7 Great Resources for Budding Writers

Writing is difficult. There’s no doubt about it. Honing one’s craft takes years, if not decades, and even then, writers still have to own up to the tyrannical red pen of the editor and the high-nosed condescension of the critic. Luckily, for those who want to start young, I have found seven useful resources to help you improve your craft, as well as your positive writing habits. 

1. Memrise

 

What is it?

Memrise is a language and term-learning tool that helps build a mnemonic memorization framework within your learning of a new language or in the expansion of your vocabulary. Great for learning the basics of a language and enhancing your prose.

How it will help you

Courses like the SAT comprehensive contain thousands of words, many of which are not used in common parlance. Learning them will not only improve your language-learning skills, but they will put you a cut above writers using a flat vocabulary. 

2. Spreeder/Readfa.st

What is it?

Spreeder and Readfa.st are speedreading applications that will help you read large swaths of text in a short period of time. While they won’t directly help your writing, they will help in the preliminary stages, be it with research, or figuring out the “flow” of other writers’ storytelling.

How they will help you

On top of these sites giving you information faster, speedreading will help build your reading comprehension and retention. Writers need to learn how to think quickly and creatively to keep stories active in one’s head. 

3. Reddit – r/writing + r/writingprompts

What is it?

Don’t be fooled. Reddit is perhaps one of the most addictive and distracting websites out there, so use with caution. These two “sub”-reddits, as they are called, are filled with a dedicated community of amateur and bestselling authors. Good if you need a quick critique or a fun writing exercise.

How it will help you

Sometimes, what a writer needs to the most is someone else to push them beyond their own limits. Again, use this site with caution, as it contains hundreds of distractions that will destroy the writing process. 

4. Write or Die

What is it?

Write or Die is an online and desktop application that literally punishes you for stopping to write. Depending on how strict you make the parameters, the program may start blaring awful music, or even deleting your work after a while.

How it will help

What today’s writer needs to most is a cure for distraction. It’s absolutely everywhere. While it may not help you produce your finest work, it will nevertheless exercise your mind, and keep it active when everyone else is busy with distracting articles. 

How it will help you

Writing takes practice, and if you merely ruminate upon what you’re planning to write without doing it (regardless of how nice it looks), you’ll never get that story or that novel done.

5. Language is a virus

Image

What is it?

Named after a famous William S.Burroughs quote, the site specializes in extensive writing prompt lists from some of the most famous novelists and poets of the 20th century. Perhaps the best immediate antidote for writer’s block

How it will help you

Writing prompts won’t exactly give you that fresh novel or even a full-length short story. But it will help build your creativity into a habit-based skill, something most writers still struggle with.

6. Nanowrimo

What is it?

Every November, the fingers of hundreds of thousands will ceaselessly batter their keyboards with rushed stories and messy first drafts in perhaps the largest writing initiative ever created. With 50,000 words being their cut-off for a novel-length work, it forces writers to put down almost 2,000 words per day.

How it will help you

Writer’s Block is perhaps the most difficult thing to overcome for the young writer (I can recall hours of staring at a blank piece of paper, looking for that perfect first word). Nanowrimo will help you shake off the rust and get that creativity flowing again, even if you won’t dare show that first draft to anybody.

7. Written? Kitten!

What is it?

Written? Kitten! is a simple text box web application that forces you to write a certain amount of words before displaying another picture of a cute kitten on the right. 

How it will help you

If you’re one of the millions who will go through the day without distraction, but at the moment of seeing a helpless kitten wrapped in a blanket will immediately shut down all faculties of concentration, then Written? Kitten! is the right site for you. It motivates you to take small steps to eventually achieve a larger whole. 

5 thoughts on “7 Great Resources for Budding Writers

  1. /r/shutupandwrite is also a good reddit writing resource.

    /r/writingprompts has around 50k subscribers, and at any given point there are 400 to 500 people on the subreddit, so while the prompts might help you get over writer’s block, odds of getting good feedback are pretty low.

    /r/shutupandwrite is more than happy to critique short stories or excerpts according to your parameters; they won’t be too harsh if you don’t want them to be, but they generally provide constructive criticism and helpful tips.

    Check out both and see what works for you, especially if you are constantly on reddit like I am.

    • qwiklit says:

      Thanks natprance. I’ve actually tried both and yeah, it is true that /r/shutupandwrite is better. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. suzuki says:

    hi and hello there! I’m a fresh graduate with a degree in english lite under my belt. i really love reading and writing. however, i always find myself unable to construct my ideas into words. i read a lot but find difficulties in writing and searching for the right words. anyhow, thanks for the info. maybe i should (read: must) try out one of these ‘helpers’! thanks again

  3. This looks great; thanks for this! Language is a virus looks particularly interesting. I’ve found writing prompts to be immensely helpful during writer’s block — and often lead to ideas not even related to the original prompt!

    Although I’m also not above being motivated by kittens 🙂

    • qwiklit says:

      No problem. Writing is quite paradoxical–inspiration is what prompts most writing, but habit is what gets items published. We just want to bridge the gap between discipline and intensity. 🙂

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