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Five Literary Podcasts to Get You Writing & Get You Published

By Erin Lunde

For some people, writing is an all-consuming practice that follows them throughout the day. These are the writers who work at their craft as their full-time job, dedicating entire days to writing. But for most people, writing is contained to a single pocket of time where they escape to the complex lives of made-up people or push through examining their life in memoir. Still other people wrestle with writing, finding it stressful yet rewarding.

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or an emerging one, an avid reader or someone who enjoys fiction occasionally, there is certainly something to be said about hearing other people’s thoughts on writing. These five literary podcasts are helpful, inspiring, and well worth your time.

Likely, you’re aware of The New Yorker: Fiction podcast, but did you know about The Writer’s Voice? Simply put, writers read their stories. But these are some of the best stories in one of the most renowned magazines for short fiction: The New Yorker. This podcast is released weekly and illuminates how differently a reader can experience a story when read by its author.

And then there is the reader. LeVar Burton invites you to take a deep breath at the beginning of each episode of this podcast before he fills each word he speaks with the acting prowess that lifts him up in so many people’s minds. He performs the stories he chooses in each episode and then speaks a little at the end about his relationship to the piece. The stories tend to lean toward speculative fiction, but he reads plenty of literary titles as well. Authors include Ken Liu, Louise Erdrich, and Percival Everett.

I remember when I decided to work on my writing. I finished reading three flash fiction stories in one sitting, and I sat up, newly determined. The stories themselves were great, but it wasn’t the stories that lit me up – it was the very fact that they were written. I had an immediate need to write like I hadn’t felt recently. I had, in that moment, clarity surrounding how to be a writer. It was simple and surprisingly hard: Write more. In the now-ended podcast series Start With This, co-creators of the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink discuss a variety of writing challenges and games that get you into the creative headspace. They end each episode by assigning you something to consume – music, another podcast, a book – and something to create. Even though the podcast ended in 2021, the content is evergreen and always inspiring.

I primarily write short fiction, and even though The Shit No One Tells You About Writing looks mostly at the business of being a novelist, I learn quite a lot about querying and publishing in each episode. In fact, I’ve come to understand that writing a query letter is in and of itself a challenging artistic feat. Not only are there interviews with writers of all kinds in this podcast, there is also a wonderful opportunity to learn from literary agents as they pick apart query letters submitted for feedback. Recently I attended a panel at a writers’ conference that included one author whose novel was picked up after she sent only eight query letters and another author who was rejected 278 times. This podcast is gold for writers who want to publish using the traditional route, and it serves as almost a master class in navigating publication.

Hosted by a book coach and a ghostwriter, this podcast is a wonderful mix of writerly advice and interviews. One of the most recent episodes I heard was a detailed account of the two writers’ joint effort to publish a book. They begin at the beginning – the concept, the map, the scaffolding – and then they take you through their partnership in finding an agent, negotiating a contract, and landing a deal. From this experience they created a book mapping product that will help with those non-fiction writers out there wondering about the traditional publication process.

The voices shared in these podcasts are both well-known and emerging and all are very engaging. I love these podcasts because they inspire me to improve my writing skills and they help me understand the traditional publishing route a little better. And, because they’re podcasts, I can take them anywhere at any time.


About the Writer:

Erin Lunde writes in Minneapolis, MN where she lives with her family of five. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Bangalore Review, Intrinsick, The Bluebird Word, and others. Lunde co-edits the Literary Mama Blog, writes for Erato Magazine, and runs Short Story Club online.


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