I’ve been struggling a bit with keeping my writing schedule on track recently. Procrastination has been taking over and things don’t seem to be flowing as well as they should. I came to the conclusion that I’d been spending a little bit too much time ‘doing’ and had forgotten that for me, creativity requires space, time, thinking, walking, reading, listening. I am a huge fan of podcasts so I decided to dedicate some driving time and some time at home to plugging into my favourites as well as trying a few new options. Hitting an interesting discussion or interview can be the difference between zero inspiration and ten new ideas for me, so I thought I’d compile a little list of the podcasts I find help me most in the inevitable moments of ‘stuckness’ that come with trying to be creative on the regular.
If you’re feeling a bit the same (or even if you’re not!), take a leaf out of my book and try out one or two of these creative listenings. Your creative self will thank me.
Here are my picks in no particular order…
- Magic Lessons – Elizabeth Gilbert
I have always been a big Liz Gilbert fan, but even if you weren’t an Eat-Pray-Lover, these Magic Lessons are essential listening for anyone who has ever struggled with their creativity.
The best part: Each episode Liz talks to a different member of the public who is struggling with being creative in some way, and gives them thoughtful, kind advice — the second best part is that she then casually calls up her besties, i.e. Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed, Rayya Ellis and John Hodgman to put in their two cents. Golden.
- On Being – Krista Tippett
Ohhhh Krista Tippett, how I love you. It’s hard to find someone who embraces their subject matter so wholly as Krista. Her subject matter, and that of On Being, happens to be spirituality, but really this podcast is about inquiry. Inquiry into us as beings, how we exist in the world and make sense of it. If you like thoughtful discussions about humans, life, nature, or… anything, you must listen to this.
The best part: Krista managed to secure an interview with Mary Oliver (my favourite poet of all time), a woman who usually much prefers the company of nature to humans and therefore doesn’t often agree to interviews. The result is an absolute treat.
- The Beautiful Writer’s Podcast – Danielle LaPorte and Linda Siversten
This podcast is part of a larger co-venture between these two brilliant women — The Beautiful Writer’s Group. The podcast really delivers for writers and all creative types in that the episodes are a fantastic mix of practical advice on creating, insider info on the publishing industry, and most joyously, life affirming chats with the likes of Gretchen Ruben, Martha Beck, Dani Shapiro and, of course, Elizabeth Gilbert.
The Best Part: Danielle and Linda are determined to breakdown the creative process and demystify publishing. Their direct and revealing questions draw out the reality and day to day of how books get published and how writers write. A must for aspiring (or established!) writers.
- Fresh Air – Terry Gross
Fresh Air is an award-winning NPR radio program, and Terry Gross just absolutely rocks it as an interviewer. This is one of the best examples of long form interviews you’ll have the privilege of listening to — because Gross is so good at giving people space and drawing things out skilfully. I find nothing gets me out of my own head more effectively than listening to interesting conversations about other people’s lives.
The best part: The combination of interesting interviews and in depth coverage of current affairs in the US. Journalism at its best.
- After The Jump – Grace Bonney
Caveat: This podcast actually finished at the end of 2014. However, if you haven’t listened to it, there is soooooo much creative, marketing, and business gold in these episodes, so I highly recommend going back through and listening to them all. Grace Bonney (of the enormously successful blog Design Sponge) puts a quiet, thoughtful spin on topics that can often feel overwhelming and impersonal to creative people.
The best part: You’ll get everything in one go — thoughts on the creative process, social media tips, business advice and interviews with all sorts of interesting creative types.
- Subscribe early to Women of The Hour with Lena Dunham (a Buzzfeed podcast), which is apparently launching soon. Because it is very likely to be the most fun you have in 2015…. And that counts for huge creativity points!
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