I love the Writing Excuses podcast.
For those who didn’t listen to it, at the end of each episode, they give a sort of writing prompt/homework assignment for their listeners to do related to the topic of that particular episode. I don’t usually do them. I have done some – like the ones where you ask friends to send you pictures of random items and then make a story out of them. I’ve posted those stories on this blog in fact:
But usually, I just listen, and try to use what I’ve learned on whatever project I’m currently working on instead of starting something new for the writing exercise.
That is, until I got to season 10. Now, I’m fairly far behind. I think they are on season 12 at least now. In season 10 they are doing what they call a writing master class. So each episode (most anyway) will be a lesson and the lessons will build over the season. I’d like to participate with this season in the spirit it was created, that is – as a class. So that means I should actually do the assignments. However, I’ve learned there is a second reason I don’t do the exercises. I forget what they are when I’m home with my writing materials.
I listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I’m out for my walks. I am not going to carry a notebook with me to do assignments while I am out for my walk. I think I will do it when I get home. Then I get home, walk through the door, and my family wants to talk to me, my cats want dinner, etc. and I don’t remember that I was going to do a writing exercise. Or I walk on my lunch break and when I get back I have to, you know, go back to work. If I do remember it’s when I’m getting ready to go for another walk and realize I can’t listen to the next episode because I haven’t done the homework from the last episode.
Tonight, however, I am getting caught up. I am doing the exercises from the first three episodes that I’ve already listened to. Writing Excuses has all the instructions up at their website, so I don’t actually need to remember what to do -I can look it up.
If you are an aspiring writer, I can’t recommend this podcast enough. There are so many other podcasts that discuss publishing, but this is about craft, and the advice is detailed and wonderful. Go listen.