The official blurb: “This is a podcast about the first time…you publish a book. The First Time is one part reality show, one part writers’ master class. Each episode, we’ll speak to an Australian writer or industry insider about all the feelings and logistics of publishing a debut.” From: https://thefirsttimepodcast.com/
As a writer, it’s no surprise that I love writing podcasts. There’s a lot of them out there, from all around the globe, and I prefer Australian ones like this. Australian writing podcasts tend to focus on the local writing industry and all its offshoots: competitions, writing centres, Australian publishers and agents, and more.
The First Time is steered by writer friends Kate Mildenhall and Katherine Collette. Each episode begins with them catching up on their own writing work and challenges. Then, one of them interviews a local writer. Occasionally, they’ve interviewed agents, publicists and others in the writing world – and all of them generously share writing advice and inspiring yarns.
As an example, Melbourne-based crime writer Sarah Bailey shared insights into how she makes time for writing:
“You can get really overwhelmed with being busy, to the point where the busy-ness itself becomes a job to be done, and the thing I’ve really embraced over the last couple of years is not really worrying about work-life balance … The overwhelm really takes up a lot of mental energy, so I find now when I have an hour, I go “Great, I’ve got an hour. I’ll spend that hour editing, writing that 100 words, doing whatever feels feasible within that timeframe” and that’s half the battle. I feel like maybe when I was younger I would go: “Oh gosh, unless I have a whole day to work on it, there’s no point in even looking at my computer.” See more on the episode here.
More recently, Kate and Katherine introduced a ‘Conversations with Friends’ theme for the podcast, where Australian writer friends take over and record an interview with each other. My favourite episode of this series so far features Jane Harper and Karina Kilmore, who very shared writing recommendations, and insights into their habits. This from Jane Harper:
“It’s really important to make sure your plot works. We all fall in love with characters and people talk about how characters drive you through the book, and that’s true, but you need to give them something to do. If you have an interesting plot, it’s so much easier to write interesting characters … my key advice is to make sure your plot works before you worry about characters and their backstories and everything else … get your plot solid. The way I do that is, I tend to start from the end. So often, when I’m thinking about ideas for books, I’m not thinking about the opening, I’m actually thinking about the conclusion … From there, I work backwards, almost.” See more on the episode here.
The First Time isn’t only for writers: it’s for readers and book clubs, too. It’s like a writer’s festival in your pocket. Highly recommended.