Katie Forrest

Writing About Creativity, Special Needs Parenting, Time Management & Life Dispatches.

The Best Podcasts for Writers in 2020

I’m a total podcast geek.

I love to listen whenever I’m driving, or walking the dog, or doing errands. They’re the perfect way to fill a small pocket of time when you might not be able to get much value from starting an audiobook.

Here are my favourite podcasts as we begin 2020. While not all of these are about writing, I find value from them all and think you might too.

01: The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn. One of the longest-running podcasts on the business of writing and being a creative entrepreneur. Joanna is very positive and brings an optimistic slant to everything. She’s also very future focused and interested in voice technology and AI, so her episodes skew towards those topics in a way other shows don’t. Her podcast is one of the few I listen to every week regardless of what the topic is.

02: The Rebel Author Podcast by Sacha Black. This is a relatively new show, up to episode 10 as I write this, and you may recall that I was interviewed in episode 7 about time management for writers (the only episode I haven’t listened to because really, who needs to hear their own voice?!). Most episodes are interviews with a skew towards being a creative rebel, but Sacha has started solo-shows as well about her own journey as a fairly new full-time creative entrepreneur. This is the only other writing podcast that I listen to every week without fail (apart from when I’m on it!).

03: Best of Both Worlds by Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger. Not a writing podcast, this show’s focus is on women who combine big careers with families, and how they do that. If you’ve really been paying attention, you may recall that I was interviewed back in episode 78. I talked about juggling demanding work with raising a child with additional needs. I should say that two of my top three podcasts being ones I’ve been featured on isn’t vanity, it’s a reflection of how incredibly fortunate I’ve been to have been welcomed on to two of my favourite shows. This show skews towards high-earning women with disposable income and discusses things like how to organise big career and big family, how to manage both parents travelling for work, childcare options and more. I really enjoy it.

04: The Writer’s Well by Rachael Herron and J Thorn. This podcast focuses on wellbeing, with each episode centring around one particular question. I’ve discovered this podcast fairly recently and at a time when wellbeing is very much on my mind, so the questions posed by Rachael and J, and their discussions, are really helpful. Rachael and J have a brilliant chemistry which makes them a really good duo to listen to.

05: Choose FI by Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa. I’ve spoken on here before about the financial independence movement and Choose FI in particular, and it’s an area that I really think all writers and creatives should look into and consider, especially as income for creatives can fluctuate and be so uncertain. I’m a self-professed know-nothing when it comes to finances and numbers, and my history with personal finance has been pretty grim (but also pretty typical). I started getting to grips with turning things around last year and discovering the Choose FI podcast was a big part of that. It’s easy to understand and actually fun to listen to. It’s an American show and I’m in England so there are some things that aren’t applicable to me, but the majority of the topics covered on the podcast will be valuable for you wherever you live.

06: Six Figure Authors by Lindsay Buroker, Joe Lallo and Andrea Pearson. Another fairly new show, on episode 19 as I type this, and this one is more advanced and granular than some of the others. There are specific takeaways in each episode.

07: How Do You Write by Rachael Herron. Yes, the same Rachael Herron from The Writer’s Well. This show is Rachael alone, interviewing authors about their writing process and with some solo shows mixed in. In fact, my favourite episodes have been some of the solo shows, like the one where Rachael opened up about sobriety and another where she read aloud an essay she’d written about sleep. (I was interviewed in episode 144.)

08: Beyond The To Do List by Erik Fisher. Oh, come on! I had to include a productivity podcast! This show typically interviews a productivity guru about a specific area of time management, organisation, productivity and similar. I’m a total geek for this subject so of course I love this podcast, and if you have any issues with being as effective as you want to be, you might benefit from it too.

09: The Author Biz by Stephen Campbell. As I write this in early 2020, the last episode of this show was in July 2018. I remain subscribed to the show because I hope Stephen will one day return to the show! I suspect his work behind the scenes at LMBPN is keeping him far too busy, but I can dream. This show was one of my absolute favourites when it was active. Stephen has a great interviewing style. He’s got quite the corporate career behind him and yet he is incredibly humble and always looking to learn. If you read this, Stephen, please bring the show back!

10: The Taylor Stevens Show by Taylor Stevens and… Stephen Campbell! I listen to this show for two reasons – it’s one of the few I’ve found that focuses on writing craft, not the writing business. And it gives me a dose of Stephen Campbell. Each episode sees Taylor talk through a particular craft issue, with examples. It’s really useful.

11. Wordslinger Podcast by Kevin Tumlinson. This show mainly features interviews with authors and other creative types, together with Kevin’s great drawl of an accent as he gives his own personal updates and commentary on industry news.

12. The Happiness Lab with Dr Laurie Santos. This is one of the most professionally put together podcasts that I’ve ever listened to. It’s fairly short episodes focused on actionable tips and steps towards happiness. It’s very professional and research-driven, not at all woo-woo.

13. The Self Publishing Show by Mark Dawson and James Blatch. One of my most established podcasts in the indie writing space, and another that’s really professionally put together. Most of the interviews are carried out face-to-face, with James travelling around the world to meet the guests. As you might imagine, the show attracts some big names interviews are a mix of success stories and more focused topics.

14. Being Boss by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. This show focuses on owning and running a creative business, and while it isn’t writing focused there’s a lot of information on here that’s valuable for writers.

15. Rise by Rachel Hollis. This is a motivating, uplifting personal development podcast by the owner of The Hollis Company and author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologising.

16. The Tim Ferriss Show. Tim is such a smart guy, and his podcasts are fascinating. They can go long, but they’re packed with value. His episodes cover all types of topics, so I pick out the ones that appeal to me. The last one I listened to featured Tim reading aloud some of the rejection letters he received when he approached people to be interviewed for his book, Tribe of Mentors. As a lesson in how to say no with grace, it was incredible.

17. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. I follow Stoicism and I subscribe to The Daily Stoic as an email. It’s a short, daily reading and this is simply each day’s entry in audio. I don’t listen often, as I prefer to read them, but if I’m going on a walk and want to ponder the day’s entry again, I can listen to it in a few minutes and then devote the rest of my walk to thinking about it.

18. Writers, Ink by J D Barker and J Thorn. Yes, the same J Thorn from The Writer’s Well. This is another family new entry, on episode six as I write this. It raced out of the gate with Hugh Howey as the first interviewee, which gives you an idea of what you can expect from this show as it moves forward.

19. Great Writers Share by Dan Willcocks. I’m delighted to add this one in as the show returns from a short hiatus! I have the pleasure of calling Dan a real life friend and he has a really natural interviewing style that makes each episode go deep in detail.

These are a selection of my favourite podcasts, not all writing related but I believe all valuable for a creative entrepreneur.

Do you have a favourite not listed here? Drop a note in the comments and let me know!


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