Free Resources for Writers
Everywhere you look, signs of the hard economic times show; from closed stores, to the slashed budgets of multinational companies. In a strange way, it is fortunate for the creative industries. Not only are we used to being poor, but the social need for our skills are being called upon in a greater way. People are desperate to escape their normal lives and are more willing to part with cash to indulge in cinema, live theatre and more importantly, fiction.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot to retain the title of writer and author; and with a little know how and assistance, you are able to get a lot of resources and information for free!
With nearly 60% of retirees answering in a lifestyle survey, that they planned to write a book before they died, the ranks of writers are set to explode. No doubt, there will be a flurry of resources touted to this group and before long; a myriad of products sold to any aspiring (and unknowing) writer. On that note, I love free things and have compiled my top ten Favourite Free Resources for Writers.
- First up – most new writers will whine about how expensive having a website is. This may have been true in the past, but unless you now live under a rock, you’ll know there are a number of free places you can host your own blog; including blogger and wordpress. I have sites with both and just wish there was a happy medium between the two!
- Wiki want to know about 16th century cannons? Desperate for some realism on your short story focusing on medieval pigeon keeping? Want to know the social history of tattooing? Look no further. With an ever expanding database and multitude of links, this is the funkiest and up to date encyclopedia about.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., is the definitive guide to writing which every writer should read at least once. It is a bit dry – but worth getting through – even in chunks and its now available FREE online.
- Your grammar a bit fuzzy? Can’t remember how to site a reference or a technical work? Check out OWL (on line writing lab) Its a bit more reader friendly than Strunk; but only marginally – however PACKED with information.
- Alternatively, you can check out to Brian A. Klems Questions & Quandaries for grammar, ethics and rights issues. He addresses writers questions weekly and seems to be on the ball with his advice and honest opinion.
- The Merriam Webster Dictionary is a must-bookmark for every writer. The site now boasts a thesaurus and several language translator dictionaries.
- Poets and Writers have an extensive listing of upcoming competitions as well as and events calendar for workshops and seminars.
- More for journalistic writing; but this site has a myriad of links including medical journals, guilds and trade commissions.
- The Shaw Guide provides a handy, searchable index to find writers conferences and workshops.
- Writer Beware track the scams in the literary world and expose them in as public way they can.
Go the free stuff, I say, the more the better. With regards to the economic climate – in the infamous words of Mark Victor Hansen “The best way to help the poor is to not be one of them.” – go and write a book, or an anthology of short stories or poems… and do it on a shoestring – ’cause you can… and then get outrageously rich and famous…… sound like a plan? Join the queue behind the pensioners!
In all seriousness though, do you have any free online resources or shareware you can recommend?