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The 10 Free Resources Every Writer Needs

Photo courtesy of DeclanTM

By Maria Schneider of

The Web is abundant with free guides, resources and, of course, advice for writers. The fact is, there’s so much out there that it’s difficult to sift through the clutter to find what might actually be helpful.

So we’ve done the work for you. Here are the 10 essential online resources that you will bookmark and turn to again and again in your writing career. And the very best part—they’re all free.

1. U.S. Copyright Office

This is the spot to quench your copyright concerns and even register your work for a copyright.

2. Merriam-Webster

This is the most reliable online dictionary and it’s also the house standard for many magazines and publishers. There’s also a handy thesaurus so you can find just the right word.


Timely information on writers’ rights, including the quickly changing landscape of electronic rights courtesy of the American Association of Journalists and Authors.

4. Purdue University Online Writing Lab

If you’re a little fuzzy on passive tense or your commas are out of control, check out the OWL brought to you by Purdue.

5. Folio Literary Management

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting published, with explanations of every step along the way from writing a book to acceptance (not rejection—think positive!)

6. Agent Query

An indispensable free resource for finding a literary agent. They also offer a handy query tracker.

7. Duotrope’s digest

This site offers a searchable database of 2300 current poetry and fiction markets.

8. Shaw Guides

A comprehensive listing of writers conferences, searchable by location, date and genre.

9. Elements of Style

The classic writing style guide by William Strunk, Jr. is now freely available online. Even if you studied it in college, read it again, you’ll take away something new that will refresh your writing.

10. Poets & Writers

The website of the venerable writing journal provides the most comprehensive guide to writing contests and grants.

If you know about more great, free online resources, please share with your fellow writers here in the comments section.

Maria Schneider is the former editor of Writer’s Digest magazine. Find more of her tips and articles on writing and publishing at

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