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    The 6 Best Writing Resources

    best writing resources

    If you want to climb a mountain, you need equipment.

    You need a map, protective clothing, hiking boots, food and water.

    Oh, and taking a guide along is also useful.

    It’s the same with the Great Writing Challenge.

    After dusting off your writing dream, you need to make it come true. And for that, you need equipment.

    You need the best writing resources.

    Here is a list of the resources I’m using and maybe you can suggest what you find helpful.

    I’ve collected resources for both fiction and non-fiction.

    Best Writing Resources

    1. Create a Long-Range Plan for Becoming a Bestselling Author

    best writing resources

    Check out 10 Powerful Secrets Of Bestselling Authors by Dr. John Yeoman. This article is excellent because it covers some things you need to consider when planning your novel.

    If you want to become a bestselling author, that is.

    I was struck by the following piece of advice:

    Publish a series of novels in fast succession. Have several novels in the pipeline—finished or nearly so—when you present your first work to a publisher or go the self-publishing route.

    It makes sense. I know that when I discover an author I like, I tend to read all his or her books in quick sequence. If they have a sequence, that is.

    A couple of years ago, I happened upon Charles Rosenberg’s legal thriller Death on a High Floor. I loved it! But I couldn’t find anything else he’d written. So I contacted him on his Facebook page and asked him about his other books.

    He said, ‘Glad you liked my first novel! I’m just writing my second one. Should be ready in a year’s time.’

    As you can imagine, it seemed like a long wait. But I remembered his name recently and found that Charles has now published his third novel!

    Thinking about John Yeoman’s advice to publish novels in quick succession, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to create a central protagonist whom I could use for a series of novels. (I’ll write about this more in my next post which is about plot and character.)

    If you’re planning to write a non-fiction book, this next article is for you.

    2. Pick a Blockbuster Topic for Non-Fiction

    best writing resources

    How To Write A Blockbuster: The 10-Step System. This excellent article by Mike Harrington explains how to pick a topic and bring it to life. Here is an excerpt:

    This is no time for blindly throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. Be scientific about uncovering a topic that people truly care about.

    Head over to Amazon and run searches on a few topics you’re passionate about. Keep your eyes peeled for keywords and themes that pop up repeatedly.

    What’s been written? What’s succeeded? What’s fallen flat? If you want your book to make a splash, your best bet is to choose a topic that sits at the intersection of:

    • Your strong interest or experience, and
    • What readers want to learn.

    This is great advice, don’t you think? It’s so easy to jump on a topic and start writing without really looking at whether it will appeal to readers.

    But whatever you are writing, it’s critical to record your thoughts. Even if they seem strange or inappropriate, ideas are valuable because they can proliferate if they mingle.

    It’s like putting a pair of rabbits in a hutch. Soon you’ll have a clutch of rabbits! (Sounds like a poem in the making, don’t you think?)

    3. Collect Your Brilliant Brain Waves

    best writing resources

    It’s important to record all stray ideas. That’s why I keep a notebook by my side at all times.

    For example, I had a fleeting plot idea for my second novel (ha!). I was eating dinner. but quickly got up and recorded it in my notebook. I can’t actually remember the thought, but I know I wrote it down… phew!

    Here’s a fantastic article on how to capture and develop ideas by using a journal:

    5 Ways Your Journal Can Take You Deeper Into Your Story.

    4. Learn from the Greats

    I had a good look at books on how to write. Here are three books that I keep close. The first one is for fiction writers, the next two can improve any kind of writing.

    Elizabeth George, Write Away

    The art of writing is all about the inspiration of the moment and the excitement of riding the wave of an idea. – Elizabeth George [Tweet This]

    The best one on how to write a novel is Write Away by Elizabeth George. You can get it on Kindle but I prefer a paperback so I can scribble all over it.

    best resources for writers

    Scribbling helps me take in the information. It’s very different from just skimming. Of course, you can also add notes on a Kindle, but I find it more powerful to use a pen.

    Elizabeth George has taught many writers, and her book Write Away is a compilation of her lessons. It’s like going to school with Elizabeth.

    Gary Provost: Make Every Word Count

    If you write, you are a writer, whether you have published millions of words, a very few words, or no words at all. – Gary Provost [Tweet This]

    best writing resources

    This is a very exciting read. The subtitle says A Guide to Writing That Works—for Fiction and Nonfiction. And this is exactly what the book is about: making sure your writing works. Gary explains:

    By writing that works, I mean writing that does the job it’s supposed to do, whether the job is to inform, entertain, sadden, anger, or instruct.

    Sol Stein: Stein On Writing

    This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions–how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place. – Sol Stein [Tweet This]

    best writing resources

    I keep this book under my pillow in the hope that some of it will transmit to my brain at night.

    And I dip into it every day. For example, here is a bit from his chapter “How to Show Instead of Tell.” 

    Let’s look at the evolution for telling into showing in the following examples:

    She boiled water tells.

    She put the kettle on the stove begins to show.

    She filled the kettle from the faucet and hummed till the kettle’s whistle cut her humming short shows.

    She boiled water in a lidless pot so she could watch the bubbles perk and dance shows.

    As you can see, Stein on Writing is full of actionable advice. My copy is dog-eared from daily use.

    5. Practice Your Writing

    best writing resources 13

    For your big writing project, you may want to improve your writing by doing some writing practice.

    But what works?

    Why This Practice Makes You A Better Writer by D Bnonn Tennant shows how this way of practicing makes you a better writer:

    It is only after you have internalized the basic sound and feel of good writing—which is something you must do by rote copying of excellent models—that you will have a base for building your own unique skill set.

    It is only after your writing looks like Halbert’s or Kipling’s or Hemingway’s that you will be able to start refining it into something more like your writing—and do so in a way that will still work.

    I’ve started copying some good thriller writers. I’m using a pen and my notebook.

    Is it working? I don’t know.  But I think it’s worth a try.

    6. Writing Software: Scrivener

    A key tool I use is the amazing writing software Scrivener.

    You can use it for fiction as well as for non-fiction. I’m using the novel template to keep myself on track.

    In fact, I learned to use it in just a few days with the easy course Write Faster with Scrivener.

    Watch the following video by Mary Jaksch from her post How to Write Faster with Scrivener. (Her post has definitely sped up my writing…)

    What about you? 

    How are you going with the Great Writing Challenge?

    I must admit, I’m struggling to make enough room for it in my life, but I’m managing to scrounge a small segment of time for my novel each day.

    What writing resources do you find useful?

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab her latest all new course Blogwriter's Bootcamp 2.0 or a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Rishi says:

      My both brains become active after midnight 🙂
      Great and helpful article. Thanks for sharing. Simple things described in effective way.
      Keep up.

    • Ali Khan says:

      I think that we need to practice a lot to become perfect. Great writer practiced a lot and only wrote when they felt that what they had written was the best. These days with the internet making it easy to share our stories people have stopped practicing.

    • Hello Mary,

      Thanks for sharing these amazing tips and thoughts. I think we all need to read and learn from the great writers of the past. I read a lot of stuff and I think some day I will finish my book.

      Thank you. 🙂

    • kdrama mp3 says:

      I like to read novels and poems. And i also want to write some poems about nature and adventure. Really this is amazing.

      I will continue my writing lessons from these great writing resources you so tirelessly assembled for us to use. And this ‘practice your writing resource’ is right on. English is my second language. So I have been practicing my writing and collecting them all in one place (instead of hiding them in shoe boxes): on my anonymous website without RSS feed. But now… maybe… No, I should get some honest feedback by not hiding so my writing can get better.

      As to whether it’s the only proportional system one uses in organizing a building it shows a naïveté again as to the realities of construction. Buildings are made of many pieces and parts that the architect attempts to assemble into a coherent whole. Before and after the Modulor the ratio was used as only one way of defining an organizational pattern. I see no argument that states it is the only organizational system of proportion that architects use that works. Meier may not have used this ratio but his architecture is organized around dimensions, grids and patterns. Architects use ratios to form order whether it be 1:1. 1:2 etc. – these are but a few of the tools we have to create order and beauty in our buildings

      Well, your point about right-brain and left-brain is interesting, Leonardo.

    • mp3z says:

      Thank you both, Mary and PD.
      I will continue my writing lessons from these great writing resources you so tirelessly assembled for us to use. And this ‘practice your writing resource’ is right on. English is my second language. So I have been practicing my writing and collecting them all in one place (instead of hiding them in shoe boxes): on my anonymous website without RSS feed. But now… maybe… No, I should get some honest feedback by not hiding so my writing can get better.

      As to whether it’s the only proportional system one uses in organizing a building it shows a naïveté again as to the realities of construction. Buildings are made of many pieces and parts that the architect attempts to assemble into a coherent whole. Before and after the Modulor the ratio was used as only one way of defining an organizational pattern. I see no argument that states it is the only organizational system of proportion that architects use that works. Meier may not have used this ratio but his architecture is organized around dimensions, grids and patterns. Architects use ratios to form order whether it be 1:1. 1:2 etc. – these are but a few of the tools we have to create order and beauty in our buildings

      Well, your point about right-brain and left-brain is interesting, Leonardo.

    • Sandeep says:

      amazing post, Helpful for me and i hope this for everyone

    • Arpit singh says:

      Very nice article. I must say helpful information for sure.

    • I like to read novels and poems. And i also want to write some poems about nature and adventure. Really this is amazing.

    • Great article dear, thanks for sharing. Very helpful for me as I love to write new article everyday for my blog. 🙂

    • Arvind says:

      Yes Good post, It will help me and other reader sure.

    • loisjohn says:

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    • chaitanya chari says:

      Wow.. Just awesome writing!. There is a great info in this post. Thank you so much

    • Just Fabulous. Amazing write up . A Lot of valuable information in a single article. Thanks for great article . I really liked the way you described things.

    • Abhishek says:

      Hello,

      Great article and thanks for sharing resources, my #1 resource is Google. 😛

    • Awesome article. Helpful for me as i have keen interest in writing small novels and poems.

    • nilay Shah says:

      Great post. Thanks

    • david says:

      I would be able to write perfect content now. Subscribed the blog!

    • Some good resources mentioned in the article. Thanks for sharing.

    • I am a novel author so these resources are really helpful for me!
      Thanks for sharing it

    • Trevor says:

      Some great tips here – thanks!

      I like the idea of picking a blockbuster topic so that at least some of the guesswork is taken out of the process. And having a long range plan (with short term goals so you stay on target) is always useful.

      One other thing would be to check news. Here in the UK we always seem to have books that relate to something that’s just happened in the royal family almost as soon as the news appears. It’s quite a deadline for a writer but it increases the odds of success as you’re riding a wave.

    • I have improved my writing skills from base level to a level of okay and people around me also like the content I write

    • Chaitanya Chari says:

      Very nice article. Helpful for me as i have keen interest in writing small novels and poems.

    • Michelle Yates says:

      Thanks for sharing this reliable post.I am searching for resources for writing some of my academic papers. This post will surely help me a lot.

    • serxio says:

      Really bummed I didn’t make the list this year, but I see a lot of familiar faces on this one. Congrats, everyone

    • agree with PD that Dr. John Yeoman is a great resource and has an excellent email newsletter.

    • Great post with some interesting ideas. I normally just play games by getting my imagination to put items out of box and try to make a story out of them. Stuff like that works well for me.

    • J.C. says:

      Awesome tips!
      I am dying to get my hands on Scrivener and I am totally getting on the train this year with the practice.
      I will be keeping a close eye on WTD posts this year. Thank PD Simeon.

    • Rocky says:

      very cool article this is, i learnt few thing by reading this article. I will try to improve my writing skills, thanks for the nice post.

    • Celia says:

      Thank you both, Mary and PD.
      I will continue my writing lessons from these great writing resources you so tirelessly assembled for us to use. And this ‘practice your writing resource’ is right on. English is my second language. So I have been practicing my writing and collecting them all in one place (instead of hiding them in shoe boxes): on my anonymous website without RSS feed. But now… maybe… No, I should get some honest feedback by not hiding so my writing can get better.

    • Kimsea Sok says:

      This article motivational article which I ever read about writing…

      Actually, I’m a newbie and none native English write. To be a write is really difficult to me, but I love my dream. I used to try to write an ebook, but I gave because the time constrain and lack of ability to write more…

      Honestly, this article is helpful to me because push to me to continue my write and get me up on my dream…

      I agree, to write faster and better you’ll to practice and committed in writing…, You’ve got to learn to from the great..

      I learnt from you….

      Thanks for wonderful article..

      • PD Simeon says:

        Thanks for you lovely comment, Kimsea.
        I think it’s a good idea to write in your native language. There will be a many grateful readers.

    • Diane says:

      Thank you so much, PD and Mary. How lucky we are to have this space to learn in. I appreciate your efforts. I’m getting closer to starting my ebooks. I have a complete outline for the first one and vague outlines for the other two. I’ve been attending a virtual teleseminar on my topic for the last week. It has been wonderful, but it’s time now for me to “Stop learning and start doing.” Thanks again.

      • PD Simeon says:

        “Stop learning and start doing” – I really relate to that big time. I’m good at learning, but the next step is much more difficult.

        And I always find more to learn…

    • Good article other resources I use is imagination and google. I agree with point one I have a series of books.

      • PD Simeon says:

        I like your idea of listing imagination as a resource 😉

    • Ashley Gamrat says:

      Thank you so much for the awesome resources. They will definitely be looked at and use. Even as i read a book now in my head i’m changing words or sentences to the way i like them. Are they better? Who knows, but i’m more aware of what i like now.

      The boost i get daily is the 500 words a day or 1 hour editing a day challenge from twitter. You can january’s by search #janwritingchallenge a lot of helpful encouraging people and gets you more eager to do something each day

      • Chris P says:

        That’s very true about editing, Ashley. My own publisher asked me to do a bit of editing for him… of other authors’ work (though, of course I do edit my own books carefully before submitting them). I found it both fun, and very useful. You can learn a lot from other peoples minor errors as well as what they do well.

        It’s interesting that some authors can edit for others, but not edit their own work (because when they read it, they often read what they meant, not what they’ve actually put. This is especially true when a piece was easy to write… the words just flowed faster than you can type, so some get missed but you don’t notice on the re-read.)

        Some (and I’m lucky in this) can edit their own work accurately… though an independent edit, usually by the publisher or someone he’s assigned, should always be done too.

        There are many, however, that can write superb novels but need careful editing to kick their work into a publishable shape.

        You don’t have to be a great speller or punctuator to write great stories (it helps though) but if you’re not, don’t trust a ‘programme’… get it edited before it’s published. That’s one of the very best reasons to find a non charging publisher, rather than self publishing, or pay to publish. They will get it edited. The other good reason is that they will tell you honestly if it’s ready for them to risk their own resources on putting out into the marketplace.

      • PD Simeon says:

        Thanks for alerting me to the Twitter hashtag @#janwritingchallenge. I’ll check it out.

    • Mary – Thanks for allowing PD Simeon to guest post. I agree with PD that Dr. John Yeoman is a great resource and has an excellent email newsletter. Additionally, I also really enjoy Hope Clark’s Funds For Writers weekly email. That is of course, with this email from Mary!

      It’s a funny coincidence about point number 4 – Learn From The Greats. I wrote a post recently about how to Beg, Borrow and Steal from the great artists and masters to make your writing more confident.

      Thanks again for sharing, I’ve bookmarked a couple of the links to get to further reading later.

      • PD Simeon says:

        I really appreciate your vote of confidence, David!

      • Thanks for chiming it, David. Your comments are always very thoughtful. I read your post, Beg, Borrow and Steal Your Way to Becoming a Better Writer.

        It’s a very good post. How about writing a guest post for WritetoDone? You are invited.

        I’m glad you are enjoying PD Simeon’s guest posts. I am too.

    • Your point about a series is spot on!

      Fiction or nonfiction, I don’t think there’s a better way to sustain a connection with your readers while also building your platform to reach more. Think Hugh Howey, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant … as just three current examples of a growing trend.

      I say current, because it’s not really a new approach, just revived now that publishing costs are not as much of an issue. Charles Dickens published in a serial format, as did many other writers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

      How lucky are we that we can consider it a viable approach once again!

      BTW – you listed three books I haven’t yet had the pleasure to read. I always love hearing about another great book. Thank you for sharing!

      • PD Simeon says:

        Your comment about serial books is interesting, TO. Yes, of course, Dickens is a fantastic example of how well a series can work. Thanks for adding another layer of thought to my post.

    • Charlotte says:

      Very helpful. Thanks a lot.

      • PD Simeon says:

        I”m glad this post was helpful, Charlotte.

    • Chris P says:

      My greatest resources are quite simple.

      1) The aging Mac that was given to me (needing repair) for job hunting following redundancy.

      2) A long history of meeting a wide assortment of people, in a wide assortment of situations, in my working life.

      3) Imagination.

      4) My bed… because when I awake, I’ll often have a vague recollection of my dreams which can provide the seeds of threads and plot ideas.

      5) Google… for checking details, researching possible themes, refining grammar and spelling by accessing various sites – just to make sure. I’ve looked up dashboard and control layouts for cars and aircraft, Google maps and street view to check sightlines (I write crime fiction) and journey times/routes.

      6) My telephone (and e-mail) – again for checking details, whether it’s for calling acquaintances who have first hand knowledge that I can draw on (My son in law is a police officer, an old friend a pathologist, another a postal worker, others have other useful backgrounds)… or phoning an organisation for info – I’ve phoned a police headquarters to check which station an arrested man might be taken to when involved in a particular crime, or what facilities a particular local force might have. I’ve called up a city hall for info on their gents’ toilets that wasn’t on the online floor plan (relating to a murder at an event on the premises… fictional, of course). I’ve called port authorities, I’ve called specialists in particular car and aircraft marques to ask about certain structural details (especially on older models), so I can use them as plot devices.

      7) Last, but not least, and tied to all the above to a greater or lesser degree…PEOPLE.
      It’s amazing how helpful people are when you say you’re a novelist checking details. No one likes reading about their own expertise, when an author has got it wrong. I try to get it right… or not include enough detail to be identified as wrong, if I don’t know for sure. Credibility is everything. Get the facts right, and the reader will believe the fiction.
      People who’ve posted online… People who review other writers’ work… and your own, which brings me to those people who buy and read your books eventually. They’re the greatest resource, because they are what encourages you to write… whether in the hope that they’ll read you, or whether once they have, they’ll continue with reading your series of novels.

      Then there’s those most important of people… the publishers, particularly those independents, who are prepared to take a chance because they believe in you. (Thank you Robert.)

      • PD Simeon says:

        Ha! I enjoyed your comment, Chris!
        Yes, people, people, people are our best resources. Wonderful that you’ve found a publisher who believes in you. Reading your comment made me believe in you too 🙂

    • Sorry, but these Show Don’t Tell examples are nonsense and ‘show’ exactly why most writers are unable to grasp this subject. SHOW is not about sensory information per se, although it might be. TELL is not about a neutral description. TELL is about instruction: the reader doesn’t get any proof and has to swallow what the writer opines or tell him to believe, feel, think etc. “Boiling water” is simply neutral. It may be dull writing, but that’s another story. Hence, “She boiled water in a lidless pot so she could watch the bubbles perk and dance” is not showing but telling (explaining why she used the lidless pot).

      SHOW is about allowing the reader to draw his/her own conclusions. That’s more engaging than being told (instructed) what to feel, etc. Processing instructions are rational (left-brain) mainly, whilst being challenged to draw conclusions are mainly emotional (right-brain activity). It’s for this reason why show is prefered over tell.

      • PD Simeon says:

        Well, your point about right-brain and left-brain is interesting, Leonardo.

    • Rod says:

      Helpful,—f I someone asked me if I knew these things, I might say yes. but seeing them written down, reminds me to use them.

      • PD Simeon says:

        Yes, the same things happens to me too, Rod. It’s good to be reminded 🙂

      • Jacob says:

        I’m not quite sure what motivated the author but he seems rather naive about design tools architects use.

        Darcy Thompson documented the natural occurrence of this ratio often enough in his book ” On growth and form” that its demonstration should be given weight.

        As to whether it’s the only proportional system one uses in organizing a building it shows a naïveté again as to the realities of construction. Buildings are made of many pieces and parts that the architect attempts to assemble into a coherent whole. Before and after the Modulor the ratio was used as only one way of defining an organizational pattern. I see no argument that states it is the only organizational system of proportion that architects use that works. Meier may not have used this ratio but his architecture is organized around dimensions, grids and patterns. Architects use ratios to form order whether it be 1:1. 1:2 etc. – these are but a few of the tools we have to create order and beauty in our buildings


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