Spice Up Your Commute and Jump Start Your Creativity with Podcasts

Commutes can be such a drag. Whether you’re commuting on the subway, in your car, running errands or traveling, it’s so easy for those chunks of your day to feel like a total waste.

But what if I told you that there’s an endless and totally free stream of amazing content out there that very few people are really taking advantage of that fits perfectly into your commute? Podcasts are my favorite secret weapon! Not only are they insanely addictive, they give you an entirely new way to process content from some of the best creative minds across multiple industries.

RELATED: 7 Things to Actually Do on Your Commute Home via Career Contessa

The best thing about podcasts–besides being free–is the diversity of genres, topics and styles that are (quite literally) at your fingertips. Despite the recent popularity of podcasts like Serial and The Message, most people have barely scratched the surface of what the world of podcasts has to offer. It can be intimidating to scroll through the endless categories and the “Featured” and “Top Charts” sections can be very one-size-fits-all, but finding the niche you love and diving into a series is definitely worth the research.

Much like music, there are all sorts of genres, sub genres, and I-didn’t-even-know-that-was-a-word genres in the world of podcasts. Instead of giving you a technical run down of all the kind of podcasts you can find out there, I’m going to shed light on some lesser-known-niches that have seriously amped up my creativity and spiced up my otherwise boring commute.

Modern Audio Fiction

If you’re a fan of the two wildly popular podcasts I mentioned earlier, Serial and The Message, you will love modern audio fiction. Shows like Welcome to Night Vale, Limetown, The Black Tapes Podcast, and TANIS will make you question where the masterful storytelling ends and where real life begins.

I love modern audio fiction podcasts because, although I don’t have a lot of spare time to read great fiction novels, the creators of these shows have diligently constructed complex characters, plots, and settings that allow me to flex my imagination almost as well as a really good book can.

Indulging in a half-hour episode or a weekend-long binge-listen of a great modern audio fiction will give your brain the creative workout it needs–without taxing it with more information, tips, and tricks that we are so prone to constantly consuming.

It would be a shame to close out the audio fiction section without mentioning all of the great fiction anthologies in addition to the “series” style shows. These include shows like The Drabblecast, The NoSleep Podcast, and PseudoPod–all examples of dramatic narration of curated short stories in the sci-fi/horror genres. (Who doesn’t love a good scary story now and then?)

Fandom Shows

It’s my firm belief that everyone is a bit of a nerd about something. Whether it’s Star Wars, video games, comedy or anything else, there’s a great chance you can find a passionate fan who’s got a podcast with your fandom written all over it.

What I love about fandom podcasts (which can also include podcasts about a niche industry or a sport, if that’s what butters your biscuit!) is that what we are passionate about not only inspires us, but it energizes us. Think of how much fun it is to find someone else who loves that obscure TV show/movie/game/team as much as you do. Now imagine signing up to listen in on those kinds of conversation on a regular basis, for free. Pretty cool, huh?

Your Favorite Blog’s Podcast

Now, maybe your very favorite blog doesn’t have their own podcast yet. (What, a girl can dream!) But chances are, there’s a similar blog that you follow, have pinned from or retweeted that does a regular interview series style show with different guests each week or offers a behind-the-scenes look at the content creators themselves.

This niche is huge. If you’ve ever read a blog and wished you could have coffee with the author, this so close it’s a little scary. My favorite things about blogger podcasts is how the conversations flow more naturally and I end each episode feeling energized and encouraged–the way I would after hanging out with a really good friend.

Bonus points: I didn’t even have to schedule a lunch date or happy hour. I made it a part of the day I already planned.

Homework

This is going to be totally painless. I challenge you to open up a podcast app on your phone and download one podcast to listen to while you commute this week. But skip the usual “buzzed about” shows and dig deep to find a show that really speaks to you. Experiment a bit, try different shows on for size and find a new content addiction to make your next commute just a little less painful.

Do you have a favorite podcast we didn’t mention above? Tell us about it in the comments–we can’t wait to check it out!