Have You Heard About… Writing Excuses

Welcome to week 3 in our series on resources that I have found useful as a do-it-yourself aspiring writer. If you missed our reviews on The Literary Mercenary or Jane Friedman, check those out. They’re worth your time. As usual, the Obligatory Disclaimer ™: the articles in this series are my personal opinions, not ads, nothing more or less.

What is it?

For the last two weeks, I have focused on written resources. This week we are pivoting to audio for those of you who, like me, love a good podcast. I imagine that many aspiring writers have heard about Writing Excuses, which is an award-winning podcast featuring author Brandon Sanderson (of Mistborn and Wheel of Time fame), cartoonist Howard Taylor (Schlock Mercenary), author Dan Wells (John Cleaver), and narrator and author Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories and Lady Astronauts). The depth of insight they bring to the audience in fifteen (ok, usually more like 20 to 30) minutes each week is unparalleled. They share insights from their own careers through guest speakers, humor, audience questions, and a tight theme each season. This weekly series has been running since 2008, so there are dozens of podcasts about any subject you might think of.

Who is it Talking To?

Writing excuses has something to say to writers at every stage of their career. Many guests and hosts also teach classes, so some of the advice can skew towards beginners, but there is plenty of meat on the bone for published authors as well. Their series on what authors get wrong, and episodes about reinventing yourself particularly speak to established writers.

If you love thinking about your craft and honing your process, this podcast is for you.

What Makes It Unique?

Listening to writing excuses feels like you’re sitting in a writing circle with three of your best friends. This is not clinical advice. They laugh often and dig deep into their own experience to improve the listener’s – and, at times, one another’s – processes.

Their focus on audience interaction is another differentiation. Every episode comes with a writing prompt and recommended reading. Every month or so, listener questions drive the discussion.

If you are curious, you can find more about Writing Excuses on their web site, wikipedia (of all places), and anywhere you get your podcasts.

2 thoughts on “Have You Heard About… Writing Excuses

  1. Oh yes, Writing Excuses is one of my favourite writing podcasts ever. They delve into the exact topics I like to learn about too. Do you have anymore favourites? Thanks for sharing these, Josh!


    1. I’ve actually enjoyed Grammar Girl, every now and then. It is marketed as an ESL podcast, but is short, breezy, and interesting. W.E. is the only writing podcast that I’ve listened to consistently, though.


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