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
- Principles of Successful Content Creation
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.
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.
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?