This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I wanted to share some of the writing resources that I have found helpful.
Many people claim that Facebook is past its prime and isn’t useful anymore. I have found the opposite to be true. There is a large community of writers who regularly post on Facebook and are eager to engage. In my experience, writers in these groups are very generous and will respond to a posted question or requests for information. There are also Facebook community groups. The following are some of the writing-related ones that I follow:
- PineRidge Arts Council
- TWUC – Ontario Region
- Canadian Author’s Association – Niagara Branch
- Canada Writes
- Anthologies Seeking Submissions
- Short Story Writers
- Durham Women’s Network
- How Writers Write Fiction – Community Group
- Canadian Creative Writers
- FOR AUTHORS! Calls for Submissions
- Call for Submissions
- Canadian Writers
If you are on Instagram, you will find a different writing audience than on Facebook, with only a small overlap. The community of writers, publishers and literary agents on Instagram is huge. There are hashtags that you can use to connect with circles of writers. Once you have connected with them, it’s easy to establish a dialogue.
The Writer’s Union of Canada has many resources available on their website, including information about programmes, contests and professional development. It is one of my “go to” places when I’m trying to problem-solve something serious. Their magazine is fantastic and filled with rich, relevant articles. www.writersunion.ca
The largest dictionary and thesaurus you can find are both essential. I also use the online ones that come with my laptop but it’s still important to have these two books close to hand.
A baby name book. I find this essential for naming characters. Find one that gives you the history and meaning of the name, and the country where it is most commonly used. If you have that information, you can then do a quick computer search and pinpoint the time period/s when the name in question was popular.
A book of quotations. I like randomly flipping through a book of quotations to prompt my memory. Quotation searches are also available online but I find having the book to leaf through really useful.
A blank journal. These are always useful for scribbling down story ideas, character names, location names, and random thoughts related to new writing projects. You may prefer to log such things onto your computer, or scribble them on pieces of paper but I prefer the tactile feel of a hard cover journal. (Many writers also utilize journals for their daily writing practice.)
A grammar textbook. I have several old ones that I dip into when I’m having trouble deciding if I should use a dash or a semi-colon, etcetera. It’s comforting to flip through the old exercises and remember the lessons learned and practiced.
A book (or books) on writing that really resonated with you. I have read many over the years but my absolute favorite is a book by Stephen King simply titled, On Writing. I re-read sections of it every now and then when I feel like I need some writing inspiration. Every time I pick up the book, something new strikes me as particularly useful. I recommend gathering such resources around you to rely on when you are feeling in need of encouragement.
Inspiring or Comforting Objects
I reference a lot of artifacts in my writing. Sentimental photos, antiques, ephemera — any object that brings you a memory or strong emotion. Such things help to evoke stories. Surround yourself with those things that will speak to you when you are writing, and give you inspiration or comfort. I say “comfort” because the writing process can sometimes be emotional, fraught with loneliness and frustration. A comforting object may help to keep you focused and on track.
There are many free, online blogs for writers, and I find these helpful and thought-provoking. Here are a couple of general ones I subscribe to and recommend:
- Writer’s Digest Magazine
- Daily Writing Tips
These ones are delivered to my email directly, which I enjoy. Do a computer search to find one or two that you really like.
I hope you find some of my suggestions useful to you on your own writing journey.