Resources For Self-Taught Writers

Filed in Ask the Editor by on September 2, 2020 0 Comments

Being a self-taught writer is much easier to do thanks to the internet and the hundreds of writing books at our fingertips. Here are 5 resources to use...

Starting to write without any previous writing courses or education under your belt doesn’t have to be a setback. In fact, you’d be surprised to learn just how many successful writers were self-taught. Both Jane Austen and Mark Twain, among many others, largely taught themselves the craft of writing.

The difference now is, self-education is much easier to attain than it was for Austen or Twain. This is thanks to the internet and the hundreds of writing books at our fingertips.

Here are 5 tried and true resources to use:

1. Bookmark Merriam-Webster Dictionary on your computer

By having quick and easy access to the dictionary and thesaurus tools on your computer, you’re more inclined to use it while typing. Plus, this alleviates the distraction of having to get up and find a print copy of a dictionary around the house.

2. Read The Elements of Style and DIY MFA.

Both of these books are great resources because they break down and provide education on different parts of the writing process. For the nitty-gritty on spelling, punctuation, and more granular parts of writing, turn to The Elements of Style. For a more focused approach to book writing as a whole, turn to DIY MFA.

3. Practice storytelling by writing short stories.

This process will help you become comfortable developing plots and building characters and learn to trim out unnecessary information in a way that feels less daunting than jumping straight into writing an entire book.

4. Take adult practice tests.

If you’re biggest personal struggle is the mechanics of writing—spelling, grammar, punctuation—try the adult practice tests at Spell Quiz for free.

5. Take online classes to build skills.

If you’re more worried about creating narratives, building plot points, developing characters, or telling your nonfiction story well, turn to Skillshare. This website offers loads of classes for writing, editing, publishing, and more.

The more practice you can complete, the more confident you’ll feel with your writing skills. So, set aside some dedicated self-education a few hours a week that is separate from your scheduled writing time and begin to incorporate what you learn into your writing process.

For more writing education, read more of our Ask the Editor posts.


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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett has been a freelance editor for nearly half a decade. Before joining the Xulon team in 2010, she worked with several first time authors who wanted to test the waters of self-publishing. Her aim is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands.

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