Writing and Fiction Podcasts I’m Loving in 2015

These days I prefer listening to my reading, as opposed to absorbing books, news, and articles with my eyes.

I discovered this while pursuing my initiative to sit less and move more. We’ve probably all heard by now that sitting all day is terrible for us, and as writers we tend to sit plenty! To fight this, I now load up my iPod with audio files and head out for a productive ramble.

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On these Writing Walkabouts, I actually do more than just listen to stuff. I do a fair portion of my writing by dictation while on walks or pacing around at home. If you are interested in how I learned to create this way, check out my guide here (old version: new book version available June 24, 2015).

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As for listening, I consume fiction audiobooks as well as podcasts. The latter are mostly about industry news and writing craft information but I do subscribe to a couple short story fiction channels as well.

So here’s my list of podcasts I’m enjoying in 2015!

1. Adventures in SciFi Publishing

An awesome compendium of industry news and resources for speculative fictionists, including a wonderful guest lineup. Recently, the focus has switched to digital publishing (as opposed to traditional or physical books).

2. The New Disruptors

This one is still on my list for 2015 even though production is on hiatus because I’m still catching up on the archives. From their site: “The New Disruptors tells stories that provide practical inspiration about the way that creative people and producers connect with audiences to perform, cajole, convince, sell, and interact using new methods.”

3. Rocking Self Publishing

From their site: “Interviews with Top Self-Publishers, Every Thursday.”

4. The Creative Penn Podcast

Another option featuring tons of amazing guests, these episodes by Joanna Penn are always interesting and worth a listen.

5. Writing Excuses

This podcast’s episodes are awesome and described by the tagline: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Run by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells, the episodes feature special guests, a writing prompt, and an audiobook pick of the week.

6. Helping Writers Become Authors

Run by K.M. Weiland, this podcast covers the craft as well as writing lifestyle topics. Weiland is fun to listen to and gives plenty of illustrative examples.

7. TEDTalks Art

This spans more than just writing but I find most episodes very relevant.

8. On Being with Krist Tippett

This award-winning podcast is definitely a topical hodgepodge but somehow its episodes always apply to my projects, and my life! Definitely addictive.

9. Clarkesworld Magazine

I love the fact that this podcast features all of the magazine’s short speculative fiction in audio form, especially since my local library has denied my request to shelve the print copies. A new episode comes out on the 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of the month.

10. Lightspeed Magazine Podcast

Similarly, this podcast offers audio versions of some of the fantasy and science fiction short stories featured in the magazine.

11. WIRED’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy 

This podcast covers reviews and interviews about works of science fiction, including books, film, and other mediums.

12. Umano 

Not a podcast, but if you haven’t tried this audio news app or something else like it, you should! With Umano, professional actors read me my writing news. It’s awesome! The free version lets me subscribe to certain topic channels for a limited number of articles per day. Users do have to pay for unlimited article access.

Be sure to chime in with your favorites by leaving a comment below. These ears always need new ideas and recommendations!

Comic Con FanX15. . .Favorite Costumes and Panel Recap!

This year’s Comic Con FanX 2015 was of course fabulous so I wanted to give a quick recap of my panels followed by a dozen of my favorite costume pics.

I love panels as an opportunity to talk about my fiction and non-fiction work, and a way to meet others who are writing or creating speculative fiction in various mediums.

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The “Writing and Your Health” panel covered a lot of fascinating aspects of mental, emotional, and physical health for people who are creating stuff.

I loved hearing about how other panelists utilize principles of martial arts, meditation, and many other tools. It was also so interesting to hear about how creativity depletes dopamine, which is why it can be so stinking exhausting! So if you feel like writing your novel is like slogging through a bog (even though you love it!), maybe there’s a bonified reason. I’m excited to look more into how to use that information to continue to improve my writing productivity.

I talked a bit about my book HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015, which helps writers be less sedentary. Available on Amazon:

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The “Equality in Fiction” panel also generated some awesome food for thought. I loved thinking about different ways to approach diversity in works of fiction.

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I thought this discussion went in some cool directions, including defining what equality might mean as well as how privilege of various kinds influences writers’ struggle to succeed, and how to deal with all that.

I learned to never again sit where there isn’t a mic stand. I was proud of myself for not dropping the mic because I definitely talk with my hands.

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I wish every single audience member could have chimed in–actually, I feel that way about every panel! But especially this one. I hope we addressed the topic thoroughly. I know it is an important one to me and I really appreciated being part of this.

And lastly, here are some of my favorite costumes! I can’t believe the effort people put in. So cool.

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My Panelist Schedule for Comic Con 2015 #FanX15 in SLC

Comic Con FanX 2015

I am super excited to be a panelist at next week’s Comic Con 2015: Fan Experience in Salt Lake City, Utah. The last couple have been an absolute blast! 

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For all you writers, my book about how to save your poor wrists while amplifying your hourly word count came out a month ago: HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015. The first book in my middle grade series HULDUSNOOPS is also available, for those of you needing some Icelandic fantasy / sci fi in your lives (this should be all of you).

13 Advantages to Dictating Your Writing and What a Writing Walkabout Looks Like

Here is my panelist schedule, though you can also search for my name on the main event site or download the app. Please come up and say hi!

Friday January 30, 2015

2:00 pm: Writing and Health, Ballroom C

8:00 pm: Equality in Speculative Fiction, Ballroom C

I love going to Cons. The energy you get from being around that much nerdiness and creativity is palpable. And in the words of Stan Lee:

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So. Whether you are local or need to make the trip, it sounds like this is where you should be next weekend!!

But if you can’t make it, I’ll be posting about epic costumes and miscellany on Instagram which feeds to the right on this blog. 

Two Blogs Diverged…

This past week I’ve done a makeover on how I blog. I’ve been like Robert Frost’s traveler in the woods facing two diverging roads, only I’ve been trying to stradle both until I think I pulled something! So then it came to me. Frost said he couldn’t travel both and be one traveler, but he wasn’t dealing with cyberspace. I can be more than one traveler here.

So I’m duplicating myself by splitting my blog into two.

  • Here, on CindyGrigg.com I’m going to stick to my fiction writing life and adventures to include: research, inspiration, travels, and random musings. I’d like this blog to be more personal and conversational.
  • The Productive Author will be where I focus on my non-fiction writing including writing productivity and my new book series HOW TO WRITE LIKE IT’S… about how modern apps, software, tools, and tech in general can be levers, and ones that too many writers shy away from.

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After all, it’s almost 2015! There are tools to make writing easier. For example, check out my Writing App of the Week.

I just finally clued in that these may be two very different types of communities, so while there is obviously some cross-over between the two, this way I can keep my posts a bit shorter. I’ve been waxing verbose trying to cover both in one place.

Just wanted to ‘splain!

Oh, and happy #NaNoWriMo to all those who are doing it! I am and I’ve reached 12,000 of the 50,000. And yes, I dictated mine–8,000 words on Saturday. I’m telling you, there are reasons to learn dictation… So worth it. Happy writing this week!

13 Advantages to Dictating Your Writing

I began looking into dictation for several reasons. Like many people, I have experienced back problems which make it hard to sit at a computer and write all day. I’ve also had trouble keeping weight off since becoming a full-time writer. There, said it!

I’ve moved this to TheProductiveAuthor.com, so please click here to read the rest!

 

23 Productivity Tricks and Tips for Writers

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Productivity is just as important for creatives as it is for business moguls. But as creatives, we don’t have to follow the same old productivity advice. Instead, why not employ our creativity toward designing a writerly life we can actually live with?

Here are 23 such ways that got my mind churning:

1. Define and defend my first priority.

The advice to prioritize ‘first things first’ is ubiquitous but vital! Which things really are firsts for me as a writer?

Those firsts can change. Those firsts can depend on a strategy to sell versus writing what we love, or vice versa. However, we can cling to our lesser writing tasks out of fear of failing at what we most want (or need) to write.

To fight this, I do my drafting and creating first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh—not social media, not email, not editing, not strategy sessions—just pure content creation. Inverting this leads me to stagnation.

2. Keep both a to-do list and a not-to-do list.

I have taken this literally and every Friday morning I look back on the week and trim the fat. Now I have a running not-to-do list of all my distractions. It’s really empowering!

I like this process so much that I also have a not-to-buy list, a not-to-worry-about list, and a not-to-eat list.

I don’t dwell on these, in fact, I tuck these lists back away in a drawer so I can focus on the more assertive can-do, can-buy, can-ponder, and can-eat lists. But the not-to-do list is a helpful defining exercise.

3. Embrace technology tools.

This is a massive topic, so much so that I’m creating a separate site TheProductiveAuthor.com and a book series How to Write Like It’s…2015 all about technology for writers. These go live in the next couple weeks and I’m really excited. But here, suffice it to say, most writers I’ve met don’t leverage technology tools as much as they could. Desktop and mobile solutions, writing templates, apps, specialty writing software, dictation tools, research tools, social media tools…

4. Change Up Your Muses

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Yesterday’s muses can grow stale without us realizing it. I’m trying to stay open to new muses, from the oddest to the most everyday sources.

Recently, I rediscovered inspiration in the lost art form of aquamusicals!

You may like: Esther Williams and 5 Other Muses That Make Me Want to Write

5. Stop waiting. You don’t find inspiration, it finds you!

As much as I value muses, I get even more inspiration while actually writing. In my experience, inspiration is a by-product of being in motion rather than something which incites motion.

6. Consider a routine.

A writing routine must be sincere, meaning, just right for you.

Mine is still in progress but includes doing my most important writing first and going on a long walk every day like clockwork. When I create structural points in my day that I refuse to miss, I create a skeleton for all my fantabulous creative mumbo-jumbo to hang on.

7. Consider a writing space.

I say this hypocritically because my writing space is not a specified place, but many writers enjoy having a set, lovely work space.

As for me, I write while walking, while resting in whatever random place I’ve walked to, or lying down on my chaise. I go over how I do this in my upcoming book: How to Dictate Your Novel Like It’s…2015, on The Productive Author site.

8. Consider a writing uniform.

In the name of ritual, what might you don to signal you are officially on writing duty?

A couple years ago, I tried getting dressed like a business woman to write. That did not work for me. But I do have an ugly yet warm hoody I started calling my SuperHoody. It imbues my brain with special writing powers. It’s all about finding what weird thing is right for you.

9. Consider a soundtrack! 

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You have one for when you run. You have one for before dates or job interviews. You have one for cleaning the house. Why don’t you have one for writing?!

You may like: My Top Ten Songs to Write To

10. Be unreasonable or reasonable.

I say this because for me, over-the-top goals create energy. I have no real expectation of achieving them, yet they get me further than when I set a reasonable goal.

For other people that’s a recipe for discontent and feelings of failure. Play with these different approaches to goal-setting.

My vote is for ridiculousness and low expectations. Way more fun!

You may like: The Power of Ridiculous Goals

11. Embrace sacrifice.

To get anything done, I have found leverage through purposeful sacrifice.

This is an arithmetic of the universe that is supposed to be uncomfortable. But I have learned for myself that sacrifice gets me more than I give up. Not that we should overdo it. Moderation!

You may like: But Have You Been Willing to Get Crazy? 20 Ways to Sacrifice More to Be a Writer

12. Turn your environs into a machine.

Sometimes I’ve felt like my surroundings are running the show.

Recently, I stopped and realized that the only time in my life I’ve been totally organized was when I was a missionary for the LDS church, living out of one suitcase. Takeaway? I can’t manage very much stuff. Or rather, I don’t place much value on managing stuff! But being a slob inhibits productivity. I’ve learned to calculate how much stuff I can manage in the time I am willing to do so.

The more I try to make my apartment, car, and day-to-day goings-on a machine that works for me rather than me serving it, the better. That means getting rid of anything I haven’t used in six months.

It also means taking an opportunity cost interpretation of: What does standing in this line returning crap I bought and don’t need cost me in terms of writing? 

Taking several carloads of needless stuff to your local donation center like I did this past weekend may be the best writing exercise you do this week!

13. Exercise to fuel writing.

When it comes to exercise, I like the two-a-day approach. Mid-morning and early evening are great times for an endorphin-infusion. Thinking of exercise as regenerative rather than taxing has been a game-changer for me.

14. Eat well to fuel writing. 

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I’m a foodie and eating healthfully has been a long road for me–in fact, I still have miles to go on this one but thinking of food as fuel rather than entertainment has been another game-changer!

You may like: 5 New Insights on Vanquishing Sugar to Boost Productivity

15. Guzzle water to fuel writing. 

Many experts recommend dividing your weight by two to estimate how many ounces of water your body needs a day.

Basically, most of us need to get guzzling.

16. Try to Never Sit Longer Than 30 Minutes.

Even if I just get up and do a load of dishes, throw in a load of laundry, do a series of planks, or stand on my hands, I do my best to live by this. Chairs and couches are apparently silent killers!

I think doing intervals like this is why I’m able to focus on writing for 10-12 hours a day (but less, because again, I’m constantly taking short breaks). And I get valuable ideas in those down-times. Bonus!

17. Keep a writing journal.

A little navel-gazing can be absolutely revelatory.

When I first did this, I committed to just a paragraph a day. This is the only writing I do by hand, in an actual journal, and I just vent, vent, vent without self-editing or imagining that when I am J.K. Rowling someone will want to read it. No. It’s all spew. This continues to teach me tons about my own incongruities, negative thought processes of fear or self-sabotage, and more, which leads me to…

18. Jettison all mental and emotional deadweight.

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Whether negativity is coming from myself or others, I am the one who says whether these emotional and intellectual vampires stay or go.

You may also like: Sabotage! 7 Ways to Deal with Writing Saboteurs and MMA Fighter, Writer, and Performer Ramsey Dewey on Creative Worry

19. Say ‘no’ more in general!

I’ll admit that sometimes I’ve been too abrupt about saying no to opportunities and it’s because it’s very hard for me to say no. The result is that I can be cartoonishly emphatic in order to make myself draw boundaries.

But even if I need more finesse when I say no, my life has become so much better by giving myself this permission.

20. Reduce meetings to their smallest possible form.

To the previous point, and this will sound odd in a listicle about productivity tips, I do try to do less talking about writing and more actual writing, whether that’s working with editors, co-writers, writing groups, beta readers, or my own psyche.

One of my favorite productivity books is Death By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni, which advocates things such as having standing meetings, so that in 10 minutes everyone is too tired to keep rambling without focus. Wanting to sit down can make you highly focused.

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21. Write differently.

I dictate much of my writing these days. It takes practice but is absolutely worth it because I can be less sedentary. Just changing my mode of writing throughout the day can also help me get out of a slump.

Again, my book on dictation comes out next week (just in time for NaNoWritMo!) so check for it here or at TheProductiveAuthor.com.

22. Read differently.

I also listen to my reading more than actually reading these days. Audiobooks. Text to speech utilites. Umano, an app where professional actors read you the news or articles from popular sites—awesome!

23. Consider being more unreachable.

I get multiple complaints a week that I’m difficult to get a hold of even though I return messages within the day, just not immediately. I usually only check social media, email, and phone a few times a day, including text messages at times. Part of me feels bad for not being more in sync with where culture has gone, but I also don’t know that being insta-vailable at all times is all that healthy. And I definitely know it’s not all that productive for a writer. Admittedly, I’m not a mom yet. 🙂

What did I miss? Feel free to comment!