7 Resources for Writers to Take You to the Next Level

resources for writers

Strive for the next level

I am a writer. I am also an Internet marketing consultant, mother, wife, reader, runner, and musician.

Pretty much every part of my life has a writing component. I write blog posts, proposals, and reports for my business. I am writing a book related to experiences with my daughter. I write notes and thoughts in my journal when I read. I have even been known to write about running (and other hobbies) on my personal blog.

Writing is a part of everyday life. And as bloggers, we write (or should be writing) every single day.

I believe that most people can learn how to write. Not like Hemingway or Shakespeare. But write well. Write content that is interesting and valuable to other people.

Over the years, I have read various books and blogs related to writing that have truly inspired me and helped me become a better writer. These are resources for writers I’d like to share with you.

1 The Elements of Style

If you are a true writing geek, you will love reading this book by William Strunk and E.B. White cover-to-cover. However, even if you are not, please pick up a copy and keep it handy when you write.

I especially enjoy the illustrated version with illustrations by Maira Kalman.

Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating. ~Strunk & White

This manual provides all sorts of stylistic advice and wonderful examples of good and bad writing. It is a must-have for serious writers. (In fact, I used it while writing this post!)

2 If You Want to Write

This phenomenal book on writing
phenomenal book on writing by Brenda Ueland was first published in 1938. Fellow writer/blogger Tammy Strobel recommended this book on Google+. I downloaded it to my Kindle the very same day.

It is difficult to describe why this book is so amazing. I think part of it is the strong, no-nonsense female voice. I think another reason is how encouraging it is. And of course, it has all sorts of advice for aspiring writers.

Here is a wonderful passage from the book that really spoke to me:

You see I am so afraid that you will decide that you are stupid and untalented. Or that you will put off working as so many wonderfully gifted people do, until that time when your husband can retire on full pay and all your children are out of college. ~Brenda Ueland

It made me promise myself to write my first book before my daughter even starts college!

3 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I had the pleasure of listening to the audio version of Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing which the author himself narrates.

This book is part autobiography and part “on writing.” Both sections are fascinating and inspiring.

King shares everything from the tools in his “toolbox” to his routine as a writer to the process of getting published. It is geared toward fiction writers, but I found most of it to be relevant to me as a blogger and non-fiction writer.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. ~Stephen King

If you like audio books, I definitely recommend this version. It feels like King is in the room with you, sharing advice like a mentor. Indeed, I felt like I got to know him so well that I went out and read four of his other books (Carrie, The Green Mile, The Stand, and The Shining)!

4 ProBlogger’s How to Write Great Blog Content

ProBlogger has a great guide on how to write great blog content.

It pulls together several articles related to all aspects of writing a blog. Here are the main categories:

  • Where to Start
  • Techniques
  • Workflow
  • Motivation
  • Principles of Successful Content Creation
  • RSS

I especially appreciate the advice to make your content “scannable,” informative guest blogging tips, and ideas for getting back in the groove when inspiration is lacking.

5 Write to Done

Of course, I have to include this terrific blog, written for the writer and blogger. It is full of inspiration to keep you going when you feel like all the ideas have drained out of your brain.

Associated with the blog is an amazing free eBook, called The (Nearly) Ultimate Guide to Better Writing, which is a compilation of essays on writing by various authors and bloggers. I like to read one or two selections on occasion to get pumped up about writing.

The editor of Write to Done, Mary Jaksch, is also the co-creator of an ongoing training for bloggers called the A-List Blogger Club. I have not personally participated in training, but I hear great things about it. If you are a member, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

6 Copyblogger

Copyblogger is one of the premier online resources for copywriting and content marketing information. Founder Brian Clark is a leader in the industry and has been featured in numerous books including Problogger.

On the site, you’ll find a number of great tutorials. I have personally read Clark’s report on SEO Copywriting, Copywriting 101, and Headline Hacks. (You can spend a whole week reading about headlines!)

They also syndicate 30-minute podcasts, which are quite delightful.

7 The Library

I’ve had a library card for as long as I can remember. I used to spend hours in the school library poring over comic books like Tintin and Asterix comics (I grew up in Sweden…).

I’ve read most of the classics, many works of modern fiction, and everything in between. And I know it has made me a better writer.

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. ~Stephen King

Stephen King sets aside his evenings to read. In fact, he reads an extraordinary amount of books every year. Another great writer who reads a lot is successful blogger Leo Baubata. He shares his reading list on his website.

A reading habit can get expensive if you’re always buying books. Go to your local library and enjoy the process of browsing, checking out, reading, and returning your books. These days, you can also borrow books for your eReader from sites such as Neibors.

Thoughts?

Thank you for letting me share these resources with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments:

  • What are your favorite resources as a writer?
  • Where do you go for inspiration?
  • How do you find time to read?
  • What is the last great book you read?

About the author:
Tabita Green is a blogger and Internet consultant. You can read more on her blog Live Simply Enough.

The (nearly) Ultimate Guide to Better Writing

Become a better writer overnight with this FREE eBook
  • Find daily inspiration
  • Improve your writing overnight
  • Get started, even when you don’t feel motivated
  • Complete what you start
  • Get WTD updates
Fill out the form below and get your copy immediately!



61 Responses to “7 Resources for Writers to Take You to the Next Level”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. JNM says:

    So very tired of seeing Strunk and White being paraded as the paragons of perfect writing and grammar. Their prescriptive rules make no sense for English, and indeed, they break their own rules several times in Elements of Style. See http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497 , written by George Pullum, a linguist.

    • PJ Reece says:

      With all due respect to your opinion, JNM, I would caution against jumping on this current bandwagon that is rolling over, then backing up and rolling over again, and generally running poor old Strunk & White into the mud. In any guide book, we can take what works for us and simply ignore the rest.

      • Tabita Green says:

        I agree. I certainly learned a lot from this resource, and I do reference it still. The fact that other great writers use it in their work also makes me thing there is some value to be gleaned. But with any resource, you use what works for you.

  2. Ursula Grey says:

    Love your list! Ueland’s book is a favorite of mine, especially when I’m looking for inspiration:-) Some of my other personal favorites are: Writing Tools, 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, by Roy Peter Clark and The Faith of a Writer Life, Craft, Art, by Joyce Carol Oates. I also have more here: http://ursulagrey.com/2010/02/11/excellent-books-on-the-art-and-craft-of-writing/ Write to done is also an excellent resource for writers:-) Must say that number seven is, and always has been, one of my favorite places. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tabita Green says:

      Hi Ursula, thanks for your feedback. My reading list is going to grow dramatically from all the wonderful suggestions on this post. That’s a good thing!

  3. PJ Reece says:

    I am most inspired by my literary friends — my wife, my best buddy, my long-distance email pal, and my writing group. I am lucky to have friends who push me, who know more than I do, who have read more widely, and who teach and inspire professionally. I go to every writing workshop available. My whole life I’ve been trying to catch up to those brighter than myself. I’ve appreciated that aspect of life with a limited intelligence.

    • Tabita Green says:

      Spending time with people who know more than you do, run a little faster than you do, or play the guitar a little (or a lot!) better than you is always a good thing. Thanks for sharing this perspective.

  4. Aziza says:

    Thanks for the list – it’s satisfying to see that all but 1 of these resources on my “have read/ read” or “to read” lists. I’ll have to add the Brenda Ueland book to the mix. I’m currently reading “Writing shapely fiction” by Jerome Stern which is a timeless and brilliant resource for fiction writers. I’ve recently finished “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp, which is more about creative habits (surprisingly!) but has been useful my writing.

  5. Robert says:

    One if my favorites is “Becoming a Writer” by Dorothea Brande

  6. Hi Tabita,

    Great! Great Post.

    Sure, loved your list of resources to help write better. Darren Rowse’s ebook, and Write To Done are the ultimate source of information regarding blogging and writing for an aspiring write like me. I often refer these sites for writing inspiration. Please keep them coming !

    For writing muse, I definitely check out ‘The Elements of Style’ and ‘On Writing Well’.

    Yes, I normally read after I complete most of my writing assignments. But I also love to read when there’s no one around. I do tend to read a wide variety of genres as much as possible. This helps me improve my writing as I learn different writing styles of different writers.

    I book I would also like to recommend is the, “The Artist Way”, which is written by Julia Cameron. She shows how we can get our creativity back by doing ‘The Morning Pages’. It sure has helped me to unblock my creativity and transform myself as a critic to an creative artist.

  7. Matthew Barden says:

    The A-List Blogger Club? I LOVE it! I’ve learned more about blogging and about writing in four weeks than I did previously in a whole year!

    Top stuff, top trainers – and a warm and welcoming environment.

    It just doesn’t get any better than that!

  8. Favorite book(s)..Almost anything by Charles Dickens and the ever-amazing Mark Twain. Why more relevant than ever? I have the perspective of age and a whole new set of eyes vs. the ones I used when I first read them. My God, these men are brilliant as chroniclers of the human condition, human foibles and idiosyncrasies, etc. Peeling the onion is so applicable here, for there’s a whole new world for me to immerse in. As to where I get my inspiration, it’s all around me; I am a student of people. I watch them and dip myself into their humanity, and for a moment of shared conviviality, I feel less the loneliness of the writer and more at one with humanity.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Although I am a writer, the blogging world is brand new to me. The A-list Blogger Club has not only given me outstanding resources like no other, it has connected me with a wonderful community of caring bloggers who selflessly give their support, encouragement and great wisdom. I feel like I’m home!
    -Rebecca Bailey

  10. Bobbi Emel says:

    Great list, Tabita!

    I love the A-List Blogger’s Club! It’s a very welcoming community and I can find the answer to just about any of my questions about blogging there, either through the interactive forum or from Mary herself. It’s been a great help to me and my blog!

  11. Thanks for this fine informative article! I have EB White’s book. I have had a couple memoirs published and am working on a few children’s books.

    To answer your questions:

    What are your favorite resources as a writer? My Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus in dictionary form and The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Both reside within reaching distance of my laptop..

    Where do you go for inspiration? Right in my own apartment on my laptop. I keep track of memoirs that the Chicken Soup for the Soul books are looking for . I am involved in a couple volunteer services, one as editor of a historical society newsletter. My staff is always coming up with ideas. Another as a volunteer docent at our local zoo. Stories about the individual animals crowd my mind.

    How do you find time to read? I always have a book next to my bed, and read something every night

    What is the last great book you read? The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman

    Esther Griffin of Binghamton, NY

  12. Dolly says:

    I have all of them except for Copyblogger books and the second one on the list. I think writing books are a great resource (assuming they are good), not just when you are starting out, but also as a refresher. Sometimes, we fall into sloppy habits, and they are good to get us out of them.

    I personally love reading Virginia Woolf’s Writer’s Diary.

    • Tabita Green says:

      Dolly, I agree. I also think that reading books about writing has a similar effect as going to a conference or attending a workshop. It gets you excited about what you do and inspired to continue!

  13. Ani says:

    Really nice post!

    I found out about AList Blogger Club over a month ago and I am extremely happy I did. There is warm environment where you feel welcomed. The best bloggers take you by the hand and explain everything in details. You get really inspired and learn very useful stuff in very short period.

    My blog looks much better now and my readers spend more time on my blog and leave more comments than ever before. And I am sure this is just the start! :)

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Hi Ani, thanks for you comment. I’m so glad you experience the A-list Blogger Club as a ‘warm environment’. I’m always worried about blogging newbies because I remember what a challenge it was when I started blogging.

  14. Lori Lynn Smith says:

    AList Blogger Club is a great resource. Mountains for articles, videos, interviews and tutorials. An excellent group of people that are willing to share and help out at any given moment. Leo and Mary warmly invite you into their tribe and share all of their expertise.

    An awesome list of valuable resources, that you use to grow your online impact by leaps and bounds.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Thanks, Lori! We’ve worked so hard to make this an awesome training for bloggers – so it’s just wonderful to read a comment, such as yours.

  15. I absolutely love, love, love the A List Blogger Club! Incredible value with loads of top information and a supportive forum of other bloggers who can’t help you enough. The resources there are amazing.

  16. I have been a member of AList for almost two years now.

    It continues to get better and better, in part due to the continued added content but even more so because there are people who are both moderators as well as members who are doing well that contribute. They are openly willing to help those who have questions, whether you are a beginner or have had several blogs.

    The cost of my membership has paid for itself exponentially!

  17. Joline says:

    You lost my attention at “Hemmingway.”
    A “professional” writer so careless about spelling (or proofreading) an author’s name inspires no confidence.

    • Tabita Green says:

      Hi Joline, I apologize for the typo. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I do take great care to proofread my work and this one must have slipped by. It does happen on occasion.

    • Nann Dunne says:

      @Jolene: Hemingway, himself, was a notoriously poor speller. As an editor, I occasionally make spelling mistakes, too. “Fumble fingers” are to blame, not lack of knowledge. One of the best writing blogs around, Storyfix.com by Larry Brooks, sometimes has typos, too. But the information there is outstanding. If I were finicky about spelling, I would have missed a tremendous resource for writers.
      I appreciate Tabita’s sharing her experiences with us.

  18. Karen says:

    The only resource on this list I’m not already intimately familiar with is ‘If You Want to Write’. Seeing as I use the other six all the time I can only assume it would fit pretty well with what I’ve already got on my bookshelf (and in my bookmarks, or even in my wallet, if we’re including my library card). Must check in out.

  19. My favourite writing book, without a doubt, is Spunk and Bite by Art Plotnik. He’s a fabulous writer and has great ideas.

  20. Sharon says:

    Love this blog. Elements of Style, absolutely! Great information and applicable across the spectrum. Thanks!

  21. Liz says:

    Hey Tabita,

    If I’ve learned anything about good copywriting, be it ebooks, novels or blogging, it’s referencing good resources. You can learn so much from the writings of others and their great wisdom.

    My first blog posts were pretty horrible, I still look back, even today at some of my recent blog posts, and go “what was I thinking?’ The problem is, I wasn’t :-)

    Writing has to be a conscious effort. You can learn as you go, but you have to remember what you learn and always apply it. It gets better with practice, but that’s another key ingredient, practice.

    Liz

    • Tabita Green says:

      Hi Liz,

      I totally agree. There was a time in my life when I was not reading at all (because I was too busy making money), and I felt like I wasn’t growing at all as a person – and obviously not as a writer. What I appreciate about several of these resources is the call to pay attention to detail and really think about writing as a craft.

      When I read drafts that I’ve written, I always find words to cut or ways to make the writing better. It’s definitely a conscious effort.

  22. Kaylee says:

    I’m lovin’ this list. I’ve had “On Writing: A Memoir” recommended to me recently…Maybe this is a sign I need to check it out.

    I’m a member of the A-List Blogging Club…It’s been about 2-3 weeks, and I’m already SO impressed. The atmosphere is so warm and welcoming, and people actually go out of their way to help you. The feedback is super helpful – when you’re looking at your own work, it’s hard to see the flaws. But on the forums, you have TONS of other awesome bloggers who can see room for improvement – and tell you so, in the most encouraging of ways. I could go on, but..bottom line: Love it! :)

  23. Diana Stevan says:

    Thanks for the suggrations. Most are familiar ones. I find the best teachers on writing are successful novelists themselves. I am learning through reading.

  24. I’m a member of A-List Blogging Bootcamps and an appreciative one at that. In fact, I think so much about A-List Blogging Bootcamp that I wrote a 1,500+ word review that I’ll be publishing on my blog next week. Spoiler alert: the praise flows freely and the content is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

  25. Thank you so much for mentioning The Library! It astonishes me how many people don’t make use of their local library, especially writers! It’s completely free people, go visit now! (Okay, rant over).

  26. great post. I swear by Strunk and White and ‘On Writing’ both great books. I have now ordered ‘If you want to Write’ and looking forward to it. Library – yes, yes, yes. Where else would you go.
    And since I discovered this blog a couple of months back I have been inspired even more. Keep it up.

    One other book you might want to check out is ‘Writing down the bones’ by Natalie Goldberg. This was my first on writing book and one I come back to time and again.

  27. Beth Wilson says:

    You are so “write,” Tabita. Writers must write but writers must also read. Like many, my personal library is heavy on writing books. I also find kinship with spiritual seeking books. One thing that’s tough for me is WHAT I read when there is SO much I want to read. I almost have to make myself go “light” from time to time. The latest novel I read was On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves. Not for everyone, and it ended up not being so light, but I finished it several weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it!

  28. Brandon Dean says:

    WOW! You are a writing machine!! That is so awesome and respectable, I think the problogger resource bank was my favorite tip.

  29. Ciara Conlon says:

    I read constantly both books and online content so am always inspired by something. As regards resources I too am a member of the alist blogging community. It has transformed my blog and probably my life. I have gone from zero to 500 subscribers in 6 months and have learnt so much about so many areas of blogging, writing and doing business online. The connections I have made are invaluable as I have learnt so much from other styles of writing.

    • Brandon Dean says:

      For some reason reading headlines gets me more inspired then content. I read a headline, for example, one on your site saying “How to take the plunge and beat procrastination” and it automatically inspired me to write a post about procrastination although it is totally different in content. Does anyone else feel the same way?

  30. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  31. SLMechanical says:

    Great Tips for a good writer. it very good and collective point. thanks,