All writers need to know stuff—lots of stuff.
Fiction and non-fiction writers alike need information about craft, business, marketing, and motivation.
If you have a blog—and most writers should—you want specifics on setting it up, creating an email list, and writing for your audience.
Freelance writers need tips on pricing, clients, queries, and time management or project scheduling.
And if you’re writing your first novel, you’ll want ideas for plot and structure, conflict and resolution, protagonists and antagonists, and so much more.
You can learn a lot for free.
On one hand, a paid course or a few books is beneficial because you get specialized information organized logically in digestible chunks. It saves time and energy because you don’t have to search for the specifics you need. Plus, the instruction is designed to take you from Point A to Point B in a certain amount of time with a particular objective.
On the other hand, you can learn a lot just by following experts in particular niches like blogging, copywriting, publishing, creative writing, and freelancing—without paying a thing.
Read the articles. Ask questions. Sign up for the free offers. Follow on Facebook or Twitter. All for free unless you decide to buy something from someone whose work you like.
The thing is, it takes time to find the good sites, the expert sites, and information you can trust.
But some of us—like me—read around a lot, and we get to know who’s who and the best of the best.
Here are 21 of the best blogs for writers.
Keep in mind that while most of these sites specialize, there’s a lot of crossover. Copywriting sites, for example, might occasionally offer creative writing tips while the fiction writing pros also offer advice on copywriting.
Check them out, and be sure to browse through each one.
Have I overlooked a site? Have I—gasp—forgotten yours? Add your favorite writing blog or your own in the comments. Or, if your site is listed, by all means add what you want readers to know.
Creative writing and publishing
Joanna Penn’s site is chock full of information on writing, publishing, and marketing. She’s a successful novelist and “a professional speaker on creative entrepreneurship, digital publishing, and internet marketing.” The Creative Penn is just loaded with informative blog posts, video interviews, podcasts, and much more.
Joel Friedlander provides “practical advice to help build better books” plus authoritative tips and tricks on everything from blogging and book cover design to self-publishing and social media. He uses his extensive background in all aspects of printing and publishing to bring you valuable information you won’t get anywhere else.
Writer’s Relief is an author submission service that I successfully used to publish poetry a few years back. Their blog features tips on writing, researching, and publishing books, essays, short stories, screenplays, and poetry. You might be especially interested in the “Writer Classifieds” where you’ll find lists of contests, conferences, and more.
Practice, practice, practice. If there’s one thing writers need to do, it’s practice. At The Write Practice, every post includes a writing assignment at the end, and the practice writing is usually shared in the comments. Cool, eh? Plus the advice is top-notch.
Poets & Writers has been on magazine stands for over 20 years, and the online publication is just as useful and interesting as the magazine has always been. Their mission is “to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.” Check it out.
At Writer Unboxed, you’ll find unusual takes on unexpected topics. Why writers should hang out with readers. Why story should come first and writing second. The pros and cons of using the F-bomb and other colorful language in your fiction. It’s like a magazine, and the writing is excellent. Set aside some time to explore.
This site is loaded with excellent tips, resources, and guidelines. While creative writing takes the spotlight, solid information that benefits all writers is the co-star: “How Poetry Helps You Improve Your Writing,” “The All-important Relationship Between Grammar and Writing,” and “100 Common-Sense Ways to Write Better” are just a few great posts to start. There’s something for everyone.
Jane Friedman’s blog features a plethora of information for everyone from beginner writers wondering where to start to established scribes finalizing a manuscript. She has extensive experience as an editor, writer, and publisher, and along with regular columnists like Porter Anderson, she offers her knowledge for everyone’s benefit.
I confess it took me over 45 minutes to write these few lines. That’s because I had to listen to “Better Off Undead #65 – Sean’s Mom is a Hoarder.” It’s “blokish” stuff, as Johnny says (NSFW language), but it’s hilarious. Informational. Awesomely worthwhile. Actually, if you don’t know who Johnny is, you’re better off
undead reading the story in his own words right here.
10. Writer’s Village
Dr. John Yeoman proves the stereotype of the stodgy British professor is slated for the history books. He’s absolutely gut-busting funny, but his knowledge is the kind you’ll get only from someone with 16 academic degrees and 230 letters after his name. Check out “Is This the Laziest Way to Write a Best-Seller?” and you’ll see what I mean. Then peruse Recent Posts, read more about John Yeoman, and enter the writing contest.
Freelancing, blogging, copywriting, motivation
11. Men with Pens
If you want expert copywriting advice, James Chartrand is your man. Except . . . well, turns out James wears women’s underpants. Which is another way of saying that James is actually one of the most talented women writers around. But who cares about gender anyway? Unless you were crushing on James. A little. Which I might have been until one day late in 2009. (Sigh. He seemed so thoughtful and sensitive.) You’ll find superb writing and expert business advice here plus uniquely awesome website design and much more.
This site offers just what the name suggests: information on earning a livelihood by writing. I’ve been reading here for at least a year or two, and it’s good as gold. Carol Tice is an award-winning freelance writer who does all she can to keep other freelance writers out of the content mills and on a solid path to profitable freelance writing. Definitely worth your time to visit if you haven’t already.
Linda Formicelli has been freelancing full-time since 1997, and she assures readers that the rules can and sometimes should be broken. The articles and information are great, and they’re appropriate for any freelancer from beginner to expert. Some of her articles based on personal experience are particularly informative—and funny. Check out this one (read the comments, too).
Although Boost Blog Traffic focuses on creating more traffic for your blog, many articles concern writing. Of course. Writing skills are essential for blogging, and even if you’re not looking for loads of traffic, you do want your blog—and writing—done right. Jon Morrow is known as His Royal Awesomeness for a reason: he’s a great writer, and he’ll knock your socks off.
The creative energy here is just amazing. Friendly, helpful, sometimes hysterically funny but always spot on, Sophie Lizard shoots from the hip and tells it like it is. Need inspiration? Advice that comes straight out of real world experience? Check it out, and grab a copy of “The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs.” It’s good stuff.
If you need copywriting, marketing, and solid online business advice, Copyblogger is where it’s at. If you haven’t heard of Copyblogger, it only means you’re the new kid on the block or you’re in a different blogosphere in another galaxy. Fire up your spaceship and zoom on over. You’ll be glad you did.
17. The Write Life
Freelancing, marketing, blogging, getting published—what else do you want to read about? What about productivity, self-publishing, and the craft of writing? It’s all here at The Write Life. As Alexis Grant says, it’s “a one-stop shop.” What you get is almost like seven blogs in one, and each section focuses on a particular aspect of writing.
Marya Jan is a blogging coach and trainer whose lively, conversational writing style is perfect for her subject matter—what is blogging if it’s not about reaching out to you, the reader? Her articles cover the gamut of need-to-know blogging skills like networking, overcoming mental blocks, taking action steps for success, getting subscribers, and much more. Schedule some time for browsing around.
19. Write to Done
You’ll find just about everything about writing at Write to Done. You’ll not only receive expert advice from Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor, you’ll also benefit from the writing wisdom of seasoned contributors. You’ll enjoy tips for ebooks, creativity, marketing, blogging, journaling, self-publishing, and even a few on grammar and editing by yours truly.
Onibalusi Bamidele runs a fab site that’s just full of great information. He and his team offer tips you don’t often find like “How to Do Location-Independent Freelance Writing—The All You Need to Know Guide” and “5 Things To Do in Your First Week as a Freelance Writer.” It’s all about taking charge, and what writer doesn’t need some help with that sometimes?
Productive Flourishing isn’t specifically about writing, but writers are exactly the kind of creative people Charlie Gilkey likes to help. He’s an excellent writer himself with great advice on how to “stay smart and productive” in your business no matter what it is. I’ve been following him for about 4 years, and I love the planners—they’re designed specifically for creative people just like you and me. Some are free, and others are very reasonably priced. In addition to useful articles, he and his team provide monthly motivation calls (free) that really give you something to think about. Check it out.