work, while doing chores around the home or while exercising.

Selecting podcasts is an interesting thing and most writers will find that a variety is the best option rather than binge listening. So here is what I would suggest:

1. Writing podcasts can be incredibly valuable.

They will offer a way to consider new writing strategies, they will include writing exercises, and they will be presented by other people in the same situation. One of the best I have come across is Writing Excuses (https://writingexcuses.com/), it is short (15 mins), to the point and, depending on the season you listen to, will have strategies for progressing a single piece of work.

2. General interest podcasts.

These can be history podcasts or general knowledge. The more esoteric the more inspiration can arise. This is one where you may just need to jump around and find what works for you. But here are some general suggestions:

The researchers for QI share their information on There’s No Such Thing as Fish https://www.nosuchthingasafish.com/

The unforgotten or the ignored parts of society with 99% Invisible https://99percentinvisible.org/

NPR news and politics on Embedded https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510311/embedded

Weekly updates on technology, science, culture, business and more at Wired https://www.wired.co.uk/podcasts

3. Specific interest podcasts.

The two I have listed below are still general but are valuable sources for writers. Not every episode may be of use, but it is a great resource to head to when you want to understand how to phrase something or how to incorporate a real-life situation into your story. What you would then add in this section is podcasts that meet the needs of a particular story area, such as real life murder stories when writing a murder/mystery or a podcast on medieval life and history if writing a medieval fantasy story.

Learn about language at The Allusionist https://www.theallusionist.org/

Want to know what a police line-up includes? Or how a game show works? General knowledge about real life how stuff works on Stuff You Should Know https://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts

4. Fiction podcasts.

Listen to other story tellers. I will add to this, try to listen to other stories outside of the genre you are intending to write in. These stories may provide ideas for formats, provoke diverse thoughts on scenarios or even help tonally set the scene for your own writing.

This is again an area that you will need to jump around and try out different things. It will often depending on what genre is appropriate or the type of story that offers enough difference to not feel directly in competition with what you are currently writing.

Two good websites to start with for selection are: