4 Essential Writing Resources Every Writer Should Use

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This blog is primarily aimed at sharing the resources and tips I stumble upon as I develop in my writing career. I’m constantly trying to find ways to share what I’ve learned with you in an easy-to-read format. That’s why I published a writing guide and have been humbled by how many of you have reached out to me how useful it’s been for you. I’m so glad!

To continue in this spirit of sharing resources, here’s a quick look at what I use on a daily basis and you might want to consider too.

1. Scribophile – Free Online Writing Critique Website (75$ for unlimited posting)

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 1.16.28 PM.pngThis has by far been the most valuable resource in my writing journey. You can read my original post of when I first experienced Scribophile here after going through a few months of searching for help. I’d tried an in-person workshop but felt that was far too slow for my writing needs since they only met once a month, and then discovered Scribophile. There are countless forums and groups of people dedicated to writing who not only are willing to help a newbie writer, but enjoy doing so.

Shortly after joining, I decided to go with the paid membership to be able to post more work at a time and take advantage of the veteran groups of invite-only writers. Not that a paid membership is really necessary for the latter, but it just makes it easier to use the site to its full potential. And if you hang around there long enough you’ll find a place you belong and be able to surround yourself with people who can help you grow. I talk with writers I’ve met on this site daily and I know I would be years behind in my learning if I’d never reached out and realized I didn’t have to do this alone.

2. Scrivener – 40$ Writing Program

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 1.24.20 PM5117m6sxr3LScrivener wasn’t something I was going to get for myself due to the price. It was a fellow writing partner who I met on Scribophile who knew it was so vital, she actually bought it for me and demanded I try it. It was an amazing experience. You can read this post from one of my favorite bloggers hitting on why Scrivener is so useful, but in a nutshell it has two invaluable perks that made a difference for me. One is the ability to organize outlining and scene note taking to make revisions and drafting so much more efficient. The second is Scrivener‘s capability in formatting your manuscript for you in a matter of seconds. I can easily setup the book for a query draft with specific formatting guidelines requested by agents or publishers with only a few clicks, or I can setup the manuscript for self-publication format. I can even make my own PDF, .mobi and .epup (Kindle) formats for ARC (Advanced Review Copy) readers and beta readers.

In fact, to test out Scrivener‘s capabilities, I used it to self-publish my writing guide. It was easy and I learned so much about the self-publishing process. I made enough sales in the first month to pay back my writing partner for the awesome gift of Scrivener. She didn’t intend for me to pay her back, but because of her I was able to publish my book in the first place.

3. Free and Cheap Stock Images for Book Covers and Blog Images

I have a blog post on how to make awesome free images for your blog or book cover here, and I continue to update it as I find new resources. Now I’m still adding things I’m finding for free fonts, and later I plan on adding resources for royalty-free music for book trailers. There’s so much out there for free and it’s quite amazing and beautiful stuff. You just have to know where to look for it.


Fallen to Grace Final

Just to give you an idea, all the images I use for my blog and flash fiction are free, primarily from Pixabay. The image I used for my mock-up cover for Fallen to Grace was 15$ from Shutterstock, free front from fontsquirrel, and modified using a month trial of PhotoshopCC. Well, to be honest, one of my writing buddies made this version. I made one similar but not quite as good!

If I decide to make more covers, it’s only $10 a month to reactivate the Photoshop subscription. There’s quite the learning curve to how it works, but I do feel it’s worth it. If I wanted to buy a cover (eBook and Paperback), I’d be spending $1,000 or more easily.


4. On the Prowl for Bloggers and Experts

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I’m constantly trying to expose myself to well-read individuals, experienced literary agents, and best-seller authors. To my surprise, I primarily find myself having the best luck on places like Twitter. The reason is because I have an account solely focused on discovering such individuals, and unfollowing anyone who is an annoying spammer or doesn’t provide useful (or at least entertaining) information. When it comes to writers, Twitter seems to be a hub to share the latest and most useful blog articles and provides a streamline of intelligent discussion. I can browse through the tweets and find topics which catch my interest and normally get swept off to a new blog or resource I hadn’t known about.

If you want a Twitter “Writer’s starter kit,” I suggest following these people on Twitter:

Literary Agents:

@PaulaSMunier : Here’s one of the only agents I’m going to recommend following at this time. You should follow the agents you feel would be a good fit for your work and get to know them. The reason why I recommend following Paula however is because she is a Writer’s Digest speaker and the author of “Writing With Quiet Hands,” a book which had a huge impact on my writing growth. She doesn’t tweet much, but when she does I listen.

@sue_mill : Susan is an agent who I admire and hope to one day query with a book that’ll knock her socks off, but she’s also inherently kind and cares about writers. She’s always encouraging and participates in live Q&A. I enjoy having her on my feed.

Authors and Book Bloggers:

@robinhobb : Robin is a famous author best known for the Fitz and the Fool series. I simply just love her books and love to see any tidbits she offers on her feed, personal or otherwise.

@BrianRathbone : He has hilarious tweets which make my feed fun.

@thecreativepenn : She has am amazing writing and book blog which constantly tweets useful articles and advice.

@AngelaAckerman : Angela’s niche is the Writing “Thesaurus” series (shown below) which has won Writer’s Digest Awards. Her books are amazing and I enjoy her useful tweets.

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@RayneHall : I enjoy his funny tweets which remind authors not to be spammy or annoying with their Twitter accounts by use of entertaining comics. Sometimes advertises his own work but I can forgive that because there are also adorable cat photos of his own kitty preventing him from writing. Cat pictures will get you major kudos from me. Lol.

@KMWeiland : Bestseller author who also speaks at Writer’s Digest Conferences and has heaps of useful tips on her feed.

@jk_rowling : Rowling is surprisingly active on Twitter and often has useful inside information in the 1% of the writing world.

@jennamoreci : Jenna is the only writer I know who does a video blog. I’m sure there are more but I haven’t come across them yet. I really like how she’s been able to market her self-published work and gives indie authors a professional platform to emulate. She also often has great advice for other writers on her feed.

@awakedragon : #FicFest mentor and is very active with useful tweets.

Organizations:

@goodreads & @WritersDigest: Every writer should follow GoodReads and Writer’s Digest. It’s kind of like a writer’s news station.

@WritersRelief : For the most part, this organization shares useful articles but does sometimes try to sell things. They’re more useful than annoying so I’ve kept them on my feed.

My writing partners and friends who I’ve met through Scribophile:

These are all the people I’ve found invaluable in my personal growth as a writer. They’re amazing writers and I recommend you connect with them too!

@SCBoesger : Fantasy and Women’s Fiction author who is extremely talented, and her temperament is so much better than mine. Her patience amazes me.

@bewarethejabb : Jerry is currently working on a Historical Fiction which is an undertaking I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Jerry is passionate about writing and the leader of one of the largest writing groups in Scribophile which changed the course of my writing career. Jerry also attends Writing Conferences in New York and I love to get the inside scoop!

@MerryRavenell : Merry is an amazing writer who can spit out a draft in no time. I admire her ability to write so quickly. She’s also had a few wattpad novels in the top 10, and often holding first place in their respective categories and has millions of readers. There’s a lot you can learn from someone who’s learned the secret of winning an audience.

@EleanorKonik : Eleanor is extremely well-read, smart, and educated. Every time I talk with her I learn something new. I also love her fantasy novels and admire how much research she puts in even when it’s a completely made-up world. That’s how it should be.

@rnmckinnon : Rebecca is talented and also impressively organized. I love to read her blog and see her latest strategies for getting her work done efficiently and effectively.

@KelsieEngen : Kelsie is an amazing writer with sheer talent. I love her work and can’t wait to see more of it. Her tweets are also enjoyable and often showcasing pictures of her writing desk for the day complete with coffee and funny comments. I really enjoy having her on my feed.

@_MandyWebster  : I interviewed Mandy in September of 2016 (read here) when she had just gotten the ball rolling with her indie career. I have continued to watch her blossom and it’s so much fun to get to root for someone who keeps improving and gaining ground in this difficult field.

@carly_marino : Carly is one of my closest writing companions. We work so well together because we have very similar novels (she also has an angel fantasy book that I adore). We constantly consult one another and help each other improve our work. She’s an amazing writer and is just as passionate as I am about this field. It’s so great to work with her.

@sylviaheike : Sylvia always has great tips and new articles on her feed. She’s a useful person to follow and a great writer too!

@WriterEdmonds : Elise continues to impress me. She often runs Twitter games and gets writers to have fun exercises such as writing a story in 5 tweets or showcasing their one sentence in their book and getting people involved with one another. She’s the kind of writing activist I want to see more of in the writing world.

@AJFlowers86 : I’d be remiss not to include myself! I strive to only tweet useful articles, interesting commentary, and sometimes a cat gif or two.


To fully utilize twitter, I strongly suggest you participate in Twitter Pitch Contests. It’s not about landing an agent, but rather getting priceless feedback from professionals in this field. I’ve gotten some amazing critiques and feedback on my work through Twitter Pitch Contests and it was well worth the small effort to participate.

Click here to see my blog posts on past Twitter Pitch Contests and Tips.

There are tons of great resources you can utilize for writing, and the best kept secret is you don’t have to be alone in your writing endeavors. The modern age gives you a chance to read advice from bestseller authors in a few clicks of a button, use programs that will help you get organized, and establish yourself with people who will only encourage you and help you grow.

Please share what resources you have that work for you in the comments. As always, happy writing! See you next time!


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