• S.E. Burr

My Favorite Podcasts 2016

Lately I've been more aware of the sensation of time slipping away from me. We spend so much of our lives doing things that we don't want to do, many of which may not be very strongly aligned with our goals.

One way I've found to combat this feeling is to listen to podcasts while I'm doing something I don't enjoy, like driving or cleaning. Here are my favorites:

6. Writing Excuses

I have my brother to thank for introducing me to this podcast. He sent me a link to episode 11.19, a great episode about how writers describe clothing in their stories. I plan to use some of the tips from this episode in the science fiction book I'm working on (Current title is A Singular Second but that may change.)

This podcast is only 15 minutes long making it easy to fit into my day, but I often feel unsatisfied when it ends, like I may not have gotten as much out of it as I hoped. It's hosted by four authors, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Taylor, and Dan Wells in a conversational format. It's about the craft of writing and how to become a better writer.

5. Eight Questions

"Bestselling authors and creative entrepreneurs David Wright, Sean Platt, and Johnny B. Truant discuss life, work, and inspiration with other authors, artists and entrepreneurs."

The tagline on this one is "Great Artists Steal," the idea being that you can listen to the things other people have done to become successful authors, and use them to become successful yourself Unlike Writing Excuses, the hosts of Eight Questions aren't on all at once. They take turns interviewing guests. I've found this podcast to be variable in both length and helpfulness. It's very dependent on the guest they're interviewing. I've heard some great tips and interesting conversations. I find it useful enough to keep listening. The authors of this podcast wrote a book called Write. Publish. Repeat. about indie publishing, which I highly recommend.

4. Lore

My brother also introduced me to this one. "Lore is a podcast about the frightening history behind common folklore." I've only been listening to it a couple of weeks, but I'm really enjoying these creepy stories from history. I find it more fascinating than scary and I'm always impressed by the caliber of the storytelling.

3. Freakonomics Radio

I liked the book, Freakonomics, and this podcast is hosted by one of its authors, Stephen Dubner. He recently did a month of episodes about improving yourself. I loved those, but I also really enjoy the ones that don't have any practical application in my life. Every episode is really interesting and I always learn surprising, new things.

2. The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast

This podcast is hosted by Simon Whistler. It may be premature to include this in my favorite podcasts list since I just discovered it this week and I've only listened to two episodes, but those episodes were packed with good information. I think this podcast will be very useful to me.

1. Dear Hank and John

This is the podcast that introduced me to podcasts. That corner of my phone was just going to waste before. It's hosted by the brothers, Hank and John Green. I've been a fan of theirs for a long time. This is by far my favorite thing that they do and my favorite podcast, period. It's thoughtful, insightful, interesting, funny, and obsessed with death. I heard about it, a long time before I started listening to it because they describe it as an advice podcast. This is no Dear Abbey. Their advice is hilariously dubious. I find myself constantly jealous of their relationship with each other. I love the idea of doing a collaborative project like this with a close friend or relative. A big part of John and Hank's purpose and brand is promoting the idea of collaboration and working together. I'm trying to collaborate more with people in my writing and in my life. Progress is slow but steady. :-)

Honorable Mentions:

These are podcasts that I am not currently subscribed to, but that I enjoy and that I might subscribe to again in the future.

1. The Tim Ferriss Show

I like this podcast a lot. The author of The 4 Hour Workweek interviews fascinating, successful people in every imaginable field. He's really good at getting to the crux of who they are and what's led to their success. After listening to an episode of this podcast I'm left with great tips to improve in my career and in my life, and I feel like I've come to know the person he interviewed. The downside is that the episodes average two hours long and they're just very difficult to fit into my day and into the storage on my phone. I believe I found out about this podcast when he was interviewed on the Freakonomics podcast.

2. London Real

Danny Jones, a member of my current favorite band, Mcfly, and Matt Willis a member of Busted, and former member of the Mcfly/McBusted colab, Mcbusted, were both interviewed for episodes of this podcast. In many ways it's very similar to The Tim Ferriss Show. I really like the interviews he does with fascinating, successful people, but I just find it to be too long to keep up with. Also, lately there's a lot of promotion at the beginning of the episodes and I find that a bit annoying. Episodes of this podcast and Tim Ferriss's podcast would be great to listen to on a road trip.

3. This American Life

If you're familiar with the radio show on NPR, you know what this is. This American Life is interesting, surprising, and poignant. I never know whether it is going to be funny or sad, and I'm just not in a phase right now where I want to listen to a lot of sad things. I'm sure I'll start listening to this again in the future.

4. TED Radio Hour

They take parts of TED talks on a particular theme and combine them into a podcast. I like TED talks. I like this podcast, but they're not as in depth as the original talks, and quite often I have already heard a part of the episode because I watched the original talk.

What are your favorite podcasts? I'd love to get your recommendations for some good listening. Please comment below.

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