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Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Monday, November 30, 2015

6 podcasts that have helped me advance my writing career

Over the last few months, I've become a major podcast listener; almost every day, I listen to some portion of a podcast, sometimes several episodes, and I have no idea why it took me so long to convert to listening to them! I think I was convinced that my mind would wander too much, or that I was too linear to focus on them, or to truly absorb what I was hearing. But over the past few months, I've been listening to podcasts to help me grow my writing career and business, along with reading the work of authors recommended on these podcast, such as Jennifer Lee's excellent Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur (want to know more? Here's a great interview of Lee by podcaster Tiffany Han).

While I haven't listened to every episode of all the podcasts listed below, what's been remarkable to me is that even when I've only heard a few episodes, I've learned a lot from them. When I say "a lot," I mean practical steps that I then apply in my daily life and work. Not every episode will completely relate to my job, but another thing that's stood out is how much I can glean from people whose careers differ from mine. Even when the subject is writing, if you peruse the podcast episode offerings, you'll see all kinds of writing: writing books, writing essays, writing fiction, writing blog posts, writing for LinkedIn, etc.

The first podcast I started doing a deep dive into was Raise Your Hand. Say Yes. by Tiffany Han, which I've gushed about before. Most of the people she interviews are artists of one kind or another. Me? I'm not and likely never will be a visual artist. I can barely draw a stick figure. I'm not crafty. But the area where I've learned the most from these guests is about business, and that's an area where I am learning by leaps and bounds. I feel like I'm a very young person soaking it all up like a sponge. The best part is I get to apply these lessons, such as offering an early bird discount for my next Litreactor online erotica writing class. Plus I'm packing to move in January (just a block away, but still a pain) and listening to podcasts is something I can do while I stuff endless books into boxes!

You can listen to the first episode, the most recent one, or just pick which topic or guest leaps out at you. These will likely be of interest to those who aren't writers too, but if you're a writer or creative person of some kind, I especially recommend them. I've highlighted my favorites of the episodes I've listened below, but really, start wherever you want. And let me know what you think!

Beyond the Prose

behindtheprose

Sometimes I think people don't want to know the nitty gritty of writing, how many hours of researching it took to craft 800 (or 1,000 or 2,000 or 10,000) words, how much transcribing and digging and cutting and revising and agonizing. But for those who do want to know, host Keysha Whitaker goes there. These are long episodes, and very insider baseball about much of writing, but worth it. I'm looking forward to listening to the episode where she interviews essayist Dinty W. Moore. I especially like that Whitaker shares her own writing ups and downs, including rejections, and encourages listeners to submit their work, but submit it smartly and study their markets like they would study any other subject. The interviews are great, but the shorter updates by Whitaker that start the podcast are perhaps the most inspiring, because they are so honest and relatable.

My favorite episodes

Sharisse Tracey on how she got bylines in The New York Times, Salon and elsewhere
Jennifer Niesslein on her literary magazine, Full Grown People
Lee Gutkind on creative nonfiction

The BinderCast (you can also read about it on the BinderCon website, and if you're in Los Angeles, I encourage you to check out their March conference)

bindercast

BinderCast is new, which means you don't have to listen long to catch up and stay current! Also: check out BinderCon if you're in or near Los Angeles. It's a conference for women and gender-nonconforming writers happening March 19-20.

My favorite episodes

Roxane Gay and Emily Gould - especially recommended if you blog or write online
Jillian Lauren on memoir and permission


Raise Your Hand. Say Yes.

raiseyourhandsayyes

My favorite episodes

Creativity as an Asset with Jennifer Lee - Jennifer Lee is one of numerous smart creative people I've found via this podcast. I follow everyone who's interviewed because they teach me so much.
Jason Zook, who sold his future - I also bought Jason's book, written when he was Jason Surfrapp (he changed his name as part of his business model), and was inspired by his story and very novel, daring approach.
Todd Henry on honing your authentic voice - yes, yes, yes. Also, yes, the third podcast guest whose books I've bought based on hearing him on the podcast.
The myth of passive income - Brava! Han breaks it down that, sorry, there's no free lunch. There's hard work in pursuit of your dreams.

Solo-Ish (click here to subscribe in iTunes)

soloish

My favorite episodes

Host Lisa Bonos' parents' origin story - First, I think it's ballsy of Lisa Bonos, editor of The Washington Post's Solo-ish section, which I've contributed to, and host of the podcast, to interview her parents. But even more, it's ballsy of them to go there and talk about sex and dating and commitment and how they got together in a not-straightforward fashion.
Freezing your eggs - This one was tough for me, because I'm too old to freeze my eggs, and possibly too old, at 40, to get pregnant. But it's an interesting listen (ha ha, Freudian slip, I'm actually listening to a podcast as I type and I wrote "lesson" at first).
Cooking on dates - I've only cooked for people I was already committed to, not when we were still in the getting-to-know-you early date stage. So what's good to cook, and when? This episode explores that.

Write with Impact with Glenn Leibowitz

writewithimpact

My favorite episodes

Tim Paige on growing your email list - sometimes I hear the words "email marketing" and want to immediately erase them from the existence of the English language. They sound so corporate and business-speak. But...but but but. Paige actually makes a lot of sense and marketing and branding and reaching readers are topics I'm personally interested in and ones I want to learn about so I can share them with my students.
Sarah Wendell on romance - my boyfriend walked in just as she was saying the words "cock," "pussy" and "arousal" - she breaks down some of the major romance subgenres and does a great job discussing the modern romance market
Sean McCabe on growing his business with writing - I don't count how many words I write a year, but I'm still impressed both with his million words a year and his take on writing.

Writing Class Radio

writingclassradio

There's a lot to be amused by here, like the fact that this podcast is sponsored by host Andrea Askowitz's brother, that it has a homespun feel and that it's a podcast of a class, which is a little unusual. But when you dig deep into the stories, they are wonderful and break down the process of writing into its basic parts. I'm linking to Soundcloud because that's the easiest way to link individually, but they are also on iTunes.

My favorite episodes

"The Hardest Thing to Write About" - have tissues handy. Wow.
"What is the Story You Tell About Your Relationship with Your Mother?"
"The Lies We Tell" - I've been a liar and I've been lied to. Haven't we all?

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