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Ten podcasts to inspire creatives

You're not alone in the creative struggle. And these podcasts want to talk about that.

By Sheryl GarrattPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Ten podcasts to inspire creatives
Photo by Elice Moore on Unsplash

1. A Beautiful Anarchy

David DuChemin was a standup comedian and is now a photographer, writer and publisher, so he’s got some great experiences to bring to his intelligent, entertaining monologues about the creative struggle.

He puts out deceptively short 10-15 minute episodes three times a month. I say deceptive because they’re so dense with thought-provoking ideas, striking imagery, and actionable tips that I’ve played them again and again, getting something new each time.

If you’re struggling to start a new creative project, try episodes 33 and 35. If you can’t make time to create what you want, you’ll find help in episode 3. Worried you’ve left it too late in life? Go for episode 23.

But time spent listening any episode at all will be well worth your investment. And also: his accent. As a Brit, I could happily listen to him just repeating his catchphrase, “Let’s talk about it.” (There’s a W in ‘about’.)

2. Magic Lessons

There are, sadly, only 21 episodes of Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2016 podcast, in which the author of Eat, Pray Love coaches a creative who is stalled in some way. She also calls friends such as Cheryl Strayed, Ann Patchett, Brene Brown, Martha Beck and Neil Gaiman for their advice on the issue.

The podcast was made to promote Gilbert’s Big Magic, one of the best books I’ve ever read on the creative process. Gilbert says wise and wonderful things in this podcast, but she also has a voice as warm and soothing as melted chocolate. I’d enjoy her reading out the phone book.

3. The Accidental Creative

Todd Henry’s long-running weekly podcast is over a decade old now, and mixes high-quality guests with Henry’s own considerable wisdom.

I love his books, especially The Accidental Creative, which offers lots of sound advice for those of us who need to produce a steady stream of great ideas, to deadline, as part of their job. He’s also very good on running and being part of creative teams.

On the podcasts he talks to creatives and entrepreneurs of all kinds, or offers his own intelligent and very actionable advice and tips. The episodes come in at a very digestible 15-30 minutes.

4. The 21st Century Creative

Mark McGuinness is a British poet, as well as a coach working with creatives. Each approximately hour-long episode sees him sharing his own wisdom, then interviewing an expert on some aspect of the creative life. The expert also sets a creative challenge for the listener.

There is so much good stuff in here that it’s hard to pick out specific episodes. Don’t be put off if the guest isn’t from your field. You’ll get something from all of them, and I’d urge you to listen to those outside your own area. I really enjoyed explorer Alistair Humphreys, for instance, on What Creatives Can Learn From Adventurers.

But if you’re struggling with marketing (as most creatives do), the interview with Ilise Benun and the more recent show with Naomi Dunford are helpful and inspiring.

5. The Daily Creative

The prolific Todd Henry, again. He put this on hold over a year ago, and it’s not clear if or when it will return. But there is an archive of 150 episodes to enjoy, each offering timeless, bite-sized tips on how to be focussed and productive in your creative work.

Most of them come in under three minutes, so they’re lovely ways to start or finish your working day. I play one sometimes when I’m writing my Morning Pages, and feel I have nothing to say. It almost always gets a new train of thought rolling.

6. We Can Rebuild Her

The title comes from the vintage TV show, The Six Million Dollar Woman. Hilariously, that was the most money anyone could imagine spending on tech innovation when I was in my teens.

Intelligently hosted by Viv Groskop, it has a theme of reinvention, interviewing women who have made big shifts in their lives or careers. At a time when almost all creatives have needed to think about this, it feels very relevant.

7. The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn writes fiction under the name JF Penn, and useful non-fiction books for authors as Joanna Penn. She is also an authority on self-publishing, and if you’re interested in putting your own words out there, this is essential listening.

The first part of the show is Penn’s take on the latest news from the publishing world, covering a dizzying array of platforms and formats and the latest tech developments. Her enthusiasm for writing and for the possibilities unfolding for authors is infectious, and I love her warm, down-to-earth presentation style.

The second half is usually a discussion with a guest. These often dive into the detail of self-publishing, but there are also more general topics such as working from home, finding inspiration, or staying healthy and creative.

8. You’re Booked

The effervescent and awesomely well-read Daisy Buchanan visits people at home to have a nosey look at their bookshelves. Not just random people, of course, but creatives like cult film director John Waters, Isabel Allende, Richard Aoyade, Philippa Perry and so many brilliant writers that it’s impossible to pick out just a few.

In her role as Book Inspector, Daisy moves from highbrow to low-brow without judgement or snobbery, and coaxes out enjoyable confessions from her subjects: the guilty pleasures read secretly under the covers, the heavyweight books never actually finished.

No slouch herself, Daisy has written several books including The Sisterhood, a hilarious and affectionate memoir about growing up with five sisters, and her best-selling novels Insatiable and Careering.

9. How To Fail

Elizabeth Day’s brilliant podcast digs deep into people’s failures, and is inspiring because we all fail. We just don’t talk about it too often. One to listen to if your inner critic or perfectionist is being particularly noisy – or if you just want to be entertained.

I love the episode with Booker Prize-winning novelist and all-round gorgeous human Bernardine Evaristo, who failed at being an actress, driving overland to Australia – and being a lesbian. If you haven’t yet read Evaristo’s breathtakingly good Girl, Woman, Other, this will get you rushing to the library.

Other great guests include feminist thought leader Gloria Steinem, philosopher Alain de Botton, actor Andrew Scott, singer Mabel, poet Lemn Sissay and the brilliant cookery writer Nigel Slater.

10. Conversations of Inspiration

Holly Tucker is the co-founder of notonthehighstreet.com, a marketplace for creative small businesses in the UK. She now runs Holly & Co with the aim of ‘cheerleading the small business community’ and inspiring people to do the work they love.

So it’s no surprise that this podcast centres on creative entrepreneurs. From the brilliant perfumer Jo Malone to lockdown exercise king Joe Wicks, the guests are generous with advice and share their own stories with honesty. They’re not focussed on selling their own product. They’re genuinely trying to help you sell yours.

****

Sheryl Garratt is a writer and a coach helping creatives to get the success they want, making work they love. Ready to grow your creative business? Get your free 10-day course from me here.

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About the Creator

Sheryl Garratt

Sheryl Garratt is a former editor of The Face and Observer magazines, and has written professionally for more than 30 years. She is also a coach working with creatives of all kinds. Find her at thecreativelife.net

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    Sheryl GarrattWritten by Sheryl Garratt

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