7 valuable writing resources to improve your writing (and more)
Want to improve your writing, boost your creativity, and more? Check out these seven online writing resources to help you become a better writer.
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Why Writing Resources Are Useful
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
— Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. Vol 2
Let’s face it—there comes a point at which every writer could use some help.
Whether you’re an aspiring author or a seasoned novelist, chances are there have been several times when you’ve found yourself searching for the perfect turn of phrase or the best way to introduce a new character.
Such bumps in the road to completing your work can be frustrating, which is why having a number of writing resources you can turn to is so beneficial.
Dr. Johnson made an excellent point, as quoted above, but since not everyone has time to “turn over half a library,” we’ve compiled a list of seven online writing resources for your convenience.
Get a Grasp of Grammar
“And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before—and thus was the Empire forged.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Grammar rules may be a little more flexible when it comes to writing online, but if you’re in the process of penning a book, good grammar is critical.
After all, the last thing you want to do is lose a potential reader because you accidentally left a few run-on sentences or squinting modifiers in your prose.
The good news is that the two writing resources listed below focus on grammar and mechanics.
If you’re concerned about dangling modifiers, subject-verb agreement, or anything else related to the technical aspects of writing, check out these websites to cut down on mistakes.
If you’re not familiar with Mignon Fogarty, the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, rest assured you’ll be taking advantage of her expertise again and again.
Fogarty regularly updates the Grammar Girl blog with helpful tips on everything from punctuation to slang, explaining the complex world of grammar in a funny and engaging way.
And for those aural learners out there, she also hosts a podcast that’s available on the following platforms:
No matter what grammar issue is weighing you down, you’ll undoubtedly find an answer on Grammar Girl that will help improve your writing.
Writing Forward has been around since 2007, and it’s still considered one of the most helpful writing resources out there for authors.
The blog is updated several times a week, giving writers insight into punctuation, homophones, and various grammar rules that can cause confusion.
As a bonus, Writing Forward offers advice on other topics such as creating a writing plan, submitting a manuscript, critiquing other writers’ work, and more.
If you’re struggling with a grammar problem or just having trouble getting started, Writing Forward is a great place to go.
Improve Your Character Development
“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”
— Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
Character development is a difficult task for many authors, as it’s all too easy to inadvertently create a Mary Sue or a Marty Stu.
And we’ve all come across one of those, haven’t we?
But giving depth to your fictional characters beyond just physical characteristics takes time and effort — plus some added help from the experts.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what the following writing resources can provide. When you’re working on introducing a new character (or giving one a much-needed makeover), consider visiting these websites to get some guidance.
Launched in 2014 to help writers grow and succeed, Well-Storied has become one of the top writing resources for those searching for direction.
If you find yourself in need of assistance in the character development department, you’ll find a large selection of articles on creating three-dimensional characters, such as the following:
How to uncover a character’s motivation
How to define a character’s voice
How to describe a character’s appearance
How to create great secondary characters
How to craft believable antagonists
If you need extra guidance, Well-Storied also offers workbooks and courses you can use to take your character development to the next level.
You’re likely familiar with Writer’s Digest already, as the magazine has been around for nearly 100 years, providing valuable information to both beginning and established writers.
However, what you may not know is that the website contains a treasure trove of tips and prompts that will help improve your writing, including how you go about crafting your characters.
From creating flawed characters to writing characters of the opposite gender, Writer’s Digest offers countless articles about the art of character development—most of which are written by successful authors who learned to hone their skills.
Writer’s Digest even offers online writing workshops if you want to take a deeper dive into the world of character development.
The Write Practice
The Write Practice was introduced in 2011 with the goal to help writers—specifically, to help them practice their craft, become better writers, and get published.
To do that, The Write Practice provides writers with virtually everything they need to enhance their knowledge and proficiency, including exercises, tutorials, assessments, and more.
If you’re struggling with character development, this website will undoubtedly become one of your favorite writing resources, as you can get tips on creating realistic characters, introducing problems for your characters, finding a character’s voice, and more.
Boost Your Creativity
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
— Maya Angelou, Conversations with Maya Angelou
Creativity is essential for all writers, even those who specialize in nonfiction. In fact, it could be argued that creativity is the most valuable skill anyone could possess.
But we all experience droughts of creativity at one point or another. When writer’s block rears its ugly head and you find yourself unable to move forward, it’s worth having some writing resources you can use to break through the block.
The following websites allow you to do just that, providing inspiration and techniques to help boost your creativity.
Language is a Virus
If you’re trying to overcome writer’s block, Language is a Virus is likely the solution you’ve been searching for.
The website offers a wide assortment of tools to break through the blockage and encourage an outpouring of creativity. On it, you can find the following:
All of the offerings are designed to get you thinking outside of the box, so regular use can help you improve your writing.
But be careful! There are so many fun and unique ways to get the creative juices flowing, you may get distracted from your work…
Poets & Writers
Poets & Writers was founded in 1970 and is now the largest nonprofit organization for creative writers in the country.
Chances are you’ve picked up one of its magazines, but if you haven’t taken a peek at its website, you’re missing out.
Filled with writing prompts, exercises, topic suggestions, and more, Poets & Writers is a great place to visit if you need to boost your creativity. You can even search for readings and workshops in your area.
Plus, there are numerous book recommendations to help improve your writing.
Bonus: Just for Fun
“Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.”—Ray Bradbury, “A Conversation with Ray Bradbury”
As an author, your goal is to improve your writing (and get your work seen). However, it’s just as important to love what you do and have fun while doing it!
After all, the more passionate you are about writing, the better your chances of creating something truly great.
That’s why we wanted to include a bonus resource you can use when you’re having trouble finding joy in your current project and need inspiration.
Maria Popova created Literary Jukebox as a side project, and it’s a website that many writers visit when they’re looking for inspiration, a boost of creativity, or just some great music.
Famous literary quotes are paired with thematically relevant songs, giving listeners the opportunity to immerse themselves in music while lending greater depth to the book being featured.
If you need background music when you’re working on a project, consider checking out Literary Jukebox for a fun and interesting take on other writers’ words you love.
Every writer runs into issues when crafting a piece, but the good news is there are plenty of writing resources out there to help you overcome them.
The next time you hit a bump in your writing, check out these websites for information on how to improve your grammar, get your creative juices flowing, develop your characters, and find joy in your work.