Listen, no one is going to plant your butt in the chair and write for you, but these resources for writers can definitely help get the juices flowing.
This list is by no means exhaustive. It does, however, reflect my personal favorites; they're where I go when I'm stuck, discouraged, or ready to hit the bottle hard at 2pm.
The Top 5 Resources for Writers
1) Merriam-Webster. I love words. I love what they reflect about the people using them, and I love learning about where they came from. This is why I love Merriam-Webster.com. Not only is it an amazing online dictionary and thesaurus, but it has fun and informative games, quizzes and facts about vocabulary and language. (I subscribe to their Word of the Day, which delivers a new word to your inbox every day.)
Sure, I'm the kind of gal who would (and, OK, has) read the dictionary for fun, but MW offers more than just words. On many occasions it's rekindled my love for language and reminded me why I do what I do.
2) Writer's Digest. "Write Better, Get Published" - this is the tagline for Writer's Digest, and while I don't buy the implied guarantee, I do like their writing prompts - especially for my creative writing. 99.9% of the time, their prompts never make it into my published work, but it does get my head out of my own ass and offer a fresh start.
They also have some pretty solid tips on how to make it as a freelancer. Just beware the hopeful novice writer: there are some pretty hard sells on this site - and outlandish claims. Example:
"Write a Breakout Novel in 2015"! Originally over $300, now only $49.98?! Well, cool my ink jets and colour me sold!
(If you want really good advice about getting published, read novelists Russell Smith's columns in the Globe and Mail. They give a hard, but compelling kick in the pants for any aspiring writer.)
3) Walking Therapy. It's good to get out of your head. It's better to get out of the house or office. I find walking to get the mail, or to the shops for something for dinner or going to get my son from school will open my mind (and burn a few calories - much needed as a stress eater who works in very close proximity to a fridge).
4) Writer's Trust of Canada. From news on grants, and lectures, to intel on writer's retreats and scholarships, this is a great place to stop by, get informed and get inspired.
5) Copy Blogger. Creative writers, put your scruples aside. We live in an age where content is King, and if you want to make it as a Writer (or even a 'writer'), at one point or another, you're probably going to have to sell yourself into a world of creative prostitution: you're doing something you technically love, but more often than not, it's loveless.
You're just going through the motions - and this is OK. There's a pay off. Writing content for other people has made me a better writer. It's made me more diligent, more focused. It's trained me to sit down and write, write, write and edit, edit, edit until the job's done. No excuses.
Sure, I take pride in my work (and God knows I learn a lot), but it certainly isn't something I'd write about without being hired to do so.
I've found the emails and articles by Copy Blogger invariably beneficial as a content writer, and a as a capital 'W' writer. It forces me out of my comfort zone, and accepting the work gets me to explore topics I would never have delved into on my own. Like here. And here and here and here.
Copy Blogger helps content writers find ways to engage their audiences across the board - and this is going to be an invaluable writing resource if you want to write for a living.
And there aren't many writers who get to make a living writing about what they want, all the time. All of us have to rent ourselves out now and then, which is not to be confused with selling out.
You don't have to write about anything that's against your moral code, but you do have to write. Writers don't just hang out in coffee shops and bars, waxing poetic, they actually have to produce...you know...words.
That's where these resources for writers come in. They'll help, Trust me.
Have your own favourite resources for writers? Tell me about them in the comments below.