Friday, July 14, 2017

Set Your Sites

There are two kinds of writers: Those who are beginning and those who are continuing. As in just about everything else, Internet sites offer a place for every kind of scribe, those who are just starting to dip into that great sea of writing, and those who are already fully immersed.

Every writer has those times of sitting patiently (or impatiently) waiting for those creative ideas and the words to express them to drop out of the sky and onto the page. But when staring at that immense expanse of white for six hours doesn't help you be any more literate than a four-year-old with a limited vocabulary, there's always the Internet to inspire you. And I don't mean social media.

One day I decided to stop just sitting around staring into the abyss and waiting for my brain to produce actual words worth putting on paper (or screen) and went looking for somebody to smack me upside the head with advice on how to continue being a writer. Besides finding like-minded people, I found a treasure of helpful sites for those of us who dare to call ourselves writers.

Following are 10 sites that are worth the time to explore when you need advice, encouragement, and how and where to submit your work.

1. Writer's Digest. If you don't know WD, then you're not a writer. Or you're a very new one. Writer's Digest has been around since 1920. The print magazine routinely publishes author interviews, markets, calls for manuscripts, and how-to articles on every aspect of the writing life. Their website carries the same information, offering writing prompts, workshops, and lists of literary agents and publishers, among other services. Both the print magazine and the website are well worth a subscription.

2. Writers Write. This site offers well-written articles on everything from beginning a writing project to how to get through writer's block to dealing with publishers and rejection. Writers Write is a pretty comprehensive guide to finding articles on things like preparing your work for submission, and lists of current writing competitions.

3. Fiction Factor. A great site to find the basics, such as structure, punctuation, editing, critique methods, marketing advice and contests. They also do book  reviews.

4. Advanced Fiction Writing. Among other articles, this site bases its articles on using the "snowflake" method for structuring a novel.

5. Fiction University. This is one of my favorites. Writer Janice Hardy maintains this site, and presents articles on every form of writing. There are some very good guest blogs in addition to Janice's own, on planning your writing project, problems, editing, selling your work, and many other subjects. One of the best sites.

6. Funds for Writers. This site offers excellent guest blogs, contests, markets, and how to apply for grants. I found that the market listings are up to date and very comprehensive.

 7. Now Novel. Another excellent site with a very long list of how-to articles about writing, current market lists, and great tutorials. This is an excellent site for learning how to begin a novel and how to finish it.

8. WOW (Women on Writing). The site provides lists of contests, articles about women who are focused on their writing careers. Freelancers are welcome to submit articles, and the site has been known to occasionally pay reasonably well for blogs on the subject of writing in whatever form.

9. You can buy a subscription to this site, or scroll to the bottom of their homepage to get writing prompts. They also offer the opportunity for you to submit a writing blog for possible publication on the site.

10. Scribendi. This is a very professional site that maintains a long detailed list of market categories and articles for writers of every genre, including non-fiction.

These sites are just a few examples of help for writers, both professional and novice, who have those inspiration-less days when our writer-ly brains turn to mush and words fail.      

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