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Write at Night – Resources for Writing on the Night Shift

Writing, Publishing, Working on Your Craft – One Night At a Time

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Helpful Podcasts

How Do You Write? Podcast

I’ve really been enjoying Rachael Herron‘s “How Do You Write?” podcast.  It is relatively new, and up to 21 episodes.  I’m a knitter and had been following Rachael’s knitting blog for years.  In 2006, she completed NaNoWriMo and that manuscript was traditionally published in 2010.  It was with great pleasure that I attended her signing at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park in 2011 (and we knitter fans brought our knitting of course!). Since her NaNoWriMo debut, she has gone on to publish 13(!)  books in six years.  Incredible.

Length: Compact, less than half an hour

Format: Interview style.

I have enjoyed the guests she has had on the show and the questions she asks them.  Her guests have included Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo (1999) and also Grant Faulkner, the current director of NaNoWriMo.  Her questions are writing related and the responses have been so interesting.  She asks “What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever been given?”  and my favorite, “How do you refill the creative well?”  The answers give insight to probably any level of writer (newbie to veteran).

I appreciate that she is organized in her interview, delivers the consistent questions and respects our time.  She has a nice rapport with her guests and the podcast is enjoyable.

Rating: 5 stars

StoryShop Podcast

Winter Sun
Serene Lakes, California

In contrast to the Self Publishing Podcast, which features the same three writers, the StoryShop Podcast is a compact and helpful resource.

Length: 25 min.

Format: a 9 episode series, not including the intro episode.  I blasted through these in two nights of walking the dog.  All three of the authors contribute, and it is very interesting the way they discuss their collaboration.  I especially enjoyed the way they discussed their  “beats” process which is a writing term I had heard before but didn’t understand.

Another segment that I also found interesting is that when they build their character, they look through actors photos to find a starting point.  Not the same character, but that look and feel so that when Sean does the hand off of the beats to Johnny, Johnny has a sense of how to describe how that character moves and looks when he starts the first draft.

Rating: 5 stars

The StoryShop Podcast

The Story Grid Podcast

Kaanapali Beach - Maui Sunsets
Kaanapali Beach – Maui Sunsets

This is a relatively young podcast (less than a year old) and I came across it after the co-host Tim Grahl was a guest on The Creative Penn.  I absolutely love it.

Tim is the aspiring fiction writer, who comes to the podcast after nearly a decade of launching writers and his co-host is Shawn Coyne, an editor from traditional publishing with 25 years of experience in the book industry.

There are so many things to love about this podcast–the approach, the content, the knowledge of the co-hosts, etc.  I have recommended this podcast highly to my colleagues.  One reported back to me that she woke up in the middle of the night and spent two hours working on her foolscap after listening to this podcast for a week!

It is based off of Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid book, and I bought a print copy of it (worth every penny).

Length: about an hour

Format: short intro from Tim, then interaction between Tim and Shawn.  Often, Shawn is walking Tim through scenes Tim has been writing (and revising).  Shawn is knowledgeable and interesting.  Tim asks a lot of questions (same ones that a listener probably has) and keeps Shawn on track.  Highly focused content.  These are guys who are really interested in books, good stories and using a rational structured approach to improve a story.  They are respectful to each other and have a nice dynamic.

Rating: 5 stars

The Story Grid Podcast

Self Publishing Podcast

Dolphin sculpture, Monterey CA

I had never heard of these folks, but it was mentioned on an episode of The Creative Penn Podcast so I checked it out. I tried 2 episodes and couldn’t even get half way through the 2nd episode.

The three hosts, Sean, Johnny, and Dave have co-authored a number of successful series and they apparently have a quite a following.  Unfortunately, their writing talent does not really transfer to the podcast medium.  Instead, it sounds like 3 guys hanging around drinking beer for an hour or more and occasionally they mention something about writing.  The ADHD nature of this podcast doesn’t work for me.  I have my own drunk and rambling friends to hang out with in my spare time.

They also advertise proudly that they are “4% on-topic Guaranteed!”

Astonishingly, they have a rating of 4.9 stars on iTunes.

After reading their reviews, I find that that this podcast is like cilantro.  No middle ground.  Your mileage may vary.

On their website, they appear to have a selection of popular podcasts from the archive so I may dive in there.

Length: Hour plus.

Format:  They start to chat about writing and publishing about 20-30 minutes in.  I’ve decided to try a third episode and just fast forward to the thirty minute mark.  What I like: they start with sharing about something awesome.  I definitely like that approach but they go on and on.

Rating: 2 stars

The Self Publishing Podcast

(Photo: Monterey, California)

The Creative Penn Podcast

rocks

I stumbled upon this podcast first, and I’m glad I did.  This podcast is chock full of information about self-publishing, writing, and how to earn a living as a writer.  The host, Joanna, is from the UK so she has that posh accent which adds to the charm.  The content is incredibly useful and I find myself often taking notes from her episodes.  I did not start at episode one, as this podcast has been going on for many years and she has over two hundred episodes.

Length: Usually about an hour.

Format: She begins with a monologue, about 15 min before launching into the interview with her guest. Different guests every episode, but some repeats of guests that have appeared over the years.

For the impatient, you may wish to fast forward past the monologue.  However, for me, I find that she often discusses interesting new articles or trends of the week.  Even how current events might affect writers.  So for example, the first episode I listened to was shortly after Brexit.  She noted her personal position and then also explained that as many UK writers derive a significant share of their Amazon royalties in dollars, that in fact, UK writers would come out temporarily ahead given the pound falling.

I really enjoy this podcast and I also use it a directory of sorts to investigate new (to me) authors.  Prior to this podcast, I do not believe I had purchased even a single self published book unless I had been buying their traditionally published works first.  Now, I am discovering a number of new authors, which is fantastic.  More importantly, Joanna and her guests tend to do a deep dive into Amazon royalties, which is really fascinating.  After a week of walking the dog at night and listening to her podcast, I became a Patreon supporter.

My favorite thing: She greets the audience with “Hullo Creatives…” and it’s a wonderful affirmation.  As a host, she exudes a positive energy to the broadcast.

Rating: 5 stars

(Photo: Rock sculptures, Santa Cruz, California)

The Creative Penn Podcasts

 

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