Wednesday, 2 May 2018

#WednesdayWords - 5 things podcasting taught me about writing

This Wednesday, author Máire Brophy talks to Pict Publishing about podcasting - and what skills she's developed from her podcasts that she's been able to transfer to her writing.

by Máire Brophy

I’ve been podcasting about writing with my two fellow writers Cathy Clarke and Kate Mulholland for nearly 3 years. We’re 49 episodes deep in Irish Writers Podcast. Our podcast is a mix of us talking about our own writing, discussing topics relating to writing and interviewing other writers and authors.

1. Accountability is a real driver
I’m an epic procrastinator. I get distracted and have lots of conflicting ideas. I also really enjoy procrastinating… some of my best ideas come when I’m avoiding doing something else. We all know accountability is a thing. If you’re in a writers group or class, you know that you feel sheepish if you show up with nothing done since the last class or meeting.

This is much more pronounced if you decide to podcast about your writing! Of course I’ve still gone through non-writing periods, but there’s a bit more of a monkey on your back. You can’t really turn up to talk about writing if you’re not writing. Or at least you can’t do it for too many consecutive podcasts!

2. Done is better than perfect
Putting something out into the world makes you vulnerable. You open yourself up to criticism and to judgement. Lots of writers are perfectionists, holding on to our work until it’s good enough to make us immune from criticism. Of course nothing is ever immune to criticism, not matter how good. Podcasting also something you put out into the world.

There’s a part of me that would really like to learn about sound engineering. I envy producers of really polished podcasts, but the truth is that I’m here to write and the podcast is an offshoot not the thing in and of itself.

This habit of regular imperfection is a great exercise. At first I cringed at the sound of my own voice, now I’m used to it. I’m also getting better at letting my imperfectly expressed thoughts out there. I know the charm is the chat, but the chat is hard to control and perfect. It’s not that we don’t want it to be good, but accepting it will never be perfect is liberating. It also makes it a plainer choice. I would rather do something than nothing, and anything you do will be imperfect.

3. People will talk to you if you ask them… and it’s really worth it!
When we talked about starting a podcast we looked at what was out there. There were lots of successful authors giving advice, but there wasn’t anyone really stuck in the process, showing behind curtain. So we decided our podcast would be about the process and we would lean into our status as unpublished writers. We might be unsuccessful, but we knew we were relatable!

With the podcast as an excuse, we actively went out to talk to other writers and authors. All of them have been really generous with us. It’s been surprisingly easy to get people to give us time, and tell us about their own challenges and paths through them. It’s been incredibly inspiring to talk to these people, who are writing in different fields and different genres, and are at different stages to us.

4. Different approaches are more valuable than you think
On that note… we’re naturally inclined to people who are similar to us and think the same as us. The older I get, the more I see the value in difference. One reason why our writers group/podcast works for us, is that we all have different approaches to writing. It means that if one of us is stuck then the others will have different perspectives, approaches and possible solutions. If we all had the same perspective, then we would all get stuck in the same places. Of course there are more than just three perspectives, and talking to different writers gives us a bigger toolbox to work from.

5. It’s easier if it’s more fun
Not much of a shocker there! I love our writers group meetings and podcast recording sessions. We get such a kick out of each other that we really look forward to it. It means I’m more inclined to do the work, because we’ll meet up and have fun together. There are periods when we can’t meet for various logistical reasons, and you can always tell the podcast where we haven’t seen each other in awhile, because we’re too giddy and giggly.

More about Máire
Máire Brophy lives in Dublin, Ireland. By day, she works with researchers to help develop and express their ideas, and by night she mostly sleeps. In between she’s often found playing Dungeons and Dragons, eating cake and watching movies. She is currently considering learning to play golf. Máire cohosts Irish Writers Podcast – a podcast about writing – and tweets @mairebro.

Her debut book After the World is published by Strange Fictions Press and is out on 8 May 2018.

After the war is lost, all that remains is to survive. And when you know what you’ve done, you can’t hope for anything more.
Bereft in a hostile world, an orc general struggles to come to terms with his role in the destruction of his people. Running and hiding from the humans and elves that hunt him down, he searches for other orc survivors.
When two human wizards finally pin him down in an abandoned orcish mountain fortress, he must use his wits and cunning to prevail, redeeming himself and the magic of his people.

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