Monday, August 13, 2012

Developing Your Writing Skill #4: Listening to Podcasts

by James Duckett

Four weeks ago I blogged on how writing is more a skill than a talent. Since it is a skill, it can be developed and improved. The last three weeks I've blogged on developing that talent and the fourth bit of advice is to LISTEN TO PODCASTS.

Podcasts are online episodic media (most often, audio) that people can subscribe to and download as new episodes become available. There are podcasts on virtually any topic, and writing it no exception. The nice thing is that you can download them onto your media player or phone and listen to them at your leisure. There are a handful of podcasts that I listen to and I'll list my favorites below.

1) Writing Excuses. Writing Excuses is, by far, my favorite writing podcast. They are pretty religious at getting an episode out on a consistent basis. And each episode contains golden nuggets of information. Despite having compiled hundreds of episodes, I could count on one hand how many times I've thought, "This one didn't apply to me." The hosts are experienced writers Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal. They also have great guests from time to time to mix things up and add to the discussion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

2) Grammar Girl. Grammer Girl is grammar-extraordinaire Mignon Fogarty. These come out consistently as well and are often quite short (rarely does she hit 10 minutes). She thoroughly goes over the rules of grammar and does an excellent job on how to write properly in almost any circumstance. You would be surprised how complex the rules of grammar are, which is why she often goes ten minutes to explain something that you would think should take a minute.

3) The Appendix. The Appendix was a favorite of mine but it has been on hiatus for a long time. It was informative and fun and I really hope it comes back. The hosts were (the hilarious) Sarah Eden, Robison Wells, and Marion Jensen. On a side note, Robison is Dan Wells' brother (see Writing Excuses) and those two have been doing a podcast of their own called "Do I Dare to Eat a Peach." Very enjoyable, though they do not focus on writing.

4) Wordplay. Wordplay is another one that seems to have disappeared and I hope it comes back. This one had James Dashner, Nathan Bransford, and J. (Jeff) Scott Savage. Looking at their website it appears they added a new host (Janette Rallison) but I haven't heard any episodes with her yet. I just hope this means there are more in the works!

Are there any podcasts that you also listen to? List them below in the comments. While researching this post I came across a few others that I wish to give a listen to this week, so I will probably update the above list with a few more suggestions before next week's post (that means you should come back). But if there are any you suggest, point me in the right direction and I'll give them a listen.

Until next week when we discuss Developing Your Writing Skill #5: Writing Blogs.

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