If your New Year Resolution was to get serious about your writing, then you’ve come to the right place! Last year I dug myself out of a frustrated pit of wanna-be-writing into the Land of Writers That Write. But I didn’t do it without help. Below is a list of the tools I found most inspiring, informative or at least entertaining. After all, writing can be a lonely endeavor and we all need to laugh more.
Disclaimer: These are the tools that helped me. I make no claims to their magical powers for muggles. I’ve received no compensation for mentioning them, nor do they necessarily want to lay claim to my transformation.
Books (new to me)
I’m endlessly fascinated by the lives of working writers. Invariably, I find out that they’re human beings that sit down and type or scribble on paper. That’s the one thing they all have in common. Yet, we all have different tastes and some offer savory quotes on creativity while others offer sturdy bites of craft. Some aren’t about writing specifically but shed light on the human condition–and my desire to suck more out of life–in a way that resonated with me.
- Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro
- Blogging for Dummies by Amy Lupold Bair and Susannah Gardner
- Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver
- A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement by Barbara Abercrombie
- Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
- This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
- The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner
These are comfort books. Reminders to be brave and work hard for what we want.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul
- The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
- If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
Websites, Blogs and Podcasts
There you are, alone in your kitchen wondering how they do it? How do you find the secret door to the writers’ world? Google of course! The sites listed below are the ones I returned to time and again for the how-to stuff and the why-should-we stuff. They are the ones I visit during my lunch hour at the day job when the inner critic tells me I’m not a “real” writer.
- Funds for Writers by C. Hope Clark – Excellent insights on craft and professionalism along with listings for paying markets, contests and submission calls.
- Writers On Writing with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett – A weekly podcast with one or two interviews with authors on the craft and business of writing. Archives include past interviews for replay or download.
- Helping Writers Become Authors by K.M. Weiland – Podcast with several years of archived episodes on specific elements of craft. Short and to the point.
- Women Writers, Women’s Books – A mixture of craft, inspiration and business advice. This group also has a thriving social media presence and welcomes newcomers.
- Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck – Really, they don’t. Wrote one of my favorite things based on a prompt featuring appetizers, Jesus and a unicorn.
- Your Writer Platform – No, you don’t need a platform if you’re just starting out. But building a website and connecting online has provided writing opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise. It’s also a nice place to call home.
- The Write Life
- Ellen Brock on YouTube – short videos on craft
- Writers on Writing by Knopfdoubleday.com on YouTube
- The Writers’ Loft in Chicago
- Story Studio Chicago
- Chicago Writers Association – Inexpensive to join and a wide membership that is well-connected.
Facebook – Established a professional page and connected with various writers groups. Two of my favorites require approval to join:
Women Writers, Women’s Books – Page of the website mentioned above.
Calls for Submissions – New posts everyday on established and emerging publications accepting work from all genres.
Twitter – My favorite for writers. Some hashtags to follow are #Amwriting, #Amreading, #FridayReads.
Google+ – I’m on it but it isn’t my favorite.
LinkedIn – Changed my profession to “Writer” and made it official!
The Bottom Line
Reading about and tweeting other writers will not make you a writer. But these resources answered questions, taught me things and gave me outlets for my work. My hope is that sharing them with you might help you connect with a community of creative people that support your determination to write.
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about these or other resources you’ve come across. And treat yourself to a subscription of either Writer’s Digest or Poets & Writers magazines, or both!