Trying to write but need some inspiration? Or perhaps you’ve written something incredible but there’s one sticky paragraph you just can’t get right? Behold – 5 best free resources for writers to solve all (or at least most) of your writing woes. I write for a living all day, every day, and though the internet presents me with a sea of free writing resources and tools these are fundamentally the best of the bunch online.
Read on, and get writing!
Even just as an exercise in concise writing, the Hemingway Editor is my absolute favourite writing resource online.
I’m a poet, so as you can imagine I can go a little wild with the strangely put phrases and descriptors, and this is fine! Go wild with language – after all, if it worked for Shakespeare… But the Hemingway Editor is useful when you’re trying to chug out a paragraph and somehow it just doesn’t read right. The app looks for overly complex sentences, excessive adverbs, off-putting phrasing, and repeated use of passive voice. In content or fiction, these features are not your friend. All you do is copy and paste your copy onto the page and there you go. Test it out!
Whether you need a good image to focus on or you like to get carried away with a pre-prepared scenario, Mslexia’s Instagram field is a smorgasbord of gorgeous images and settings. Updated daily. Don’t like today’s prompt? Scroll through Mslexia’s feed for one you like! The internet is awash with prompts of all types for all ages, but there’s something utterly universal about these that makes me return to them time and time again.
Lose yourself in a labyrinth of blog posts, interviews, and articles on every aspect of writing you can imagine. From crafting colourful characters to mind-mapping your way to the perfect book title, there’s a bitesize article ready to help. Not only are the articles ace, but the forum aspect of the site means writers comment with their own experiences. I’m a bit of a secret fanatic when it comes to reading the comments on articles on Facebook and Reddit – and I think most writers are probably the same. We seek out the points of view of our contemporaries, and get excited by stories of difference and life experience. Sometimes it’s just nice to know other people are in the same sinking boat as you are. Misery loves company, after all!
It took me a while to get used to Grammarly. At first it seemed annoying and intrusive but now it’s like a gently prodding friend reminding me of my charming foibles. Ahem. Downloaded as an app, the free version works as a spell-checker whenever you’re typing pretty much anything. Uploading content to the site also lets you know if your grammar is a bit icky in a similar way to the Hemingway App, but doesn’t tell you where these mistakes occur. For this you must upgrade to ‘Advanced Grammarly’, and there’s the rub. I want to know I sound foolish for free!
Where free Grammarly comes into its own for me is the insights brought up in the top right corner. Here it gives you an estimate reading time, speaking time (great if you’re writing a speech or monologue), and your readability and vocabulary score. I’ve a simple brain – I like statistics, so I like this.
I first came across Angela T. Carr’s ‘A Dreaming Skin’ blog on Facebook. As each new month begins, Angela publishes a write-up of tens of poetry and fiction competitions and submission opportunities. She includes the deadline with each, which means that no matter what day it is you can find something to go for. Because of these posts I’ve discovered lots of new journals and e-zines I now absolutely love. You can even subscribe and have these posts delivered direct to your inbox. Sweet!
And there you have it, my absolute favourite 5 best free resources for writers which cover poetry, fiction, online content, journalism… Everything. Next challenge – how to write when you have a day job!
If you’re a poet and about to use these resources to create your own chapbook or pamphlet, you might want to
Get exploring. And get writing.