I love to write but it can be a lonely pursuit. And then there are the “what if no one buys this” concerns. My daughter, Amanda, owner of Wit & Whistle, created a motivational poster just for me. It is visible every time I enter my office or kick back to take a break.
And she added a note on the back, “but don’t worry. It won’t suck!” I hope this page of information helps my writing friends.
Note: Amazon affiliate links are provided. These will open a window on Amazon.com for shopping.
This is a great place for a would-be writer to start. Not everyone likes Stephen King’s novels, but the man can write. In this treasure he shares his background, his struggles as a writer, and a plethora of useful writer advice. I have been through my copy twice in the last year and it is well marked.
Buy from Amazon: On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
On writing Well by William Zinsser
What Stephen King does for fiction writers, William Zinsser does for nonfiction. Zinsser holds the writing of Joseph Mitchell up as an example of nonfiction written so it reads like a novel. Wow! I bought a copy of Up in the Old Hotel by Mitchell and could see Zinsser’s point.
How to Write What you Love by Dennis E. Hensley
I have heard the adage “those who work do and those who can’t teach” but in Doc’s case, he can write and teach. My copy of this one is well-marked.
Buy from Amazon: How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It
Having this book on my desk is like having the teacher’s manual, you know, the one with the answers. I browse pages when I need a break from writing and pay attention to the rules. Number 17 is my favorite – “Omit needless words.”
Buy from Amazon: The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
Great book from someone who knows publishing. My copy is filled with tabs marking sections I found particularly useful and plan to revisit. I found some sections a bit discouraging – if you don’t have a platform with 5000 people ready to buy your book you will never get published, you need a schedule filled with speaking engagements to show a prospective publisher your value, etc. I understand the points being made and vow to forge ahead. I have to start somewhere. This book was a Father’s Day gift and a very worthwhile addition to my library.
Buy from Amazon: How to Write a Book Proposal
An updated edition is available. This gem is stocked with examples of good and bad writing. The Table of Contents is sufficiently zoomed to make the book easy to revisit for reference and reminder. News writers desire to communicate accurately using as few words as possible. Seems like a great goal for most writers.
Chuck Sambuchino offers a good definition of platform – “your visibility as an author, your personal ability to sell books right this instant.” Many case studies and practical examples of platform construction by various authors makes this work a good reference to add to the book collection. Chapter 8 provides ideas for blog content. The message I took away was to work at the platform, one step at a time.
Talk to experienced authors, attend a writer’s conference, or sign up for a webinar on writing and you will soon hear the name James Scott Bell. Bell has authored a stack of books educating hopeful writers. He graciously shares his knowledge, experience, and advice in the manner of a wise mentor. The Art of War for Writers is a compilation of 77 easy-to-read and easy-to-understand writing tactics, exercises, and strategies. My copy will become well-worn in the coming years as I refer back for refreshers, encouragement, and coaching.
To achieve my goal of improving as a writer, I need more than wishful thinking. I need an action plan that includes learning from the best. Buying books to fill space on my shelves does not bring improvement. The books must be read, marked, annotated, and revisited often. Revision and Self-Editing for Publication is a practical work filled with expert advice, check lists, and excellent analysis questions to assist me in polishing my manuscript. It is a solid investment to add to your collection.
Here’s a site with 150 resources for writers. Now, don’t waste all day browsing as you still need to actually write something today.
I am working my way through Don MacLeod’s book, How to Find Anything, as he teaches me how to research. Some of the tools he references are brand new to me. Here are some I have now bookmarked.
Need some free pictures for your blog? Try this site:
I discovered the Library of Congress has a wealth of online information, including photos that may be used with proper credits. Take a look:
There is a free level to Britannica and a subscription option. An online version of the flagship encyclopedia which uses no bookshelf space.
Census data coupled with a search mechanism. What is the average sized house in zip code 27613?
Great books online with a search engine to find quotes and passages.
General information. Includes a “This day in history” search.
Treasure trove of scientific information.
A blog entry from comparitech offering a guide to search engines for academic research