Podcasts Are Saving My Life Right Now

Thursday, April 18, 2019
art by Wesley Fryer (Flickr.com)
The title of this post may seem a little extreme for some of you, unless you're a big fan of Jen Hatmaker's podcast, For the Love, like I am. She asks every guest on her weekly podcast at the end of the interview: "What is saving your life right now?" (Answers can range from serious, such as therapy, to silly, such as coffee or Netflix binging.) This question is from a Barbara Brown Taylor book, a memoir titled Leaving Church

So when I was thinking about this post, this question and answer popped up in my mind: "Podcasting is saving my life right now." And then I dug deeper to ask myself: why?

Working from home, sometimes doing menial tasks for my day job, and driving in the car, sometimes long distances, are the perfect reasons to listen to podcasts--along with walking, mowing the grass, and cleaning the bathroom. With my iPhone, podcast app, and earphones, it's so easy to have a funny podcast episode or information-packed episode entertaining me in seconds. I can't seem to listen to music and feel entertained in the same way, and watching TV while trying to do these tasks is just distracting and/or impossible. So podcasts save me from the absolute boredom that some of these tasks bring. It is the perfect solution. Plus, I'm learning so much from listening to them!

Besides the Jen Hatmaker podcast (which you should definitely check out the season that is titled, "For the Love of Books" if you don't check out every single episode, just like her number one fan--me--does), I also love Writing Excuses. This is a podcast with authors Dan Wells (horror/sci-fi), Brandon Sanderson (fantasy/sci-fi), Mary Robinette Kowal (fantasy/sci-fi/historical), and web cartoonist Howard Tayler. Their tagline is: "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart." 

You can tell just from that tagline--there's humor involved. These guys and this gal are in the author trenches and want to help all writers--beginners to advanced--navigate every part of a writing career from the actual crafting of fiction (characters, plotting, tension) to marketing and building a platform. I recently found this wonderful program, so I've only listened to a handful. But I've enjoyed them and take notes when at home (not driving or mowing the lawn). My marketing class students will be so thrilled to hear that I'm adding listening to this podcast to my syllabus. (BTW, you don't need a smartphone to listen to a podcast. You can go straight to the website, where all smart podcasters have their episodes downloadable from the web.)

The other "writing" program I'm currently listening to is the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast. This features Chris Syme (faith-based writer and award-winning marketer) whose mission is to help authors sell more books with less marketing. (Insert the heart-eyes emoji here!) She co-hosts this podcast with her daughter (SO COOL!) R. L. Syme (Becca) who is an indie author of cozy mysteries and historical romance, and who runs "Write Better Faster" .  The episode I started was the one titled: "Should You Start a Podcast?" and I think the advice was great. Chris's sincerity really comes through. I can't wait to check out some of their other episodes.

And why did that particular episode catch my attention, dear Muffin readers? Well, because I am 95 percent sure that I'm stepping into the podcast world with WOW!'s and Angela's support. We aren't sure how it's going to look or who all will be involved (all the staff members are currently pretending like I have lost my mind and asking who can take on one more thing?), but I'm serious about this. SO serious that I have read Sheena Yap Chan's article on podcasts in WOW!'s issue 90 a few times now and wound up buying this book the other day:

I'm so excited about this! Ideas are flowing. Podcasts makes me want to read more, write more, and find new authors and topics to explore. They are definitely saving my creative life at the very least, if not my actual life, giving me something to focus on during the mundane everyday tasks that we all have to accomplish. So while you wait for me to figure out what the podcast's going to look like, check out those podcasts above or let us know one you really like in the comments below.

Margo L. Dill is a writer, children's author, editor, teacher, and writing coach in St. Louis, MO. She is soon hoping to add "podcast host" to her resume. For the time being, you can check out her writing and books at MargoLDill.com or her editing business at Editor-911.com. She also teaches a monthly novel writing course for WOW!, which you can check out here. The next one starts on May 3!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I've only listened to one podcast (Ear Hustle) and it was several years ago. I enjoyed it.

You certainly make a compelling argument for listening to podcasts. It's just not my thing (right now).

Angela Mackintosh said...

Margo, I'm so excited about the idea of doing a WOW podcast! I think podcast interviews are definitely more engaging than written ones, so it'll add a lot of value. I haven't listened to Writing Excuses, but that sounds fun. I listen to some great writing podcasts: Write-Minded, Writers on Writing, and Otherppl. And for marketing I love The Goal Digger podcast (Renee turned me on to that one). Let me know what you need to make it happen! I think you'd make a fantastic podcast host. :)

Renee Roberson said...

A WOW! podcast will be amazing! It's funny that I rarely listen to music anymore--I've always got a podcast playing instead and it does make menial tasks like vacuuming much more manageable. I have a friend at work who has been known to jog an extra few miles because she's trying to get to the end of a podcast binge! I love so many, especially the ones produced by Wondery. Imagined Life is a great example of storytelling, and I like Rise (Rachel Hollis), The Goal Digger podcast, Unsolved Murders, The Vanished, Hungry Girl Chew the Right Thing (for my weight management!) and a lot of the investigative journalism podcasts like Broken Harts, Dr. Death, Over My Dead Body, etc. And of course Jen Hatmaker :-)

Margo Dill said...

Hey Renee: Because I know you love podcasts and a little bird told me you were interested in possibly doing one some day with WOW!, I plan to email you with my plan when it is fully developed and I know what I'm doing. :) I hope to get you on board the WOW! podcast with me.

Sioux: You could try those Writing Excuses ones because they play right from your laptop and are super short. And they have just about every writing topic you could want--from beginning to crafting stories to publishing to marketing.

Ang: Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to check those out. I love how websites list the episodes so you can also choose which ones pertain to you and your career. So much good information out there nowadays!

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