What are your favorite podcasts for writers?

As we finish this week’s posts about energy, I want to share something that works well for me. Listening to podcasts, which I usually do while taking a walk, does wonders when I need to boost or maintain my mental energy for writing.

Something about listening to human voices discuss their own experiences and suggestions—more so than reading a book about writing or even watching a video—helps me to feel part of a larger purpose and community. I also learn a lot of valuable information and practical tips.

Here are three of my current favorite podcasts. Please share your own in the comments!

New Yorker Fiction Podcast

Each month New Yorker fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, asks an author to choose and read a favorite New Yorker story, which they then discuss. Available from iTunes.

Creative Penn Podcast

Joanna Penn’s infectious personality and the quality of her guests make this bi-weekly podcast on writing, publishing, and book marketing one of my favorites. Available from iTunes.

The Portfolio Life Podcast with Jeff Goins

Writer Jeff Goins introduces his podcast as follows: “You are not just what you do. You were made for more than just one thing. Your life is a portfolio of activities, all of which make you who you are.” Available from iTunes.

 What are your favorite podcasts for writers?


Thank you for reading! This post is part of the “Get Serious About Writing” 50-day blog series, created for anyone who wants to get more serious about his or her writing. The series is also a preview of and will culminate with the publication of my new book about how to create your writing life. I am very excited about this new project, as it brings together my work as a writer and creative thinking teacher, as well as my interest in psychology.

Anyone subscribed to this blog (either daily or weekly) will receive future information about free preview copies and other promotions, so please pass the word!

Lisa RiveroWhat are your favorite podcasts for writers?

Extroverted Energy

“[H]ere’s a little “secret” about us: it’s not that we love to be surrounded at all times, it’s that we need to be. And herein, lies the problem.” ~ Dr. Judith RichSo much attention has been paid to introverts recently that it is easy to forget that extroverts have their own challenges, too, especially when it comes to solitary, creative endeavors.

Photo credit: Martin Fisch

Photo credit: Martin Fisch (CC BY 2.0)

As a reminder, here is a brief explanation of the difference between introverts and extroverts (from Fast Company):

Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.

Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.

Writing is rarely easy for anyone, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see the potential difficulty for extroverts: Because they are energized by social interaction, they may avoid—and even be depleted by—long periods of solitude, which is necessary for writing.

What is the answer? I have noticed that the extroverted writers I know use social media much differently from the way I do. They pop in and out more often, ask questions to elicit conversation, and generally spend more time interacting (rather than simply “liking” or sharing resources).

While I do some interaction on social media, I think twice before asking a question on Facebook, for example, since that requires I hang around to engage in the discussion, something that I may enjoy but that makes it harder for me to focus on any writing project I might be working on. That very engagement, however, for extroverts is what energizes them, perhaps allowing them to sustain bursts of necessary alone time throughout the day.

Extroverts, what works for you in terms of finding the right balance of time alone and with others?

See Also


Thank you for reading! This post is part of the “Get Serious About Writing” 50-day blog series, created for anyone who wants to get more serious about his or her writing. The series is also a preview of and will culminate with the publication of my new book about how to create your writing life. I am very excited about this new project, as it brings together my work as a writer and creative thinking teacher, as well as my interest in psychology.

Anyone subscribed to this blog (either daily or weekly) will receive future information about free preview copies and other promotions, so please pass the word!

Lisa RiveroExtroverted Energy

Introverted Energy

“Introverts tend to feel that they most alive and that they’re most energized when they’re in environments that are less stimulating.” ~ Susan CainAre you an introvert who happens to be a writer (or a writer who happens to be an introvert)? If so, learning to understand and manage your sources of energy could be a game-changer.

Aloneness or Loneliness, by Alan Levine

Aloneness or Loneliness, by Alan Levine (CC BY 2.0)

Understanding Introversion

Susan Cain, author of the bestselling book Quiet, has helped introverts and extroverts alike to understand that being introverted isn’t about shyness; it’s about energy (if you haven’t already, be sure to watch her TED Talk “The Power of Introverts“):

“You know I think one of the best ways to understand it is to really get it, What actually is the difference between introverts and extroverts? It really has to do with how we respond to stimulation. Introverts tend to feel that they most alive and that they’re most energized when they’re in environments that are less stimulating, when there’s sort of less stuff coming at them. Where as extroverts really crave lots of stimulation coming at them to feel that they’re most alive. And if they don’t get it, they start to feel kind of bored and listless, and not generally happy.” ~ Susan Cain ( interview at TTBOOK)

Neither introversion nor extroversion is better, but the two ways of reacting to the world are definitely different from each other (also keep in mind that some people are ambiverts). An introverted writer may expend all of her energy for the day interacting with people, having little left to focus on her own writing.

Why Your Source of Energy Matters

This is one reason I try to write in the morning rather than saving it for later. If I write in the morning, I do so when my energy levels are high. If I wait until the evening, especially if I’ve spent the afternoon in social situations (including teaching), I am often too mentally wiped to think or write a single coherent thought, even if what I did that day wasn’t physically taxing and even if I loved being with the people I saw.

Social media, in particular, can be tricky for introverts. On the one hand, social media (in theory) offers introverts more control over when, how long, and with whom they interact online. On the other hand, even virtual interaction is stimulating, often deceptively so, leaving us drained yet unable to pull away. See my guest post on this topic at Ollin Morales’s blog. (Note: Ollin has since moved his blog to a new home. You can follow his new posts at Courage2Create.)

Tomorrow we will look at the challenges unique to extroverts.

What is your experience (as an introvert or not) with managing your energy, especially with regard to social media?

See Also


Thank you for reading! This post is part of the “Get Serious About Writing” 50-day blog series, created for anyone who wants to get more serious about his or her writing. The series is also a preview of and will culminate with the publication of my new book about how to create your writing life.

I am very excited about this new project, as it brings together my work as a writer and creative thinking teacher, as well as my interest in psychology.

Anyone subscribed to this blog (either daily or weekly) will receive future information about free preview copies and other promotions, so please pass the word!

Lisa RiveroIntroverted Energy

A Writer’s Training Program

Page After PageOne of my favorite books about writing is Page After Page, by Heather Sellers. Several of her insights and ideas have shaped how I think about my own writing, especially her chapter on the energy required to be a writer, which she compares to training for a 5K race:

“Writing asks the exact same kind of preparation of us. You can’t expect it to go well if you haven’t prepared your body and your mind. You have to rest before you write. You have to be fed (stomach with protein, head with books). You have to be really ready to write. It’s not something we readily admit in our culture, that writing takes enormous focus and concentrated energy, and true stamina on a number of levels. I mean, there you are, sitting at your desk, looking out the window. Doesn’t look like hard work. Looks kind of lazy, in fact.” (p. 133)

She continues:

“You might not be writing as much as you want to because you have an unrealistic perception about how much energy it takes to produce good writing.”

I know that I write better and more often when I am taking care of myself:

  • eating well (lots of fruits and vegetables)
  • drinking plenty of water
  • getting at least minimal exercise
  • spending some time outdoors
  • keeping to a good sleep schedule
  • not filling my mind with a lot of junk information (whether from news or social media)
  • practicing daily meditation

Of course, the list will be different for everyone. Sleep and regular meals are especially important for me, as is being careful about my online “digital diet,” which quickly diverts both my attention and energy in far-flung directions.

What training program prepares you for your writing life?


Thank you for reading! This post is part of the “Get Serious About Writing” 50-day blog series, created for anyone who wants to get more serious about his or her writing. The series is also a preview of and will culminate with the publication of my new book about how to create your writing life.

I am very excited about this new project, as it brings together my work as a writer and creative thinking teacher, as well as my interest in psychology. Anyone subscribed to this blog (either daily or weekly) will receive future information about free preview copies and other promotions, so please pass the word!

Lisa RiveroA Writer’s Training Program

Writing Energy: What Pumps You Up?

What experiences make you feel pumped up about your writing? What people, music, art, events, authors, sounds, places, and sensations leave you motivated rather than deflated?

Do you make a point of including them in your daily schedule?

The theme of this week will be energy. Being aware of our emotional and psychological energy is one of the most important things we can do for our writing (or for any creative endeavor). Today, take some time to think about what pumps you up, and set aside some time for it—not just once in awhile, but regularly.

What pumps you up for your writing day?

To get you in the mood, listen to and watch (a very young) Elvis Costello performing his 1978 hit, “Pump It Up.”


No-Regrets WritingThank you for reading! This post is part of the “Get Serious About Writing” 50-day blog series, created for anyone who wants to get more serious about his or her writing. The series is also a preview of and will culminate with the publication of my new book about writing with no (more) regrets.

I am very excited about this new project, as it brings together my work as a writer and creative thinking teacher, as well as my interest in psychology. Anyone subscribed to this blog (either daily or weekly) will receive future information about free preview copies and other promotions, so please pass the word!

Lisa RiveroWriting Energy: What Pumps You Up?