- When I started taking my writing seriously, the most difficult thing I encountered was the overabundance of resources. I wasted more time than I want to think about perusing page after page that wound up offering me no concrete help in any area … My goal here is to help you avoid the time-sink that I fell into, and present you with actual, honestly helpful resources for the writer’s journey.
- Flash Fiction Chronicles: I don’t just list this site because I am the Assistant Editor … I wasn’t always. I wasn’t even always a contributor. I discovered FFC through their Daily Writing Prompts, which were (and remain) a staple in my arsenal of writing tools. From there I graduated to reading the articles about the craft of writing, and only after I had been working with the advice I found there for some time did I accept the encouragement to contribute. It is now my absolute joy to be a part of the process – I think every developing writer can benefit from FFC – and should!
Duotrope Digest: This is my first stop when looking for a market for a piece I have finally decided to send out into the world. The search options are fantastic, and they have a huge database of markets seeking writers – according to people not me, they also have a wonderful (and free) submission tracker on their site. The wealth of information is a lifesaver in determining whether a specific piece is right for a particular market. Seriously, once you are ready to find a home for your work, go here first.
The Market List: This is my second stop. You sort of have to know where you’re looking to publish for this one, since they offer links to almost every market in the known universe, but have no search function like Duotrope. Instead, they have an alphabetical listing of markets – each market name is a link to more detailed information about it. This site takes longer to navigate than Duotrope, but it is still a valuable resource, especially if you are looking for a very specific market.
35 Personal Essay Markets (collected by Kay Marie Porterfield): If you step outside the realm of fiction, you can find yourself in the deeply personal world of creative non-fiction – and you would be surprised what personal essays are worth these days. I do not know Ms. Porterfield personally, but I return to this list every time I have an essay I think could make it out in the wide big world. If creative non-fiction is your thing, this is your list.
50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills: I love Smashing Magazine. I love it as a creative soul, a graphic artist, a designer, and a writer. There is something here for every single creative person on earth … this particular article deals with writing — specifically how to improve it, free. I have absolutely used these resources, and I’m certain you’ll find one or two links here that you’ll be glad you found.
National Novel Writing Month: Pooh-pooh all you like, but the ‘novel innna month’ mentality is one of the best ways to make that critical voice in your head shut up for a while. 50,000 words in 30 days – the emphasis is on wordcount, not word quality. This goes against everything I had been doing previously, writing and rewriting before I had even finished a page … For the month of November, though, I send my inner perfectionist on vacation, and just get the words on the paper. When she comes back, we can work together to improve the result. I thought it was insane, but I am now a devoted proponent of the NaNo process. (I’ve completed the challenge 3 years running!) Join me this year!
Seventh Sanctum: I love generators, and Seventh Sanctum is the Summerlands of generators. Names, characters, businesses, plots – you name it, they’ve got a random generator for it. I defy you to spend ten minutes investigating the options here and not walk away with an idea or twelve. This site can be used for just about everything – may you use it as successfully as I have.
Zoetrope: This is a creative community that I am only just beginning to participate in and understand. The premise is to have your work reviewed by your peers, but to be able to submit a story for review, you must first review 5 other stories from other members. This seems like an incredible collaborative process, and I am looking forward to exploring it to the fullest.
Facebook: Every writer needs a presence, whether they want one or not. I broke down and split myself into two Facebook accounts – one for me, one for my writer. Used well, you can drive traffic to your website or blog, direct people to your published work, and even get answers to those questions only writers seem to wind up asking out of the blue. (I believe my last plea for help to my Facebook fans was “what animals regenerate body parts when they’re lost, and what do all of those animals have in common?”) Personal interaction in a social forum goes a long way towards building a readership base. It’s worth a shot.
Twitter: Yet another “writer’s presence” tool – I am very bad at using mine, at the moment, but I have a Twitter account. Used properly you can find interesting, informative people to follow, and get your own name out there as a writer by ‘tweeting’ the same things you would post on your Facebook – what you’ve written, where it’s published, who mentioned your work in their blog, etc. I have to improve my use of this.
TinyURL: Your best friend when you are linking to your work online via Facebook or Twitter – links can be very, very long, and most social networks limit posts to 140 characters or less. Enter the magic tool that takes http://www.longestlinkaddressever.com/thisiswheremyworkispublished/sortedbyauthorname/anddate/finally_the_story.html and transforms it into http://www.tinurl.com/8y6FFR5 — much, much easier to communicate.
As I discover more resources that I think are worth your time and effort, I will link to them here.