In Our Time, Podcasts, Rex Factor, Saga Thing, Sword and Laser, The Tolkien Professor, The Writer's Edge, Writing Excuses
As I alluded to in one of my posts last week, I like to listen to podcasts. The primary time when I get the opportunity to listen is when I am going for a run, which will hopefully start to happen more often now that the weather is warming up for me. I used to listen to music when I ran, thinking the rhythm and familiarity with the song would keep me motivated to push through and enjoy running farther and longer. It was perfect for about 30-minutes or so but I found something lacking. It wasn’t enough to make me want to run, just enough to keep me going for a while.
Next I tried listening to audiobooks while running. It took several failed attempts before I found a book with a good enough narrator, with an interesting enough story and good pacing, to keep me motivated while running. That book helped me get through some long runs, including a half-marathon, but when it came to its eventual end I had no desire to try and discover a new audiobook to listen to exclusively while running. I already listen to audiobooks during my daily commute. I wanted something different.
That is when I discovered that podcasts are perfect to suit my needs.
There are a number of podcasts out there, and I have already discovered that not all podcasts are created equal. But it is almost a guarantee that if you have an interest of some sort, there is at least one podcast out there covering that interest. Even if it is only several episodes covered here and there.
I have a go-to podcast for running, but I also mix it up with a few others. So here are a few of my favorite podcasts to listen to and what you can expect to discover when listening:
Writing Excuses – I came across this one when I was looking more into what other books Brandon Sanderson wrote after reading Steelheart. Their tagline is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart” and most of their episodes fall in the 13-18 minute range. There are a ton of episodes in their archives covering all sorts of topics that writers want to learn more about and they are currently in their tenth season of producing this podcast. This is my go-to podcast for running because I can listen to one on a shorter run and several on a longer one. They currently put out a new one per week, so you will never be short on episodes to listen to.
The Writer’s Edge – This is a newer discovery for me, but I have really enjoyed it. This is a newer podcast and only has six episodes so far, but the content is excellent and the delivery of the information is entertaining. You can find them on YouTube as well, so even if you don’t want to take it with you there is a way to listen at home and enjoy the sage advice from this team of writers.
Sword and Laser – This podcast is, essentially, a book club podcast with a pair of hosts that are entertaining. If you are interested in Fantasy or Science Fiction, their discussions will certainly touch upon books to add to your TBR list and topics to keep in mind as both a reader and a writer. This would be an excellent way to also keep abreast of current trends in the writing industry because they spend time talking about current books as well as older ones.
The Tolkien Professor – This podcast may have a narrower appeal to some, but to a Tolkien fan like myself this will become a favorite. The Tolkien Professor has podcasts covering all of Tolkien’s major works, going through them either chapter by chapter (The Hobbit and The Silmarillion) or in manageable chunks (The Lord of the Rings). He also delves into some of Tolkien’s shorter works, and even into some of the Tolkien contemporaries and other stories in similar genres such as Faerie Stories. I learn a lot every time I listen to one of his episodes as he explores things in such detail that I wish I could attend his lectures in person.
Rex Factor – Looking to set your story during a point in English history? This will be invaluable, as they have already covered every one of England’s kings and queens and are currently working their way up through Scotland’s monarchs now. Not only is it good for historical research, but it is also a lot of fun to listen to.
Saga Thing – This has become one of my true favorite podcasts to listen to. They cover the Icelandic Sagas, one at a time, and discuss the events that take place and then pass judgments on those sagas with categories like Best Bloodshed, Best Witticisms, and Best Nickname. Each saga concludes with the two hosts each drafting one person from the Saga to become one of their Thingmen. They are currently covering their eighteenth saga with more episodes coming all the time. They also do some mini-episodes to cover certain aspects of Icelandic culture or history. As a newcomer to the Sagas and all things Icelandic, this has been a wonderful podcast to listen to and enjoy.
In Our Time – A podcast put out by BBC Radio 4, this is where I turn to if I need a primer on a subject or time period or even a work of literature. Odds are they have already done an episode about it. This is certainly an interesting place to dabble in arts, sciences, history, literature, and more.
Have you listened to any of these great podcasts? What podcasts do you, as readers or writers, listen to on a regular (or semi-regular) basis? Leave a comment below and I look forward to discovering some more great ones to add to my list in the future!