Low-Cost and No-Cost Resources to Polish Up Your Writing Skills
If you’ve written even the first paragraph of a book, you know that writing to be published is different from other forms of writing. Quite often your writing addresses a single individual or a small group, and the format can be informal. However, when writing to publish to a larger audience, your writing takes on new criteria and carries certain rules. Observing these rules – or sometimes breaking them – is what leads to your personal writing style.
On the other hand, you could realistically be concerned with whether or not your writing is appropriate for your audience. You don’t want to invest time in a writing project only to find out that your skills are outdated. Or even worse, to find out no one wants to read what you’ve written.
For a self-check, you may want to try one or a combination of the following resources:
Online Forums – Have you participated in an online forum? They’re everywhere. Simply do a search using a number of different search titles. Then follow the sign-up criteria and began to dialogue.
You’ll find hundreds of questions and answers to the very issues that concern you. And you can find juicy research data just waiting to be harvested. Be sure to add to the conversation with some references or other information you’d like to share.
Consider these online writer’s forums:
- The Writer’s Cafe (http://www.writerscafe.org)
- Critique Circle Online Writing Workshop (http://www.critiquecircle.com)
- Legend Fire (www.legendfire.com)
Writer’s Groups – There are a number of ways you can test your skills prior to publishing your book. You can begin by joining local writing groups where you write and critique each other’s content.
Online writers’ groups abound. Some advertise on your social media sites or you can search online. A writers’ group can be a great encouragement and offer suggestions to better your work. This tactic has given birth to any number of writers who previously felt their work was sub-par.
Check your local paper or the internet for online groups in your area. Also, visit www.meetup.com to see if any groups are started near you. Use a variety of search titles such as “writer’s groups” or “first-time authors” or “online writing group.” You’ll better your chances if you vary the search topics. If you can’t find a group, you may consider starting one yourself.
If these first two tactics are outside your reach (local writers’ group or an online group), contact friends you know and ask for assistance. Make it known that you are a first-time author looking for others to collaborate with. Someone’s bound to know of a connection.
Consider these online writer’s groups:
- Scribophile (www.scribophile.com)
- Writer’s Cafe (http://www.writerscafe.org/groups)
- WriteWords (http://www.writewords.org.uk/groups)
- Unlimited Facebook groups (do a search for “Authors” or “Writers”)
Writing Courses – Have your grammar muscles atrophied? Perhaps you can’t remember how adverbs work. It’s not a problem. Find a course you can commit to and update your skills. You’ll have a broad selection to choose from, either locally or online. A community college may offer the course you’re looking for, or a local writer’s group may offer workshops or courses. Sometimes you can find a refresher course at a local writer’s event.
Be sure the course you take will upgrade your skills. Don’t take a fiction course focused on character building if you’re a non-fiction writer. You’ll waste your time and money. Instead, look for a course to strengthen your writing weaknesses. Here are a few courses I’ve discovered which may be of interest to you (current as of this printing):
- 10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses
- 10 Amazing Free Online Writing Courses
- 19 Free Online Courses to Improve Your Writing Skills
- 25 Helpful Resources to Improve Your Writing Skills
Make use of the appropriate resource that meets your need. Remember to check your local colleges and universities and local writers’ groups for workshops and courses that may be available. Polishing up your writing skills could upgrade your bottom line.
This content is an excerpt from my first book in the Book-Possible series, “Publish Your First Book Now!” available on Amazon.com.