The Writer’s Almanac is an audio podcast and daily newsletter of historical and poetry interest pieces, generally of historical or poetry interest. Began as an occasional radio show in 1993, it later became an internet-only newsletter. It was then published and distributed exclusively through American Public Media via November 1997. It’s also available as a podcast. I’ve enjoyed both versions of the podcast, which are available on the Acast website.
The first season was an exceptional one, with many fascinating guest stars and topics. Highlights included the First World War through to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The second season is set to deal with the Civil War through the 1960’s.
What I really like about the podcasts, though, is that they are entirely reader-supported. That means you can find the transcript online, read along as you listen, and then download the podcast at a convenient time. You don’t need to worry about using a download, because the PDF file is usually just as effective as those offered on the site. The writers themselves offer transcripts so you can read along, but there’s no transcript included.
All the episodes of the Writer’s Almanac are free to acquire. Some are available for free through the “Listen Now” feature while others require a subscription through one of the various websites offering such content. The most thorough of these websites, Podomatic, has a comprehensive list of all the podcasts currently on the internet and offers links for listening and downloading free of charge. There are literally hundreds of free podcasts available for download.
Writing the Almanac has become something of a cottage industry, since listeners and fans of the podcast have encouraged each other to contribute articles to the archive. I’m particularly happy about the fact that most of the articles are very useful. They offer ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. And some of them are completely hilarious. There’s nothing like learning from the brilliant minds that came up with the podcast to enlighten and amuse your daily routine.
I’ve been reading the Writer’s Almanac for several weeks now, and finding it to be an excellent source of inspiration and knowledge. And even though it’s not a podcast, I have listened to the transcripts several times so that I know what I’m being reading. The writing is solid and you can tell that the authors really did put a lot of effort into it. (I’m a writer myself, so I can relate to the kinds of challenges and experiences they faced as writers.)
If you’re a listener of the Podcast, you may be wondering what you can learn from the conversations between the podcast hosts and contributors. The conversations themselves are rich in information, and you can often pick up a whole lot of new ideas by just listening to what’s being said. It’s also easy to follow along with the conversation if you find yourself with a specific question. There are a number of questions throughout the series that will help you further your understanding of this classic book. One of these questions, relating to the chapters, may be something you’ve never considered before: how to best write a book.
I can imagine that it took several authors many years to complete their books. So, if you read a book and realize that it took several years to write it, then how come it only took you, maybe three years, to publish it? Authors don’t seem to realize that they need to take time out of their busy lives to put the books to paper. You can avoid the costly and time-consuming project of writing a book by simply taking the information you learned in the Writers Almanac and using it to write your own book. That’s right – there’s hope.