by Kacee Baker
The Writing University Podcast provides free access to craft talks from the University of Iowa’s annual Summer Writing Festival. The University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop is one of the most prestigious writing programs in the country, and the talks featured on their podcasts are hosted by experienced workers from all areas of the writing process: editors, publishers, writers, and teachers. They have advice to offer for writers with questions about any area of the writing process. The episodes, which are generally around 40 minutes long, allow writers to improve their craft and get inspiration from the advice of experienced writers.
Writers of all types of literature will find an episode they’re interested in. The podcast features presentations on all genres, and a broad range of subjects. Some of the most listened to episodes include “How Poets See the World: The Art of Description” by Juliet Patterson, “Finish the Thing” by Beau O'Reilly, and “’Productivity’ and ‘Failure’ for Writers” Eireann Lorsung. Each of the episodes provides advice for writers struggling with a certain area of writing. In his talk “Finding Inspiration from the Work Itself,” Marcos Villatoro discusses finding encouragement in rewriting and rejection. On developing characters, John Dalton advises writers who want to base characters on themselves to treat themselves as a piano: “instead of writing from the center chords of who you are, write from the extreme ends of your personality.” In her discussion of productivity, Eireann Lorsun says “all that we do is part of our writing lives…we can do [everything] as writers when we do these things with attentiveness.” In my favorite episode, “Ten Ways of Thinking about Character,” John Dalton gives advice for character writing. He advises writers to create characters that are motivated to act and that reveal themselves through action, dialogue, background incident, and description.
The podcast as a whole provides writers with access to great advice on many aspects of writing and enables them to choose a subject relevant to their interests. The talks are generally interesting and contain good and applicable tips that new and experienced writers will find useful. Although the episodes occasionally contain moments of low sound quality and references to visual aids unavailable to the listener, this rarely detracts from the content. Overall, the Writing University Podcast is a great resource for writers. The presenters offer encouraging and positive advice that will motivate and engage writers of all genres and experience levels.
You can find the podcast on any podcasting service, or at https://www.writinguniversity.org/podcast.