Monthly Archives: March 2017

Podcast Paradise Part Two

Last week, I shared some favorite podcasts for writers. Here are a few more podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately that, while not specifically geared toward writers, have given me tasty food for thought while I burn calories. Enjoy, and please share your own favorites!

  • The Minimalists Podcast. You might have seen their documentary Minimalism, a Documentary about the Important Things, recently released on Netflicks. Former corporate strivers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus ramble on (and on and on) about their conversion to a minimalist lifestyle. Their podcasts often run over an hour, but I find these two young guys (both thirty-five) amusing and inspiring in their search for a more intentional life, which is my number one goal as well. Good stuff—I highly recommend this one.
  • The RobCast. I dipped my toes into this podcast because The Minimalists praised his podcast so highly. So far, I’ve been delighted with Bell’s non-preachy exploration of the good life and spirituality.
  • Optimal Living Daily. These are quickies, mostly ten minutes or less. Pleasant-voiced narrator Justin Malik reads the best blogs on personal growth. How cool is that? Think of the time it would take you to find and read all these blogs. Excellent idea.
  • Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. I looooved his interview with Carol Burnett, and look forward to more.
  • 2 Boomer Broads: Life, Love, Laughs, and Unsolicited Advice. Giggly fun as Dr. Sharone Rosen (chiropractor) and Rebecca Forstadt-Okolski (health blogger) chat about issues facing women over 50. Warning: one of these ladies, a voice-over actress, has a squeaky voice, something I normally abhor. However, their chats are so entertaining I find it easy to overlook it in this case.
  • 10% Happier with Dan Harris. The author of a book by the same name, journalist Dan Harris interviews high achievers in many fields to discover whether one can be both successful and enlightened. Very thought-provoking.
  • Revisionist History. I love this one! Malcolm Gladwell, author and deep thinker, offers ten episodes from 2016 in which he takes a different view on issues ranging from education to food to the Vietnam War. Fascinating.
  • Call Your Girlfriend. While I reject, spit upon, and trample the idea that a mature woman like me must keep up with the latest trends in order to stay “relevant,” I do find it interesting to see what thoughtful younger people are up to. Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, two young BFFs who live on opposite coasts, discuss current events both serious and frivolous. Very enjoyable.

Podcast Paradise Part One: Podcasts for Writers

I’m a latecomer to the podosphere–Is that a word?–but lately I’m getting lots of value from free podcasts I download from iTunes. Not only do they increase my motivation to take frequent exercise breaks, but they ease my commutes and keep me company at the gym. As a mostly-introverted writer, I enjoy these entertaining, informative, lively conversations that require nothing more than my attention. And they come with a pause button!

Here are some I’ve enjoyed in the past six months that relate at least tangentially to writing:

  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before and her sister, TV writer Elizabeth Craft, offer lively conversations about habits and attitudes that lead to a happier, more productive life—and isn’t that what it’s all about?
  • So You Want to Be a Writer. Australian writers Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait talk about all things writing and interview writers. Good stuff.
  • Self-Publishing Roundtable. Here’s another band of Aussies who, alas, published their last podcast in December of 2016, but I’m gobbling up all their good advice while it’s still relevant and topical. Very informative, and fun accents!
  • TED Radio Hour. TED talks in podcast! Who knew? There’s lots here of interest to writers.
  • Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert. The author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic interviews creative types, including many writers. Great inspiration here.
  • The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice. New Fiction from the New Yorker. Short stories read by actors. Really good!
  • Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries, by Washington mystery authors Wendy Kendall and Julie Cooper. Great for mystery fans and writers.
  • Seated at the Writers’ Table. This one leans more toward screenwriting, but contains lots of useful info for all fiction writers.
  • The Literary Salon. Mostly under an hour, the last podcast was posted in October of last year. Host Damian Barr interviews writers, who then read from their work.
  • Writing Excuses. These are quickies, lively fifteen-minute snippets about writerly topics. Lots of humor.
  • Helping Writers Become Authors. Another quickie, all under twenty minutes, K.M. Weiland offers advice for writers on a wide variety of craft and publishing issues.
  • Literary Lunch. In 2016, RO Literary Agency put out seven podcasts about the publishing industry. I particularly like their discussions of query letters, the good and the bad. Very specific.
  • Dead Robots’ Society. “A gathering of aspiring writers podcasting to other aspiring writers.” This was the first writers’ podcast I tried. Although it’s aimed mostly at the self-pub sci-fi and fantasy set, I’ve found lots that useful here, and their discussions are entertaining too.

Do you have any podcast recommendations to share, especially those that pertain to writing?

How to Overcome Your Work Ethic in Retirement

My husband suggested this blog topic, which made me smile. We both struggle with this affliction, though I suspect I have a worse case.

I’ve always been an efficient multi-tasker—well, a multi-tasker, anyway. Like a juggler on a unicycle, for years I’ve kept multiple balls in the air as I lurched from crisis to near-disaster and back again. It helps to think of it that way, to visualize my former self peddling frantically while wearing a sparkly tutu and giant clown shoes, an exaggerated look of panic on my painted face. Makes it easier to set down the balls and step out of the center ring in search of a new role.

But now that I’m retired-ish, who’s checking to make sure I’m achieving adequate yearly progress? (Sorry—having worked in the public school system, certain odious phrases just come naturally to me. Add that to my to-do list: banish the buzzwords.) Bereft of job assignments from without, I’ve become my own worst boss.

Even though it’s going on three years since I left full-time paid employment, I have a full-time to-do list. I want to exercise for an hour each day, keep the house and garden clean, practice Spanish daily, write at least a thousand words of fiction each day, plus a weekly blog post, read and comment on the work of my critique partners, read fiction for fun, stay informed about current events (talk about your juggling clowns), travel, sew, cook healthy and creative meals, make new friends, keep the old, visit family, explore new places…

Holy cow, this is worse that before! And then, god help me, I took on a part-time job. Two, actually.

Enough! I retired with two goals in mind:   #1: write, and #2: enjoy myself.

So what if I waste an hour or two reading interesting stuff online? All my life, I’ve relaxed by reading magazines—and what is the internet but one big magazine?

So what if I don’t hold myself to a strict workout schedule? I move around pretty well most days and get to the gym often enough to justify the cost of membership.

So what if I still haven’t yet published a book? A quick glance at Amazon reminds me I could self-publish anytime. I prefer to plug away at my manuscripts in hopes of eventually achieving traditionally published status. If I don’t, readers await elsewhere.

Henceforth—a momentous-sounding word, right?—henceforth I shall remind myself that my number one obligation in retirement is to enjoy myself. I’ve earned a break for all this frenetic busy-bee-ness.

Besides, those clown shoes gave me blisters, the greasepaint gave me pimples, and that unicycle seat chafed. Time to relax.