Writing Resources

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We all have those things, those tools that keep us on task or inspire us or help us in the mundane, every day editing and revision process. And of course, there’s the writing.

As I was writing the Back to School Resource Guide last week, I realized that many of those same items can be used as resources for our writing process.

Currently, my first go-to is a Thesaurus. I use the online one in the previous link. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it has all the words.

Next is a new addition to anyone’s resource list: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. I also have his Day-by-Day Calendar which gives you hints and copyediting advice all through the year that you didn’t know you needed until you read it. Both are excellent resources. He is coming out with a children’s version and a second edition is on the way.

My go-to online dictionary is Merriam-Webster, partly because of their longevity and willingness to modernize, but also their sense of humor. Follow them on Twitter.

Need to know what day someone was born on in 1873? Sunrise or sunset? Time and Date is for you.

Need a quotation? BrainyQuote.

When is National Crepe Day? Well, National Crepe Suzette Day is May 6th! Today, in fact is National Noodle Day! How do I know this? National Day Archives.

Need help jump starting your novel? Nanowrimo is for you! It runs November 1st through November 30th and gives you the resources and motivation to write 50,000 words in thirty days.

The only magazine I subscribe to is The Writer. I’ve been getting it for at least two decades, although I have more recently switched to digital only. Saves trees and space in my house.

Drawing Interior Scenes. Even as a young writer, I always drew the apartments where my characters lived. I found it a useful way to assist in the descriptive prose. This manga artist takes it to a whole new level: Manga artist [Haru Amake] shares a genius-level trick to take the headache out of drawing interior scenes

Chromebook Shortcuts

Two of my very favorite organizing tools are Evernote and Business Calendar 2. My links go to the Amazon store since I use my Kindle more than anything else, but both are available in the Google Store and if you have i-products you can check the Apple Store. Both come in a free and a paid version.

Evernote lets you keep information organized in separate “books”. A few of mine are: Quotations, Writing Prompts, A Book of Days (to track holidays), and Travel Notes for on the go.

Business Calendar 2 is the best calendar app I have ever used, and I have used more than a few. I’ve been using it for about two weeks, and it took me a couple of days to see how beneficial this calendar app is to my life!

The free version lets me do everything I absolutely need to do with a calendar/organizer with a minimum of ads. There are a few advanced features that I would like, and I plan to eventually purchase the paid version. In addition to no ads, it will let me multi-pick for deleting agenda items at the end of the day. But realistically, that’s only for my preference. It is completely usable and useful with just the free download.

Is This the End of Writing in Cafés? by Emily Temple. Full Disclosure: I’m writing this right now in a cafe, so I think you know my answer to that question.

I leave you with some inspiring words from Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner, Lin-Manuel Miranda:

Then chase a moment, not a plot.

If a moment’s too big, chase a sentence.

You just need an inch to start. GO WRITE.

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter, circa 2016 (when you can’t find the words)

30 Days of Nano – Day 3

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The Writer
I have been subscribing to this magazine for decades. At the beginning of my writing career, I would get it along with others to get a feel for the profession and the practice of writing. It is now (and has been for many years) the only professional subscription that I get. It is the best resource for all writers of all experiences and for all genres writers, fiction and non-fiction. Stop by your local Barnes & Noble and pick up their most recent copy. You won’t regret it.

Prompt 10/12 – Micro-Memoir and a Contest

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​I have been taking a memoir workshop since the spring of 2012. It, and a few other tools saved my life, and led me to writing again. I had never thought of myself as a memoirist or being particularly interested in sharing my life stories, but one of the things I’ve learned over the years is there is no such thing as a wasted prompt.

Any of the prompts I’ve used in creative writing and fiction can be used in non-fiction, and the reverse is the same with memoir prompts. Write your memoir or use the prompt for fiction. Write someone else’s story, with permission of course.

As this season’s memoir workshop was ending, I was hit with a bad case of writer’s block. I’ve shared a bit about that here. I also received on my Kindle the current copy of The Writer magazine, and it is almost entirely devoted to memoir writing.

There is also a contest in that issue that anyone can enter. I’ve pasted it below, but check out their website and the August issue of The Writer for more details on submitting your micro-memoir. I’d equate it to flash fiction, the fictional equivalent that I’m more familiar with.

One definition that you will need from the article itself is wunderkammer. It is a cabinet of curiosities where treasured items are curated, inspiring or reminding you of significant life experiences or dreams. 

Give [Leslie] Jamison’s assignment a try. Consider objects from your personal history as potential entries in your wunderkammer. Stock your cabinet with items from your past that inspire curiosity, awe, titillation, and fear. Review the items on your shelves and then choose one to realize more fully. Don’t go for the obvious –evoking danger through a knife, for example. Select an object with an unexpected powerful emotional charge and tell its story in one paragraph. Are you ready to let someone peek into your wunderkammer? If so, submit your previously unpublished one-paragraph (no longer than 200 words) micro-memoir to The Writer by emailing it as an attachment to tweditorial@madavor.com with the subject line “Micro-Memoir Contest”by Aug. 8th. (One entry per writer, please.) I’ll judge the finalists, and the winner will be published in our December 2017 issue! 
– the August 2017 issue of The Writer