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COLUMNS: Coffee on the Deck: The Editor's Ramblings on the Writing Life | Crafting Fabulous Fiction, by Victoria Grossack

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Totally Awesome Blogs

99U-Insights on Making Ideas Happen, by Behance
http://99u.com/
This isn't strictly a blog about writing, but it is about creativity - and is packed with tips and suggestions not only about how to enhance it and use it but also how to avoid some of the major pitfalls us creative types are prone to. When I read the bit on knowing when to cut one's losses and quit a project (http://99u.com/tips/7244/Cut-Your-Losses-How-To-Know-When-To-Quit), I knew I had to put this into the "Awesome Blogs" list. That is SOOO my problem! Thanks to Dawn for putting me onto this one!

Anne R. Allen's Blog, by Anne R. Allen
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/
I stumbled on this blog by accident when looking up articles on quoting song lyrics - and it is packed with helpful, up-to-date information. It has loads of social media tips, and tips on writing for readers who are accustomed to the skim-and-scan approach. Articles are long, which I happen to like - because if I'm going to take time to read a blog, I want meat, not snippets. Getting around isn't the easiest, as navigation is way down at the bottom of the right column, but it's worth it.

Author Blogs
http://www.authorsblogs.com/
What hooked me about this site was the graphics. Each article is packed with illustrations that help the reader visualize what a great blog can look like (especially the current lead article on travel blogging). There are also loads of useful tips on starting and running a blog, including tips on choosing the right software, what to write about, what to do when you can't think of anything to write about, and so forth.

The Book Designer, by Joel Friedlander
http://www.thebookdesigner.com
Though this blog is aimed more at the pro self-publisher, it's absolutely packed with information on all forms of self-publishing, subsidy publishing, print-on-demand and any other type of "DIY" publishing. If you're thinking of handling your book yourself, this is the place to start to find answers on what the best approach to DIY publishing would be for your specific project. It's also a good place to find out how not to get scammed by the many companies that promise the moon - but simply want your money. (For that info, start here: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/05/subsidy-publishing-proceed-with-caution/ )

Book Writing World, edited by Elizabeth Stark
http://bookwritingworld.com/
"Need to find time to write? Motivation to finish your book? Guidance through the process of planning, drafting, revising and selling your novel, memoir or other narrative book? This is the place for you." That's what the blog says about itself, and I second that - it seems a great place to turn for daily inspiration, encouragement, and tips on managing the writing life.

Courage 2 Create, by Ollin Morales
http://ollinmorales.com//
OK, I admit - I was a bit tired when I came to this site, so how could I not be intrigued by the article on the importance of rest? There's lots of information for the weary writer here, whether you seek rest or tips to revitalize your energies. This is a blog full of inspiration and empathy -- it's as much (or more) about surviving (and thriving in) the writer's life as about how to be a better writer. Easy to navigate, too, with many excellent guest posts.

Fuel Your Writing
http://www.fuelyourwriting.com/
This isn't just "a" blog--it's really more than half a dozen different regular blog columns on a variety of writing topics. Topics range from inspiration, "writing spaces," "save my writing," and more. The site addresses business issues, personal issues, technical issues, craftsmanship... The big problem, really, is spending so much time reading that you forget to write!

The Guide to Literary Agents Blog, by Chuck Sambuchino
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
Want to know more about what agents do? Want to find an agent? Want to know what agents want from you? This is an incredible trove of information from Chuck Sambuchino, author of the Guide to Literary Agents. It's packed with interviews with agents, articles about agents, articles by agents, and lots of pieces on "how I made my first sale."

Live Write Thrive, by C.S. Lakin
http://www.livewritethrive.com/
This blog has a lovely ongoing series "asking some seasoned, experienced authors what three key bits of advice they would give new writers that they wished they’d known when they started writing." The answers are insightful and well worth reading, whether you're just starting or whether you've been at it for awhile!

Make a Living Writing, by Carol Tice
http://www.makealivingwriting.com/
Plugging this blog has nothing to do with the fact that Carol recently invited me to be a guest speaker on a Freelance Writers Den "Open House." In fact, I didn't realize Carol had a separate blog until I found the link on another list! Though a lot of the entries are designed to promote classes and activities on the Freelance Writers Den, there's loads of good information here for writers of every kind. Definitely worth a stop.

Men with Pens
http://menwithpens.ca/
Here's a truly awesome blog for anyone interested in business writing, copywriting, writing for business websites, etc. But it's not just for business writers; articles like Digging Up the Bones of Your Unwritten Novel will be useful to just about any aspiring writer. No wonder this was rated one of the "Top Ten Blogs for Writers" in 2010!

No Rules. Just Write. by Brenda Coulter
http://brendacoulter.blogspot.com/
Brenda has loads of tips, and does a great job in bringing a bit of common sense to some of the oft-repeated tips that other folks bandy about (such as, is it really necessary to keep a notebook with you at all times to catch those fleeting ideas?) I've only just begun exploring this extensive blog, but particularly liked her insights on the question of whether illegal downloads really cost writers all that much money. Only trouble is, it looks like Brenda hasn't updated her blog since last July - there's loads here to keep a writer informed and entertained, but I hope it will continue!

Pain in the English
http://painintheenglish.com
This is an interesting and entertaining site that offers not only basic grammar advice, but discussions on why certain words and phrases are used, and a host of other topics. It covers word coinage, word history, expressions, grammar, punctuation and mechanics, style, usage, and an intriguing section on "opinions." Information and opinions are contributed by a number of participants, which offers a variety of viewpoints; one can pose questions on these various topics to the "group."

Pen and Pro$per, by Jennifer Brown Banks
http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/
If you want to find out more about blogging, here's the ultimate blog about blogs! Banks seems to have infinite energy, and this blog offers a vast array of articles on freelancing for profit, blogging, social networking and more. She likes numbers: Seven ways to do this, five ways to do that, and so forth. My one quibble is that, while in one of her own blogs, she points out the need to have a good navigation system, it's not that easy to find her own "back issues" -- and once one locates the "archive" one can't actually search by topic, only by date. Still well worth a (long) visit.

Publish Your Own E-Books, by Gary McLaren
http://www.publishyourownebooks.com/
I've always been a fan of Gary's "World Wide Freelance Writer" site and newsletter. Now he has put together what seems to be the definitive blog on e-book publishing, covering the latest advances in e-book platforms, how to format books and get them published, how to promote e-books, and even how to write e-books. If you'd like to know more but don't have time to track down all the news and articles on this topic, well, Gary's done the work for you. I expect to be spending a lot of time here!

Query Shark, by Janet Reid
http://www.queryshark.blogspot.com/
Wondering why your fiction novel query has been rejected 22 times? A quick scan through Janet Reid's marvelous "Query Shark" blog will give you an idea of what works, what doesn't, and why--but better yet, you can submit your own query for comments. (Brace yourself, though; the comments are likely to be barbed!) Just be sure you follow the instructions--which, as Reid points out, is a vital skill whether you're submitting to her or to an actual editor or agent. Writers who can't follow instructions simply aren't going to succeed (gee, I may have pointed that out myself a few times...)

The Renegade Writer, by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
http://www.therenegadewriter.com
When I hit the blog, do I find it hard to leave? Do I read one blog entry, smack my lips and click a link for more? Do the links keep drawing me deeper and deeper into the (often un-navigable) depths? Do I surface blinking at the clock and wondering where the time has gone? If so, it's an Awesome Blog -- and The Renegade Writer certainly qualifies! The range of topics is too vast to describe, but I've particularly enjoyed the pieces on breaking out of dead-end writing jobs (like content mills) and overcoming the personal fears and excuses that keep writers from achieving their potential. I also love the links to related posts that appear at the end of each article; this is a great way to draw people on to more information. Visit Renegade Writer when you have time to sit down and immerse yourself in good advice!

Resources for Teen and Pre-Teen Writers and Their Teachers, by Heather E. Wright
http://wrightingwords.wordpress.com/
If you're a young writer looking for guidance, inspiration or prompts, or if you're the parent or teacher looking for ways to inspire and guide young writers, this site is a great place to start. It offers resources for teens and younger writers (including prompts), market information, and tips on teaching creative writing.

Science News for Writers, by Jim Fisher
http://scienceforwriters.blogspot.com/
This blog has loads of intriguing information and lots of entries that could serve as idea-generators. Use it to generate ideas for nonfiction articles as well -- or just to ensure that you don't generate scientific goofs in your fiction!

The Self Editing Blog, by John Marlowe
http://selfeditingblog.com/
It's great to find this truly awesome blog on the subject of grammar and a host of other topics that will help you improve and polish your writing skills. But this blog isn't just about grammar and punctuation; it also covers such topics as choosing good character names, avoiding bad endings, the misuse of coincidence, and much more.

The Tongue Untied: A Guide to Grammar, Punctuation and Style
http://www.grammaruntied.com/blog/
Grammar and punctuation can be dull subjects -- so I'm always delighted to find a site or blog that makes them fun and interesting. This blog combines serious how-to (or rather, how-to-avoid-mistakes) pieces with entertaining essays, poems and more. Beneath the humor, however, it brings home a basic point: Good writers care about good grammar, because we care about communication. To do less is an insult to our readers.

TravelBloggerAcademy.com, edited by Adam Costa
http://travelbloggeracademy.com/how-to-become-a-travel-writer/
Funny how one learns of blogs: I found this one thanks to a plagiarist, who tried to sell me an article that was stolen from it. That led me to this incredible, monumental post on how to be a travel writer, by Leyla Giray. After you've digested this piece, click the "Content" button to find dozens of additional tips on travel writing, blogging, guest blogging, etc. (The first article that came up, on guest blogging, offers a host of apps and resources to make that process easier.) This blog could keep you busy reading and learning really cool stuff for days.

The Urban Muse, by Susan Johnston
http://www.urbanmusewriter.com
"The Urban Muse covers the ups and downs of the freelance life, including tips on writing, working with clients, marketing a freelance biz, and more." Lots of good stuff here!

Women of Mystery
http://www.womenofmystery.net
The list of topics covered by this blog, run by (as you can probably guess) women who write or who are devoted to mysteries, is so awesome it must be seen to be believed. It covers writing, reading, true-life crime and much more.

Write Now
http://www.writing-skills.com/blog/
One look at the list of topics in the right column of this blog will tell you that you could spend a lot of time here and never get bored! With topics including such diverse subjects as advertising, conferences, grammar, jargon, language abuse, social media, pitches and proposals, plain English, style, and writing for the media, I was curious to see what actually might fall into "uncategorized." Answer: An excellent piece on why it is, in fact, OK to end a sentence with a preposition. The blog is also packed with entertaining quizzes. The only problem, for our American readers, is that this is a British site and focuses on correct British grammar and spellings, which are not, alas, always "correct" on the US side of the pond.

The Write Report: A Blog for the Informed Writer, by Donna Ballman
http://writereport.blogspot.com/
This blog covers legal issues for writers. It has a particular focus on how stories and TV shows get legal issues wrong -- but what keeps me coming back is the incredible number of news items that Ms. Ballman manages to pull together in every issue. If you want to know what's happening in the publishing industry, and especially on the legal side of the publishing industry, this site will keep you occupied for hours.

A Writer's Bucket List, by Dana Sitar
http://www.writersbucketlist.com/
Here's a great blog that combines tips on improving your writing and productivity - and balancing that with actually living your life! Something else I like about this blog: hyperlinks within blog posts lead one effortlessly to other posts on similar topics. I especially enjoyed Dana's piece on being over- productive (Can You Be TOO Productive for Your Business?) - wherein she points out that a writer is an individual, not an enterprise!

Writer's First Aid: A Medicine Chest of Hope, by Kristi Holl
http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/
Here's a wonderful blog that is designed for all of you who wonder, "why do I feel this way? Why do I do/not do this? Why is this so hard?" It's a realistic look at the writing life, and at the issues that keep us from writing, hinder our writing, or make us feel as if we have no chance of succeeding in our writing. It draws on quotes and tips from a variety of experts, and has a huge archive of topics. Just the thing when you're feeling blocked!

WriteToDone, edited by Mary Jaksch
http://writetodone.com
Here's another blog packed with tips, inspiration and guidance, plus a nifty feature called "scene stealers" that provides a regular writing prompt. Like most blogs, this could use a more detailed navigation menu, but you can easily reach the different topical categories on the site, including: Art of Writing, Blogging, Copywriting, Creativity, Fiction, Freelancing, Scene Stealers, Uncategorized, and Writer's Toolbox. Loads of guest blog contributions, which keeps the content varied and interesting.

Writers' Treasure: The Definitive Guide to Creative Writing Success
http://www.writerstreasure.com/
As the intro to this blog declares, "If you are looking for information on creative writing tips, search no more, for this blog gives plenty of tips and tricks away about fiction writing, poetry writing, creative nonfiction writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Check out our beginners’ guide to creative writing, Creative Writing 101, to learn more." So what makes it awesome? Well, it really is a treasure trove of information... and its host, Idrees Patel, is a truly awesome blogger -- at the time of this posting, he just turned 14!

Writer Unboxed, by Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton
http://writerunboxed.com
Since this site has been named to Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for five years in a row, I figured it was time to take a look. It's a fascinating site packed with articles and interviews - dozens of author interviews and "industry" interviews with editors, agents, publishers, etc. My one quibble is that I'd like to see the author interviews focus more on tips than on "tell me about your latest book" -- but it's a small quibble. The authors (and contributors) have put in a truly awesome amount of work on this site!

Writing and Publishing News, by Patricia Fry
http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog/
This blog by Patricia Fry always makes me feel guilty - first, for never having enough time to read all the many, many articles here, and second, for not having anything near the incredible output of the author. Where does she find the time? If you want to find out ways to promote your book, this is as great place to start.

WritingSpark.com, by Alicia Sparks
http://writingspark.com/
There's loads of good stuff here; I particularly liked the article in the "advice" section on how to set up a weekly to-do list. In the October 2011, Alicia provides loads of links to free stuff for writers.

Didn't Find What You Were Looking For? Check Our Other Link Sections:
Agents · Totally Awesome BLOGS · Book Promotion Resources · Book Publishers (lists) · Business, Finance & Taxes; Setting Fees · Business & Technical Writing · Character Naming Resources · Children's Writing · Christian Writing · Classes, Conferences & Colonies · Contest Resources · Critique and Discussion Groups · Dictionaries, Glossaries & Language Resources · E-publishing Information · Essays, Memoirs and Personal Journaling · Grammar · Grants and Funding Organizations · Market Guides and Guideline Databases · Horror Writing · Job Sources · Magazines, Newspapers and Electronic Media · Mystery Writing · Organizations for Writers · Photography · Poetry · Prompts, Exercises & Idea Generators · Publications for Writers · Rights & Copyright · Romance and Historical Fiction · Scams, Warnings, Viruses & Hoaxes · Science Fiction & Fantasy · Screenwriting · Self-Publishing · Social Media, Blogging and Website Development · Syndicates · Travel Writing · Writing Sites · Young Writers' Resources


Recommended Reading


Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community

Blogging All-in-One For Dummies

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More)

Create Your Own Blog

Creative Blogging

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

Start Your Own Blogging Business

Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better

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