Podcasts are the new talk shows. Judging by the numbers, everyone loves them. Podcast listenership is up, year after year, and there’s no end in sight. Or rather, within earshot.
Many people I know listen to podcasts during their daily commute, while stuck in their cars or on trains. Others listen at the office, while they’re writing code or juggling databases.
As a writer who works at home, neither of those options quite works for me. I have no daily commute, so that’s out. I find it extremely difficult to listen to podcasts (or even music with lyrics) while I write and that accounts for the majority of my work time, so my opportunities to listen to podcasts are really limited. And that’s a bummer, because my list of “podcasts I want to listen to” is quite long.
This is my ode to the 30-minute (or fewer) podcast.
While I do, somehow, find time to squeeze in some of my favorite longer podcasts on a semi-regular basis (‘sup, Marc Maron?), I needed a better solution. A while back, I intentionally searched out shorter, high quality podcasts that I could squeeze into my work day. For me, a 30-minute podcast is the best, and shorter ones that still pack an insightful punch are always welcome, too. Oftentimes, I listen while I do research, marketing, or accounting work. (Sometimes I listen while I clean the house, although I’ll admit I tend to prefer some crunchy heavy metal during those times.)
These are my (current) favorite podcasts that span half an hour (or shorter).
The Writing Coach
Rebecca Weber is a freelance writer living in South Africa, and her podcast The Writing Coach has quickly become a favorite. It’s all about writing, both the business side and the creative side, and each episode is around 20 minutes or less.
It’s not an accident that Writing Excuses is a 15-minute-and-no-more podcast. It’s part of the design. With four hosts and sometimes a guest, this is a fast-talking, fast-thinking, extremely informative podcast, and it’s not just about writing.
The Writer Files
In each episode of The Writer Files, host Kelton Reid reveals the success stories, and sometimes the secrets, of accomplished writers in a variety of fields. Reid talks to writers about their habits, and taps into the methods behind their productivity and creativity. There’s always a good takeaway from this one.
99 Percent Invisible
The entire premise of 99 Percent Invisible is to delve into little known facts and trivia about things we often take for granted, like clothing items or drinking straws. It’s the perfect content to hear when you’re facing writer’s block or are just feeling a little stuck. 99% guaranteed to get you out of your own head.
Okay, so, yes, Story Pirates is a podcast intended for children. But what about that inner child of yours? That kid needs ear candy, too. On Story Pirates, the hosts take stories submitted by kid listeners and turn them into somewhat epic aural experiences, replete with music and sound effects, and it’s actually great. This is another good one to listen to when you’re feeling stuck and (bonus!) if you have kids they might love it, too.
Do you have a favorite ‘30 minutes or fewer’ podcast? Leave a comment and tell me what it is and why you love it.