You know they think we’re crazy, right?
Ah, the eternal they, also commonly known as them.
Does anyone really know who they are? I mean, they have been peering over our shoulders and telling us what we should and shouldn’t do for…Christ; does anyone really have a start date on them?
Anyway! If you’re here, on this page, reading this text, then you, my epic reader, are a writer. And you know precisely which they I am referencing. It’s the they who presume to tell us that whittling away the hours creating characters, plotlines, and pithy paragraphs is a waste of time.
“Why do you spend so much time doing something with such little chance of success?” They cry.
Because it’s My Job
Take that, Them! It’s my JOB. Back off!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a moonlighting writer, a gainfully employed copywriter, a published indie author, or a subset of the species. One inescapable fact applies to each and every one of us:
Writing is hard work.
Like we said a year ago in An eBook Market Review & Guide to 2015 (pst, we are currently scouring the Inter-Webs to produce our 2016 guide, by the way… looks at to-do list and faints):
“Writing is a marathon-like challenge. You have to be dedicated and unafraid of being your own legitimate boss.”
So suck a lemon, Them! We spend countless hours writing because it’s our job!
And if it’s not our job, it’s our passion, damn it. Do not invade our happy space!
Speaking of happy, wouldn’t becoming a better writer make you, oh, I don’t know, happier?
Yeah! Me, too.
But let’s dispense with the old dos and don’ts list, shall we? Down with the “rules” and in with something much, much better…
20 Helpful Websites for Every Writer
It’s time to bookmark the best of the best on the World Wide Web. After painstaking scouring, we have compiled a must-have list of bookmark-able websites that every writer—full-time, part-time, or seasonal—should keep handy.
The Nitty Gritty of Writing
- The U.S. Copyright Office: It’s the official website of the United States Copyright Office. It contains helpful and accurate information for registering a copyright, recording a document, and learning about licensing. You can also search the official records of registered works.
- The OWL: It’s an acronym for Online Writing Lab, and it’s provided by Purdue University. It’s a fantastic go-to spot for style tips, grammar guidelines, and resources for creative and academic writing.
- Quick and Dirty Tips: Welcome to the adult version of Word Girl, AKA Grammar Girl. She’s hot on the trail of everything to do with English. When you have a grammar question or just need to brush up on developments in the English language, this is where you want to land.
- AutoCrit for Fiction Writers: AutoCrit is a great resource for the hands-on author. Use it to analyze your text for free and receive tips for strengthening your writing.
- Grammarly: It’s sort of like AutoCrit on steroids. Grammarly can be used to analyze text for grammatical and style issues while also improving word choice. It doesn’t replace a live editor, but it holds its own. It has a free and premium (paid for) version. Learn more in our in-depth Grammarly review.
- Writers Market: It started as a giant book, and today it’s available in digital form. Writers Market is the go-to place for where and how to sell your writing. From literary agent to publishing markets, it’s a staple every writer (aspiring or other) should have securely bookmarked.
- Funds for Writers: You can’t quit your day job and jump straight into a writing career. Not if you expect to pay the rent, anyway. But you can use Funds for Writers to find grants to make your writing goals easier. And after being sponsored by Writer’s Digest for the past 15 years straight, it’s a resource you can trust!
- The Write Life: There’s an epic compilation of everything you need to know from freelancing to marketing to self-publishing and getting published. It’s called The Write Life, and it’s taking up a little piece of digital real estate called thewritelife.com. Go forth and bookmark it! Subscribe to their community while you’re on a roll.
- Writer’s Digest: If you’re not following Writer’s Digest, then where have you been? They’ve only been the go-to resource for authors and writers since…um…forever? From resources to competitions and everything in between, WD is a must use resource for upping your game.
- Writers FM: Now these folks are cool. It’s a radio station by writers, for writers. Whether you’re looking to defeat writer’s block or improve upon your already mad skills, check these peeps out and listen in.
You cannot write if you do not read. Sometimes the best way to embark on the journey to better writing is to just read.
And then there’s practice. Practice always helps.
So here are some of the best spots in Cyberspace for reading and actionable writing prompts:
- Bookshelf Battle: As one of our in-office favorites, we have to place BQB at the top of our total inspiration for 2016 list. You’ll be in heaven on this bookshelf because it’s so appetizingly diverse. From general writing news like James Patterson’s Master Writing Class to the epic adventures in Pop Culture Mysteries, you can lose yourself to reality or fantasy. The only thing missing is a link to some BQB e-books to fill your Kindle carousel, something that just might happen before you know it.
- Chris The Story Reading Ape: Just subscribe and wait. Chris is the King of Curation. The Story Reading Ape’s blog is brimming at its cyber seams with the latest and greatest info for indie authors, writers, and people with a damn good sense of humor. It’s the perfect place to receive an introduction to new authors, new ideas, sparks of inspiration, and more.
- Chris McMullen: When it comes to Kindle and Amazon, McMullen has your back. His blog is always hopping with the latest buzz relevant to indie authors. His knowledge of Kindle and publishing via Amazon is unrivaled, and he presents everything in an easy to digest manner.
- Terribleminds: It’s the home of Chuck Wendig’s blog, and it is an absolute must for every writer who wants to write better. There just…there aren’t words to adequately articulate how freaking awesome his blog is. Need inspiration? Need a not-afraid-to-kick-you-in-the-ass pro? Then subscribe to his blog and devour his new posts.
- Erika Napoletano: She’s the Queen of Unstuck, and she’s gotten me unstuck repeatedly. I actually won a copy of her book, The Power of Unpopular, and I have dog-eared the pages something fierce. Erika knows her stuff. She’s an insanely talented writer, unafraid to say exactly what she thinks, and definitely an A+ resource for any writer looking to turn writing into their full-time business.
- AdviceToWriters: We don’t all have time to dig into meaty material, and that’s okay. Check our AdviceToWriters for a Quote of the Day post and daily email. It’s usually short, sweet, simple, and perfect for inspiration and motivation.
- DailyWritingTips: You can find everything writing related at this piece of cyber real estate. DWT specializes in providing daily writing tips and inspiration to spark and fuel your creativity.
- Fantasy Author’s Handbook: It’s the number one book on writing fantasy and sci-fi. Check out this Philip Athans’ online handbook for ongoing discussions about writing epic fantasy and science fiction. His approach is witty and engaging, but best of all, it will make you rethink how you approach your work.
- The Procrastiwriter: ARGH! Procrastination. It’s the bane of our existence, is it not? Kick it to the curb with the help of Shanan. She knows what it is to do more procrastinating than writing, and she can help you get back on a productive track.
- The Kill Zone: It’s an epic resource for anyone focusing on writing and publishing fiction. You’ll find a smorgasbord of insider perspective topped with a hearty helping of thoughtful and informative articles about writing and marketing.
So there you have it…
…20 websites you can bookmark, frequent, and even grab a subscription to. There’s just one thing left to helping you better you writing in 2016…
Setting Your 2016 Writing Goals
Goals are important because they tell us where to go.
If you hit the Atlantic Ocean at full steam with no goal, you could end up anywhere. Don’t take off into the sea of writing with no final destination clearly in mind.
So what do you intend to accomplish this year? A blog? An e-book? A job? Whatever it is, keep it firmly in focus.
As we set sail into 2016, our goal is to light up your inboxes and RSS feeds with useful information. We’ll be covering topics for freelance writers, independent authors, small to large business owners, marketers, and more.
Join us for the ride. And while you’re at it, tells us what you have planned for 2016 by leaving a comment.
3 thoughts on “The Writer’s 2016 Guide to Better Writing”
Great stuff, Anita. I swear by Grammarly as well — in fact, I’m currently using it to fill in this comments box. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for an excellent and very useful post!
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Why thank you, thank you. I’m so honored to be on your list, at the top even.
“Them” as in the they who snicker at us for writing. As my 3.5 readers may have noticed in BQB and the Meaning of Life, I listened to “them” at a young age, went for more traditional career goals, quickly learned that the economy sucks, the American Dream is on life support and basically ended up not getting so far in those “traditional career goals” thus leaving me to think I might as well have just done what I wanted (i.e. write) from the start.
Oh well, live and learn but I suppose my advice for any twenty somethings reading would be that the glory days of hard work guaranteeing success are over, so you might as well go for what you like to do.
Then again, I can’t advise anyone to quit their day job to write either. Competition abounds, whether its for those much coveted writing gigs to a lowly position as the Assistant to the Assistant of the Vice President for Corporate Assistance at Beige Corp (many would be happy to have that sweet gig.)
I do hope there are some Bookshelf Q. Battler books coming out sometime, hopefully at least one this year. I’m at a bit of a crossroads…as I work on Season One of Pop Culture Mysteries, I realize I’m basically writing a whole novel but in blog form. Is that a waste of time? Do people read fiction on blogs? Is it a fun way to tie a blog into a novel and bring your blog fans to your books? I don’t know.
As far as I know no one (at least that I know of) has tried it yet so I’ll give it a go. I’d like to move from blogging to book writing but I suppose time must be spent building up blog stories about who BQB is, what Pop Culture Mysteries are, and why readers should care to buy BQB books.
Oh and lately I have been considering maybe just locking myself in a room for a couple of weekends and banging out a fun horror story, something involving either vampires or zombies that I could release at Halloween as I had a fun time last Halloween on the blog.
Organization, motivation, convincing myself not to give up…these are all things I have to do in 2016. Thanks!
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