Podcasts are the best on-the-go inspiration for creatives and book lovers. Here are my 6 top podcasts for firing up your learning about books, blogging, writing and creative entrepreneurship.
Listening to podcasts – my experiences and tips
If you’re not listening to podcasts, now’s the time to start! And if you are, you know the joy of learning and connection it provides, so here are my hot tips and recommendations.
Whether it’s commuting on the train, driving in the personal space of your car, relaxing at home with a cup of tea or when you are exercising or cleaning, make use of that time to feed your creativity and help you prepare for future action. Take the time to learn about new people, new skills, new books, new ideas.
I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time now, mostly because I live in a fairly remote place and have a long drive or train trip to anywhere. I cannot tell you how much I have learnt over the years from listening to podcasts. It’s like sowing seeds you can harvest straight away or down the track in so many ways.
Some people worry about not being able to take notes on the go. But I say, just relax, listen, let it all wash over you and soak in. If you love a podcast and want to take more from it, take the time to listen again with a notebook and pen in hand.
I’ve connected with people I’ve met through listening to podcasts; they’ve shaped my writing, coaching, self-care and reading practices. I know a hell of a lot about self-publishing, being an indie author and successful author mindset, information built up over years that I’m now armed with for the next steps.
I’m focusing on brand, blogging, social media and creative entrepreneurship at the moment as I shape new practices around coaching and writing so I’ve been listening to some new podcasts to skill up and be motivated around that.
I love books and reading, so podcasts help me to learn about new books, revisit old ones and discover classics I’ve never read or even heard of. Book-focused podcasts celebrate and share the pleasure of reading and creating books and so are very precious, like kindred souls.
And a tip for me – go with the unexpected and unusual! You never know what you might learn. I’ve learnt so much from podcasts that initially looked like they had nothing to do with my sphere of interests. Like this episode: Discipline and Practice in Writing and Swordfighting with Guy Windsor on The Creative Penn podcast. Easy to skip over as you think: what’s swordfighting got to do with me? Turns out plenty, so keep your eyes and ears open for the unexpected and broaden those horizons and connections.
So, here are the 6 inspiring podcasts for creatives and book lovers that I’m listening to right now! Links are in the title.
1 The Creative Penn Podcast – Joanna Penn
The Creative Penn Podcast launched in March 2009 and is up to Episode #323 as I write. I’m proud to say I’ve been listening pretty well since the start. I also support Joanna via Patreon because her shows are simply awesome. They cover “inspiration and information on writing and creativity, publishing options, book marketing and creative entrepreneurship“, I have learnt so much from Joanna about being a writer, an indie author, the book industry and a successful creative entrepreneur.
Joanna is a fabulous role model in writing and self-publishing and I’ve followed her journey as she left her day job and became over time a successful six figure author and creative entrepreneur. She is the most generous person, always giving insights into process, learnings and mindset based on her experience.
The podcasts include updates from Joanna about her writing, creative life and business as well as a round up of key trends in publishing, especially indie publishing. Joanna celebrates and embodies that self-publishing as an indie author is not a vanity thing, but a way of having an inspiring and self-directed creative life. Worked on over time, it’s a lifestyle that can also support you well financially too.
Some favourite episodes that have influenced me deeply with changed practices, connections and ideas:
Use your own life story to bring depth to your writing – with Steve Pressfield
How to find your author voice – with Roz Morris
Self-care and productivity for authors – with Ellen Bard
Productivity for creative people – with Mark McGuinness
2 Hashtag Authentic – for Instagram, blogging and beyond – Sara Tasker
Fast becoming one of my favourite podcasts, I’ve been busy listening to the backlist of Hashtag Authentic and every one is brilliant! Developed and hosted by Sara Tasker, who is on Instagram as @me_and_orla, it’s filled with creative inspiration for Instagrammers, bloggers and online creatives. With 167,000 followers on Instagram and a ton of practical experience, Sara is an Instagram coach and photographic influencer. Each episode is so full of tips shared in a spirit of support and co-creation. I’ve learnt about the journeys of so many amazing Instagram influencers and creatives – and all this has sparked so much creativity.
Some favourite episodes that have kindled ideas and supported creative practice and productivity:
Creating your ideal working week – with Jen Carrington
A social media, blogging and Instagram Q&A – with Sara
The power of personal projects – with Xanthe Berkley
I love this quote from Ira Glass discussed in the personal projects podcast with Xanthe Berkley (full quote in the show notes at the link above)
Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
– Ira Glass
3 Make It Happen: a podcast for bloggers and creatives – Jen Carrington
After listening to the fabulous podcast chat between Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington on creating your ideal working week on Hashtag Authentic, I then made my way over to Jen Carrington’s website and her work.
It’s so practically encouraging and inspiring. Jen is a coach for big-hearted creative business owners and is based in Manchester, UK. Her blog posts are so helpful for those aiming to step up their own blogging work. And her podcasts are straight down the line insights, direct from Jen about such topics as:
You’ll need a pen and notebook for this one because every statement is a gem of opportunity.
4 The Secret Library Podcast – Caroline Donahue
Caroline Donahue is The Book Doctor (@thebookdr) and a woman after my own heart: a reader, a writer, a coach who works with writers and an introvert who works with tarot and story. And she is also a super podcast creator and host exploring the most fascinating topics. Caroline’s mantra is that “books are a map, not just an escape” and this podcast is about all things books – the reading, writing, publishing, creation and enjoyment of books – as maps for growth, creativity and enjoyment.
With a love of tarot and intuitive practice, these themes feature strongly in Caroline’s interviews and the subjects explored. Perfect listening for an intuitive, tarot-reading, book-loving soul like me!
The episodes are diverse and inspiring – here are some of my favourites:
Episode #31 Kim Krans on The Wild Unknown
Episode #35 Amy Kuretsky on the healthy writer
Episode #42 Ezzie Spencer writes by the light of the moon
5 Magic Lessons – Elizabeth Gilbert
‘Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear’ has been widely read and influenced so many people. It was a catalyst for me in finally stepping into my creativity and authenticity more wholeheartedly in recent times. Liz Gilbert created the podcast because she felt she wasn’t finished with the subject and wanted to have “real conversations with real people” about “roadmaps for the path to creativity“. I am so glad she did.
Each interview focuses on a chat with a creative person who feels they are thwarted in some way in creating their big magic in the world. Liz coaches them and connects them with a special creative person who can inspire them and help with their goals and overcome fear. We get access to so much creative wisdom through this connection.
It’s a powerful combination and discussion. People bare their vulnerability and are held in such a special place as they break through the fear. The conversations provide moments of clarity and breakthrough and have supported and fuelled my own creative breakthroughs. It proves for me yet again the power of story in creativity.
They are all fabulous so hard to pick favourites but ones that have especially spoken to me are:
Series 1, Episode 1 Do what ignites your soul
Series 1, Episode 9 Dear Creativity and Fear
Episode 204 “Who gets to decide if you’re a legitimate artist?” featuring Mark Nepo
But do listen to all of them – brilliant inspiration to create your work in the world!
6 The Casual Academic: A Literary Podcast
Billed as ‘literary discussion without the pretense – just good books‘ – that’s exactly why I love this podcast. Alex Johnson and Jacob Welcker, both based in Spain, share book love in a way that bridges academia with the every day.
As a person with a background in literature, it’s helped me reconnect with literary fiction. I’ve discovered books and authors new to me that are so fascinating, especially Clarice Lispector’s ‘Near to the Wild Heart’ and H P Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’. I’ve also been reminded of authors who I’ve loved reading that I need to revisit: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, Ursula Le Guin.
Starting out as a book club over Google Hangouts with friends all over the world, the podcast has retained that casual feel. But it’s backed in by informed, engaging and well-researched commentary. Just listening to the podcasts has helped me reconnect with literature. As a result, my reading list is growing but it’s oh so rich! Plus Alex and Jacob have the best voices to listen to as they read and chat – they have so much fun, it makes me smile as I listen and learn.
A couple of my favourites episodes:
Episode 13: Mirages, Dread, and the Unreliable Narrator in Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”
Episode 19: Narrative Techniques & The Thing Itself in Clarice Lispector’s “Near to the Wild Heart”
Keep in touch
I hope you enjoyed this post and that the podcasts mentioned inspire you. Let me know your favourite podcasts also – I would love to hear about the podcasts you love. Share via the comments, Facebook or IG as below!
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