Showing posts with label podcasts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label podcasts. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 3

6 Inspirational and Informative Writing Podcasts

6 Inspirational and Informative Writing Podcasts

I love podcasts! Especially writing podcasts. I first started listening to them because I wanted to make the most of my time.

Because of podcasts, instead of just doing mindless housework I could (for example) dust and learn about how to be a better writer! And what used to be a mind-numbingly boring walk to the store turned into an educational foray into the finer points of publishing.

Basically, podcasts enable me to resurrect dead time. (Sounds deliciously gruesome, doesn't it!)

If you don’t listen to podcasts and suspect those who do are slightly—or perhaps more than slightly!—odd, I think the best way to explain them is by saying they're a bit like radio—if you could determine the content and then listen to the programs on the phone/computer/overlord device you carry with you everywhere.

If you're still on the fence, here's another incentive: podcasts are free! Download a few episodes and see if you like them. If you don't, fine! There's no commitment. If you do, subscribe to the podcast and your app will automatically download new ones as they become available.

To take advantage of this bounty, you will need to download some sort of podcast app. I use the one that came with my phone, helpfully named, "Podcasts." I'm sure there are better options out there! One app I've heard consistently good things about—in fact, because of the research I did for this article I've decided to try it out—is Overcast for iOS (that's NOT an affiliate link). If you're part of the android ecosystem, here's an article for you: 10 best podcast apps for Android.

Okay! You've downloaded your app of choice and are ready to get started. Or perhaps you've been listening to podcasts since they came out. Either way, here are ...

Six writing podcasts I listen to and have found enormously helpful:

1. Writing Excuses

From the website: “If you’re serious about letting Writing Excuses help you become a better writer, listen to one episode, and then stop listening, and start writing. Do the homework! Use the writing prompt.”

I love this podcast because of the back and forth discussion between the writers as well as the many interesting—and occasionally provocative!—points of view discussed. This podcast is educational in a multitude of ways, from going over the finer points of the craft of writing to getting a feel for the larger issues that affect the community.

2. Story Grid Podcast

From the website: “Join Shawn Coyne, author of Story Grid and a top editor for 25+ years, and Tim Grahl, struggling writer, as they discuss the ins and outs of what makes a story great.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to sit in on a discussion between a senior editor, one who has seen it all, as he shows a newbie the ropes. Excellent podcast.

3. The Creative Penn Podcast with Joanna Penn

From the website: "Podcast episodes will be posted every Monday and will cover interviews, inspiration and information on writing and creativity, publishing options, book marketing and creative entrepreneurship."
Joanna's podcast is inspirational and informative. Through her website and podcast, she has been a wonderful inspiration to me over the years.

4. Authority Self-Publishing

From the website: "Steve Scott is an Amazon bestselling author with over 60 self-published books on habits, productivity, and entrepreneurship. He’s built a consistent six-figure income as an author and now teaches other authors how to create a sustainable business around their books with his course called Authority Pub Academy."

5. The Writership Podcast

From the website: The Writership Podcast, a show focused on helping indie authors master self-editing skills. Come aboard and get ready to find the treasure in your manuscript with hosts Leslie Watts and Clark Chamberlain.

6. Kobo Writing Life Podcast

From the website: “Our main focus is on the craft & business of writing, providing valuable writing & publishing insights from some of the brightest minds in our industry.”

Every post I pick a book or audiobook I love and recommend it. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I’ve loved with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, Amazon puts a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post.

Today I'm recommending Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print, by Renni Browne and Dave King. From the blurb: "Hundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories."

By the way, if you listen to a writing podcast that has helped improve your writing please let me know in a comment.

Thursday, August 18

Make Your First Podcast On Your iPad

I LOVE listening to podcasts—I think it's fair to say that, apart from reading and writing, podcasts are my primary form of entertainment. Podcasts on nature, science, technology and, of course, writing. I've flirted with the idea of creating a podcast of my own, but how does one start? It seems there is SO MUCH one needs to know and do.

So, in an effort to educate myself about how to go about creating that first podcast, I've begun this blog series. Today we'll skim over what one needs to do to create a podcast—all the steps—and then, in this and future blog posts, we'll do a deep dive into each one. Today we'll talk about what recording software you might want to use as well as what your intro might look like.

 If I haven't covered something and you'd like me to, please do leave a comment.

Elements of a Podcast

I'll be going over each of these points in more detail, later.
  • Recording software: One has to choose a software package (or packages) for editing audio files that both fits your budget and does what you need it to. Then one has to install it and get comfortable using it.
  • Home studio: It's also a good idea to set up—even temporarily—a home recording studio. Obviously, if you buy professional equipment the resulting audio will sound best, but there are inexpensive improvisations that can make a marked difference in sound quality.
  • Music/sound effects: The key is to be sure that the music you use isn't in any way pirated. The rule of thumb I use for art is this: If it's not clear how the item is licensed then I don't use it. Happily, it turns out there are quite a few places on the web where one can find public domain music and sound effects. I'll list the links to the ones I've found.
  • Podcast format: Every podcast has what is called an intro and an outro. What information should they contain?
  • Hosting: After you finally have your finished audio file you need somewhere to host it. There are a number of different solutions and we'll go over the most popular.
  • Create your finished audio: You'll want to make sure that the sound is uniform throughout the podcast. You don't want your voice to be soft—encouraging your listeners to turn up the volume—and then blast them.

Recording Software

About the matter of sound quality, certain podcasts are created in recording studios—for instance, This American Life, Freakonomics, Nature—and the audio quality is, as expected, top notch.

Other podcasts, especially in the early days before the creators knew their efforts would be profitable, were recorded in carefully constructed home studios. Inevitably, the quality isn't as good but still okay. The question is: Is "okay" good enough?

 I think it depends on your audience. If care is taken in setting up a home studio, chances are most folks won't notice unless they stop and think about it. Hopefully, they'll be too engrossed by what you're saying to focus on the quality of the audio. Second, I don't think folks expect as much from a podcast as they do from an audiobook.

 I could be wrong, though. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!


Let's face it, there are a LOT of choices. Just google "podcast recording software." If I was doing the recording on my iMac I would just use Audacity. It has a lot of features, is easy to use, has been maintained over the years and—this is important, especially in the beginning—it's free. Also, the manual is actually helpful. I've used it for years and will continue to use it. Highly recommended. 

That said, we're interested in recording on the iPad (or iPhone), and unfortunately Audacity doesn't have a version for the iOS.

 I've experimented with several apps and, honestly, the only one I can unreservedly recommend is GarageBand. It's not free, but it is relatively inexpensive at $6.99. I have no doubt that there is better software but chances are it costs a lot more money. My goal here is to help those who—like myself!—have never podcasted before to get up and running relatively inexpensively.

Using GarageBand

Not being musically inclined, when I first launched GarageBand I was a bit bewildered. Fortunately, I came across an excellent YouTube tutorial entitled, "Recording a Podcast with GarageBand for iPad" by Skip Via. I've embedded it below.


 I worked through the video and ended up with a recording that wasn't completely terrible.

 A couple of things:
  • Turn off the metronome: Settings > Metronome Sound > Visual Only. I also set "Metronome Level" to 0.
  • Start/Stop Recording: Press the round red button.
  • Set "Song Sections" to automatic: There's a small "+" in the upper right hand corner, under the "?". Tap it and then select "Section A." Set it to automatic. This will let you record for as long as you have space to record.
Here's the recording I made (see below). Keep in mind that I recorded this on my iPad Air without using an external microphone. I think if I used a microphone the sound quality could be improved.

By the way, the quotation I read is: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work," by Stephen King.

 If you would like to edit the audio (and chances are you will) you could edit on your iPad using an app like iMovie or you could use, as I did, Audacity on your Mac.

That's it for today! Sorry for the long post. I've been working on this one for awhile. I hope you find it useful. If you do (or even if you don't!), please let me know! I would be interested to learn what worked for you and what didn't.

The next article in this series on how to make your own podcast:

Ever been curious about the structure of a podcast? Read on! Make Your First Podcast: Intro and Outro.

Other articles you might find useful:

Write That Story! Don’t Let Fear Win
Don’t Write, Bleed
Getting Motivated To Write