10 Podcasts that Inspire

Many people are finding that by listening to podcasts, they are not only inspired by some information gleaned, but also more productive. Here are 10 podcasts that focus on a number of things from business to creativity to giving advice. We’ve linked them as well as copied and pasted their descriptions below. 

Habits & Hustle is a podcast that uncovers the rituals, unspoken habits, and mindsets of extraordinary people. Our team then synthesizes that information for listeners to take ACTION with free, fillable PDFs.

Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer features business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. Feifer, Entrepreneur’s Editor in Chief, pulls these stories out so other business can avoid the same crippling problems.

Rethinking Weight Loss From NPR For better or worse, people think about their weight. We explain the science of weight and weight loss to help put you on a road to body acceptance — and better health.

Hidden Brain From NPR Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

The Credits From Georgia Public Broadcasting In each episode of The Credits, host Kalena Boller meets someone who works in Georgia’s multibillion dollar film industry. Kalena works as a location manager on major film and television projects.. With more than 40 credits to her name, her credits include AMC’s The Walking Dead and FOX’s Star. This podcast is Kalena’s love letter to the people whose names you may see in the credits at the end of a movie or TV show, but don’t really understand what they do.

A Way With Words This National Public Radio (NPR) program discusses language examined through the lens of history, culture and family. The podcast is rich with detail and exciting storytelling, and typically runs for about an hour.

Beautiful Writers Podcast features conversations with some of the most well-recognized writers in the world. Host and writer Linda Sivertsen interviews best-selling authors Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, Glennon Doyle Melton, and Brene Brown. Episodes are typically in-depth and include personal anecdotes from creatives in the business.

The Kindness Project on Spotify This fun father-daughter podcast imparts inspiring personal stories of kindness and the ways simply being nice to others makes positive changes in our world. The hosts, through giggle-filled conversations, heartfelt storytelling, and insightful guest interviews, cover how to be kind to others through everyday acts of kindness, charity fundraising, and more.

NPR host Guy Raz presents “TED Radio Hour,” a popular show that uncovers the emotions, insights, and discoveries that make us human—including how being kind to each other contributes to the greater good. 

And coming soon on Spotify: Higher Ground Media podcasts produced by the Obamas. 

What’s your favorite podcasts? Post links in the comments, please. Thank you.

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August is a Great Time to Refresh for the End of the Year

In a blink of an eye, it will be December 31, and that is scary. No pressures to accomplish anything before 2020, is there? Well, you can use this month to do a few things that are invigorating, inspiring, and preparation to finish the year well. 

  • Budget to take new professional headshots and portraits for your website. 
  • Purge your closets and drawers of fall and winter clothing that are in excellent condition but too small or too big. Parse some out to shelters, missions, thrift stores, and even family and friends. Make space for anything you might need to buy new. 
  • Plan a fall get-together or event. 
  • Check the fall schedules of local arts organizations, and plan an outing or two to the theatre or opera or symphony. 
  • Create a library or public event that allows you to showcase a talent or skill with others. 
  • Figure out which causes you will support either with your money or as a volunteer before the end of the year.
  • Schedule at least one day per month to doing nothing at all. No household chores. No running around. Nothing. 

Last but not least, dream. Use this month to dream big. Create a secret Pinterest board and post an online visual reminder of those dreams. 

Refresh. August is a great time to refresh. 

Tips to Becoming Relatable on Your Social Networks

Time is a major factor why most authors and creatives don’t post regularly or only post marketing materials on their social networks. We get that time is precious. But we also understand that people don’t buy your book or work, they really buy you. Here are some tips to becoming more “real,” human and relatable to your followers. 

  1. Post photos of you actually doing something that they would also do. For example, if you are at the grocery store, post a quick photo of something that caught your interest. Ask your followers a question about that object or activity. 
  2. Share a humorous meme or graphic that shows your sense of humor. 
  3. Engage followers using a household chore. For example, show your mop or broom, and ask them which they prefer to do or not. Maybe you can express your least favorite chore for the sake of conversation. 
  4. Post memes or graphics with no pictures that pose singular statements or questions. For example, a simple graphic with the question “How was your day?” can be inviting. Another reading, “Today was a good day” can be equally as inviting. 
  5. Pick a day a week to “like” and acknowledge followers on a single post. Let people know that you value the time they take to read your posts and comment. 
  6. Repost some of their content on your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds. Thank them. 
  7. Tag some of the loyal followers on a post. Let them know you see them and are grateful for them. 

Your engagement with social media followers can potentially brighten someone’s day. All fans like to be acknowledged. They also like knowing that you are flesh and blood like they are. 

Essential Self-care Tips for Writers and Creatives

Contrary to popular belief, successful authors and writers do not have perfect lives. The act of writing is a disciplined act, and the lifestyle requires more juggling than not. One of the things authors let slip through the cracks is self-care. Self-care is necessary and we have a few tips:

  • Every smartphone has alarms and stopwatches. Use them. Write or create and set alarms and timers that alert you to get up and stretch your legs, eat, and shut it down to decompress. 
  • Find an exercise routine that fits in with your home life and your creative life. Maybe walking for an hour a day is your thing or you are a dancer. You know your creative peaks better than anyone, and you know your home life best. Schedule in exercise for mind, body and soul. 
  • Prepare snacks and meals in advance of your time to create or write. Sugary snacks aren’t wise and heavy meals can make one sleepy. Use creativity in the kitchen that fuels your creativity. 
  • Be selfish with your creative time. Limit interruptions and distractions to emergencies only. 
  • Know when to shut it down to live your life. Pursue your hobby, go on a trip or vacation, and go to concerts or events that lift your spirits. 

One creative, a singer, steals away to her bathroom in the middle of the day to take a long bath. She leaves her phone far from her tub, and she instructs family to leave her alone. She guards her “me” time. Another creative, an author, has turned her writing room into a sacred space; drama and family chaos has to live outside of its doors. She keeps the room comfortable with fresh flowers, candles, favorite music, and has lighting that serves her no matter the time of day. 

Self-care is pertinent to surviving and thriving as a creative. Do what you must to take care of your emotions and your body as you create. 

Read More, Write Better

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a writer, a good writer, or someone who wants to be a better writer. Have you ever re-read something you wrote years ago, and thought you could have done better? Most of us have. One of the keys to becoming a better writer is to read more, and read critically as in making a few observations. Here are five ways to get the most out of reading other authors and writers’ work. 

  1. Study the ways in which they use words. Are they given to be brief yet descriptive? Is the author known for writing long sentences that contain difficult words? 
  2. Ask yourself how the writer uses tension to tell a story. How do they articulate tension: directly or subtly? 
  3. What type of person is the protagonist? Likable or unlikable? Quiet and action-oriented? Wordy and laid back? How long does it take for you to relate to a protagonist? 
  4. What literary devices are found in the book? 
  5. How complicated is the story to follow? Ask yourself why it is complicated, and force yourself to come up with reasons that challenge you as a reader and writer. 

One of the things suggested is that you read books outside of your norm and genre. If you are a romance writer, then read mysteries or historic novels. If you read mainly Christian authors, then seek out mainstream authors’ works. If you generally read contemporary novels, then read some of the classics. 

The point is to stretch as a reader, and watch how you stretch as an author. 

Book Marketing 101: You Need to Work a Plan

Believe it or not, you really need a plan to work to sell a book. It is not an easy task, and if someone is making it look easy to you…  It takes a great deal of planning and strategy to sell a book. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer.

  • Why are you trying to sell your book? The reason can vary and be anything you like. 
  • How are you going to draw awareness to your book? How will you sell it? To whom are you going to sell your book? Where can you find those people? 
  • What are you willing to do sell your book? What are you unwilling to do to sell your book?

One question generally leads to another. Every last answer requires work. 

You need a plan. You need to work that plan. Consistency is more important than the money you pour into marketing your book. For example, are you consistently building an audience and engaging with people? Your social streams should be steady with content and information about your book, about you and about topics that interest your audience. 

Ask established authors in your circle how they market their books. Observe the various techniques you see other authors utilizing to sell their books, but be careful not to steal their ideas. The point is that book marketing is ongoing and you must be a collaborator in selling your own work. 

Work your plan. 

2019 Book Trends for Authors

Of course, you don’t really care about trends but you care. It is often interesting to see what types of books – fiction and nonfiction – are selling or emerging as hot. And we should know what will make a difference in book marketing. Let’s take a look.

  • An emphasis book quality – Self-publishing authors are increasing by the droves and competing with traditional publishing houses for reader dollars, which means authors have to work twice as hard to put out quality projects. The quality has to show up in the writing style, editing and proofreading, the cover art, and in how the book is marketed. Hint: Check Amazon reviews for comments on your work and pay close attention to what readers say about the quality.
  • Audio is growing as a trend – Indie authors should heed that trend and consider investing in audio book recordings of their work too.
  • There is a return to early publicity for book releases – Indie authors often get it wrong and begin marketing and publicizing their books near or after publication. Look at some of the more successful authors you read, and you will see that they are announcing and opening their books up for pre-orders nearly six months in advance. (In the old days, publishing houses publicized books a year in advance.)
  • Indie presses will become more sophisticated and aggressive in their marketing strategies – Some small publishers have done a great job in marketing and distributing their books. This is a new day and many others are finding it a necessity to reevaluate their approaches to the business of selling books. Self-publishing is also maturing, so expect to see authors and small presses investing more into their brands.

These four trends have not appeared out of nowhere. They’ve been inching forward slowly but surely. Which ones caught your eye?