When I am too busy or too tired at night to read, I rely on podcasts to take in content that will keep me thinking and creating. Last night, I was so exhausted after a week of opening activities at my college that I was tempted to go to bed along with my kids at 8:00pm. But that post-bedtime hour and a half felt too precious to only be used for sleep. I had to do something. So I stretched out on my bed, turned out the lights and listened to a podcast called Beautiful Writers on my cellphone. Gretchen Rubin, the best selling author of Better than Before, a book about changing habits, was being interviewed.
Answering a question about how to meet writing deadlines, Rubin explained that there are two types of people when it comes to getting work done—marathoners and sprinters. A marathoner likes to start well in advance of the deadline and have plenty of time to work steadily, taking the project a little bit at a time. This slow and steady process is what ignites their creativity. They need time to ruminate. Sprinters, by contrast, are people who prefer to work up against a deadline. They like the adrenaline of the final push and feel like that’s when they do their best work. If they start too early they can burn out or lose interest. Rubin added that even though sprinters and procrastinators can look alike, they are very different. Sprinters actually prefer to work up against a deadline. Whereas, if you ask procrastinators later if that is what they wish they had done, they oftentimes bitterly regret it and think to themselves that they could have done a much better job had they allowed for more time.
I discussed this podcast with my husband this morning. I am definitely a marathoner. I like to get up each morning and put in a half an hour to an hour on my writing. Then, I need to set it aside and ruminate until the next morning. This is the way I chip away at a project. It makes me very anxious when I don’t have the time I need to create. My husband is more of a sprinter. He ruminates a lot on his morning walks, then sits down and writes a whole sermon or a whole academic essay in one or two sittings. This blows me away. I could never work that fast. But knowing yourself, how you produce your best work, and how your creativity is sparked, makes getting things done and accomplishing your goals a lot easier.
Here are a few more of my favorite podcasts that I listen to while driving, washing dishes, folding laundry, and other mindless chores:
The Author’s Voice: New Fiction from The New Yorker. I love listening to these stories, then reading them later (if I have time) in The New Yorker. It’s a great study in writing to listen and then read.
Preachers on Preaching by The Christian Century. An excellent resource for preachers.
Common Knowledge by the Interfaith Youth Core. Lifts up positive stories of interfaith cooperation and action. You can learn a lot about different religions by listening to this podcast.
Beyond your Blog–this is a great podcast about moving beyond blogging into the publishing world. Unfortunately, new podcasts are not being added any more. But the feed is still full of great interviews with editors.
The Accidental Creative–I learned about this podcast from a comic. Todd Henry gives tips on how to stay prolific, brilliant and healthy in life and in work. Some good stuff here and the podcasts are short–great for a 15 minute commute.
[Feature Image: Terry Freedman]