Writing

There’s a lot that goes into writing that isn’t actual writing. That’s what all the other resource pages are about. This one is about writing itself. Expect prompts, craft book recommendations, and resources for revision.

For now, here is one critical resource:

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Writing Excuses | writingexcuses.com

Writing Excuses is easily the most useful podcast I can recommend to you. The show is hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells, typically with a different guest featured each week.

One of the best parts about the podcast is the fifteen-minute format. Their cheeky excuse for this brevity is “because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart,” but really, they are that smart, and I often end up listening to more than one episode at a time, so I can’t be in that much of a hurry. Really, fifteen minutes is the sweet spot: not too short, not too long, just the right amount of depth and breadth.

Each episode focuses on a specific topic and offers a relevant writing prompt or other homework assignment to jumpstart your application of what you’ve learned. Writing Excuses isn’t just educational though—it really motivates me to get back to my writing!

If you’re new to Writing Excuses, I recommend starting with the first episode of 2016’s Season 11, which is focusing on “The Elemental Genres.” In the past, the podcast has often had an emphasis on genre writing, though I’ve always found it useful to my literary writing, regardless of genre. This season is especially relevant to all writers, not just those focused on “genre fiction.” Start Season 11 here.

Alternatively, if you’d like a master class in the writing process, from beginning to end (from idea generation to selling your manuscript), start with 2015’s Season 10 here.

Of course the easiest way to follow the podcast is through an app, most likely on a smartphone. I do most of my listening while washing dishes or doing the laundry. A lot of others listen on the commute. If podcasts aren’t something you already tune into regularly, it might take some experimentation to figure out when listening best fits into your schedule, but I urge you to give them a try and to start with Writing Excuses!

H/T Tony Quick, who recommended Writing Excuses on his own author page, which has a lot of other great resources for writers.

Read his 2014 post: “Quick Links: You’re Out of Excuses”