Ten Tantalizing Dwellings for the Disdainful Blogger
Practical resources for young maker-founders who have to wear multiple hats, including the writing hat. Please don’t throw your computer out the window. There’s hope!
As you continue writing for days on, weeks on, months on end, there’s a tingly feeling in your writing hand, your eyes are bloodshot, and aspirins are becoming a daily side dish to your meals. You just want to swivel far away from your notebook, PC, whiteboard. You probably want to chunk your pen across the room or let out a groan so egregious, a dragon would shirk right the hell away.
I’ve been there, and I’ll probably be there many more times with variations. But within my doubt, besides fleeing to YouTube or Netflix, there are a couple or safe havens that can quell this fatigue.
Here are ten awesome resources that any writer needs to have on their shelf.
First is this handy tool to hook onto your browser. As you’re writing an e-mail to your supervisor, sending a Facebook post, or just writing raw content , this tool will keep a third eye out for you. From spelling errors to comma misuse to modifying your word choice, Grammarly’s there. By the way, it’s free.
She’s another source to find the most common grammar errors and their solutions. Mignon Fogarty’s got a fun writing style that won’t make you fall asleep. But more than your general and obscure errors, she also writes tons about writing tips.
The Stack Exchange is an amusing place. It’s an open response forum where anybody can ask questions and answer them. I recommend both English and Writers S.E.s when you’re in doubt of anything grammar related or wondering the general protocol of writing a particular response.
Found a word that you’ve no idea what it means? Look it up. Got a word that’s hanging on the tip of your tongue? Check a thesaurus. Having these two bookmarked is always helpful, ‘nough said.
CITATIONS AND EDITING
If you’re writing essays or articles, you may find yourself citing your sources (which you should always do nonetheless). Your instructor may prefer MLA, APA, Chicago, but whichever the format, you plug in the necessary info, and EasyBib auto creates the citation. Now, a warning, EasyBib isn’t perfect, and your teachers and professors’ hawk eyes know when you’re shortcutting.
Use EasyBib as a starting point, but take a look at the Purdue OWL or have The Little Seagull Handbook in your shelf for a proper style guide. Speaking of, The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook is another one to have on your shelf. While you may have beef with it (*cough* oxford comma), it’s a general guide to ensure you’re capitalizing where you should and hundreds of other tips.
PUBLICATIONS AND COOPERATION
TWP is just awesome. If you’re a procrastinator like me or find making writing topics just hard, TWP lends a huge helping hand. With daily prompts and tips, you’re encourage to practice every day. It’s not much, just 15 minutes. What’s that to you? What do you do in 15 minutes that you could set aside to practice writing, and embrace your creativity?
They also have programs to support you in writing your book. Check out their 100 Day Challenge in which your goal is to complete your book in only a few months. Sounds horrifying, no? No worries — You have a large community doing the exact same thing, in the exact same position as you, and are eager to help you improve your writing.
If you’re a creative writer, put your content out there. Always, always, always, send your content out there for publication. You’ll get rejections left and right, and left again. It’ll be ongoing rejections for months to years, but if you’re tenacious, there’ll be one person who’ll find the gold within your words. But that’s not all, there are others in the same rickety boat as you. Learn from others. Your stress, fatigue, and malice that have making their prescene in your words — others know it, too.
You write, edit, revise, and repeat. Some people would recommend reading a book after all stress. That’s true. How about listen to one? Librivox is a public domain resource for audiobooks of a vast collection of works published before 1923. Shakespeare to Milton to Dickens, and thousands more. Select one, sit back, eyes closed, and just listen. Or take a nap. Or munch on some popcorn. Honestly, they all work out.
Language: A Reader for Writers, Gita DasBender:
This particular book focuses on the question, “How does language shape our world and how do we shape language?” A collection of essays includes topics of language & politics, the power of words, and also the endangerment of languages, and lots more. It seems boring, but I encourage you to read a bit once a while. They will introduce you to a variety of perspectives that could give you ideas for the next topic or improve your style to befit your audience.
This is also a great book that’ll empower your use of words. I’m an English major, and I often feel that I may have chosen wrongly. Maybe I have, but my path to continue writing nonetheless and someday make a change will never be wronged.
A Reader for Writers is an Oxford series that also includes topics about Identity, Sustainability, and Food.
Another book to have on your shelf, complete with over “50 essential strategies” for us writers. Some of these tips may be reiterated from lectures your teacher told you in high school or those long forgotten, but here’s a recap with an emphasis on experience. He’s bringing decades of professional writing into this book. From tips on the nuts and bolts of grammar usage to useful habits, this guy is replacing your rusty screwdriver with a power drill.
Take your time with this read, and let the experience seep into the bones of your fingers as you pen your next work.
What tips and advice or bumps in the road have you found along your journey? Let us know in the comments below!
Savin Weera is a UT San Antonio graduate with a B.A. in English. He is currently a writer at Sputnik ATX, Austin’s new incubator / accelerator for startups, launched October 4 — Apply today!