50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

My friend Sherryl over at Ebooks4writers.com shared the following link in her latest newsletter.  Though it is easy to substitute learning to write for writing (i.e., procrastination), this link is awfully useful – especially on a Sunday afternoon.  Enjoy!

Visual Merriam-Webster Dictionary

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/28/50-free-resources-that-will-improve-your-writing-skills/

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Sage Advice from Harper Lee

Never mind the hide, for starters don’t use idioms like “sage advice.”

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career, that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide — Harper Lee.

Pulled this from an article on Writer’s Digest, where Allen Drury also said “set a schedule and stick to it.”  In other words, stop searching for “writing advice” on Google and get writing (actually, I love reading writer’s advice on writing – it’s an addiction)!

8 tips on writing by Paulo Coelho

I am a huge fan of Paulo Coelho.  The Alchemist has resided in my top-five books for a very long time, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon!  A fan of his collected some of his writing tips, and I love the message: keep it simple, tell a story, and allow your readers the respect to make of it what they will.

Check out his top 8 writing tips (I’d reproduce them here, but I’m not sure he will answer my request to do so – so just follow the link, worth the 2 minutes for sure!  http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/06/21/tips-for-writing/)

Top Ten Writing Books

My friend Suzanne, over at panhandleprofessionalwriters, posted her “Top Ten Book on Writing Everyone Should Read.”  If you haven’t stopped by her blog, you should – awesome posts on authors, writing, books, conferences, and other creative writing topics.

Panhandleprofessionalwriters: A blog that bring together writers of the Panhandle of Texas and surrounding regions

Here is her list:

1.   The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

2.   Bird by Bird:  Some Instruction on the Writing Life by Anne Lamott

3.   On Writing by Stephen King

4.   Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

5.   Ernest Hemingway on Writing Edited by Larry W. Phillips

6.   The War of Art:  Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield

7.   How to Create a Sentence by Stanley Fish

8.   How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren

9.   The Writer’s Journey:  Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

10.  Word Painting:  A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan

My list matched 6 out of the ten (so far), how about you?  Do you have a list?

 

Feed the soul…

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They depen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anyone can write…

William C. Knott, in The Craft of Fiction, cogently observes that “anyone can write – and almost everyone you meet these days is writing.  However, only the writers know how to rewrite,   It is this ability alone that turn the amateur into a pro.” — taken from Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft (Burroway and Stuckey-French).

I don’t think Mr. Knott could be any more write right- because revision, I’m afraid, is a pain in the [____].  It takes an insane amount of determination and dedication; in most cases, it’s fueled by desire and rather than creativity.  It is subject to constant battles against procrastination, this post just the latest piece in the onslaught.  I remind myself that people, like the three mentioned authors above, have conquered this process before, and so, so can I.  Look at the bright side, 80,000 is nothing when it comes to revision!

 

Creative Writing: Getting Started and the Craft of Fiction

The following how-to-write books have been absolutely instrumental in my quest to learn the craft of fiction: 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeWriting Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft & Writing Poems w/Workshop Guide to Creative Writing Value PackThe Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young WritersThe Elements of Style (4th Edition)
My creative writing collection.

Follow the links for user reviews.  Any other recommendations?  Please do share your resources on creative writing.
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