Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Great Source of Continuing Education for Writers: Podcasts

Last week I attended the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference. I attend two or three writer’s conferences a year and have for years. I attend for the continuing education value, fellowship, networking and to pitch my work to agents, editors, and publishers.

While attending the recent conference I realized much of the same content I was paying for was available for free in many of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. I had been listening to podcasts since June 2005 when Apple added them to iTunes in version 4.9.  I’ve learned never to assume someone knows about podcasts.

What is a podcast? It is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player. Typically podcasts are available as a series. One of the fun things about them is they are free. Subscribers can receive new installments automatically. You can listen to a podcast on your computer, an iPod or an iPhone or other smartphones.

They are a terrific way to get a free education. I regularly listen to several writing podcasts that I recommend. I find them both educational and motivational. Here are five that are helpful to me.
  1. Firsts in Fiction was created by Aaron Gansky to help writers navigate the tricky waters of writing. Of late, Alton Gansky, Aaron’s father, has been serving as co-host. The podcast comes from a Christian worldview. Alton Ganksy is the director of the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference. The podcast dissects elements of fiction writing each week. If you’ve ever wondered how to create memorable characters, unforgettable plots, or emotionally powerful prose, this is the podcast for you. It is a best podcast for Christian authors. Website:  Podcast: 

  2. Joanna Penn created The Creative Penn Podcast. Its audios are posted at least every two weeks. They cover interviews, inspiration and information on Writing, Publishing Options, Book Marketing and Creative Entrepreneurship. The podcast is exceptionally motivational and has excellent information on the business and craft of writing. She is a New York Times and USA Today, best-selling author. Website: Podcast: 

  3. Mur Lafferty created the I Should Be Writing podcast. I have been listening for a decade. Winner of the Podcast Peer Award and the Parsec Award, this is a show about a writer going from wanna-be to pro. Focusing on the emotional roadblocks one finds in a writing career, this show speaks to over 8000 listeners every week. Mur is the winner of the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She is one of the worst kept secrets in science fiction and fantasy publishing. She is also the author of the Shambling Guide Series. She also is a co-host of the new Ditch Diggers podcast dealing with the business of writing for pros. Website: Podcast: 

  4. Mignon Fogarty is the creator of Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing and the founder and managing director of Quick and Dirty Tips. A magazine writer, technical writer, and entrepreneur, she has served as a senior editor and producer at many health and science websites. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word-choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules.  Website: Podcast:  

  5. Justin Macumber created The Dead Robots’ Society podcast. It offers advice and support to aspiring writers. The hosts are all writers. Weekly they share their stories.   Discuss of topics important to the world of writing delivered in a fun and informal format is the thrust of the podcast. Website: Podcast:

Continuing education for writers doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes it is as close as downloading a file from the Internet onto your computer.

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