Subject-matter expertise is essential, but so are writing skills. As a way of breaking out of old writing routines, I like trying out new approaches and seeing what sticks. Here are a few resources I have looked at lately that all had new aspects to offer.
Creative aspects of writing
- Julia Cameron, Morning Pages: Start each day by writing 3 pages about whatever is keeping your mind busy at the moment, no matter how mundane. It is supposed to sweep the cobwebs from the dusty corners of your imagination and clear your head for the rest of the day. Have a quick look at the Julia’s video and tell me what you think.
- The Daily Post, 365 Days of Writing Prompts: From the team at WordPressdotcom comes a site that provides a daily idea to get you writing. Download the ebook to have everything in one place or follow them on Twitter to get a daily nudge. Anything that tickles the brain might just jiggle loose that amazing idea slumbering there.
- Creative Writing Prompts: A page offering you exactly 346 creative writing prompts. Choose one and see where it takes you.
- The Crafty Writer’s Creative Writing Course: A free self-paced online creative writing course to get you started. The Crafty Writer also offers a non-fiction writing course.
- Jeffrey Carver, Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: Click yourself through this online course and find out how science fiction writers use everyday cues to come up with plots and develop them over several hundred pages. Good science fiction and fantasy writers can teach translators a thing or two about consistency.
Technical aspects of writing
- Marcia Riley, Write like a Pro (free ebook, but with ads): This is much more technical. It looks at the different phases of writing: pre-writing, actual writing, post-writing. The book introduces various techniques for each phase. As a bonus, readers get 7 tips sheets that are quick guides for various writing topics. (Update 11/01/2015: Unfortunately, this book doesn’t seem to be available on the bookboon site anymore.)
- Drivel Defence for Text: A web tool provided by the Plain English Campaign. Paste your text and have it analyzed. It will check your average sentence length and give Plain English alternatives for words or expressions that are too verbose or too close to Latin. The A-Z of Alternative Words tool on the same page can help you find substitutions for individual words. Take the Gobbeldygook Generator for a whirl and let it generate some business jargon gibberish for you that is completely random and frighteningly familiar at the same time: Example: “We need to cascade memos about our integrated asset flexibility.”
- Good Copy, Bad Copy, 50 super-quick business writing tips: If you are a lover of lists, then this might be for you. 50 snappy reminders of what to keep in mind when writing in a business-context.
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: A website stuffed with resources to help you research, structure, plan and actually write on a wide range of topics.
- Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More: A short self-paced online course that takes about 2 hours to complete. Poynter is a journalism school and it offers quite a few interesting courses, both free and paid.
Have you taken a great course lately or read an inspiring article that infused your writing with fresh energy? Do share!