11 Indispensable Resources for Writers and Writing Teachers

Like most writers, I split my time (albeit unevenly) between writing, editing, and teaching.  Here is a list of websites that have proven to be incredibly valuable resources over the years in all three areas.

1- Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)

Let’s start with the basics.  Purdue University has an absolutely fantastic Online Writing Lab, free for everyone to use, where you can find the answer to almost any question about writing– whether it be about grammar, structure, style, how to cite sources, or anything else.  I used to put the link to this site on my syllabi at the beginning of the academic year and link to it on my class websites so my students would know to use it, and I’ve often used it myself when I can’t quite remember something like where the commas go in MLA citations.

2- UNC Writing Center Handouts

Can’t find what you’re looking for on the Purdue OWL?  Search the long list of handouts available on the University of Chapel Hill’s Writing Center website.  Both sites also have PDFs available to download and print to use in class.

3- Duotrope

Interested in publishing your own writing?  Duotrope.com is an exhaustive database of places where you can submit your work, everything ranging from the typical poetry and literary short stories to novellas, flash fiction, fan fiction, genre fiction, and everything in-between.  You can search for specific criteria (for example: journals that pay, are both print and online, and that publish vampire story flash fiction) and the database gives a brief description, run down of important information like pay and publishing schedule, how quickly the editors respond, and provide a link that takes you directly to the outside pages.  It is a pay site, but if you submit a lot, it’s worth the money.

4- Newpages

Newpages.com provides reviews of literary magazines (including specific issues and authors– I was reviewed on there years ago(!), and also mentioned briefly in one of their press releases) and has a long list of literary magazines that accept submissions.  Unfortunately you can’t search the list the same way you can with the Duotrope database so it involves a lot more time, energy, and clicking around, but it is free.

5- AWP

Everyone of course knows about the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) yearly conference, but if you don’t regularly check out their website, you should.  (And if you don’t know about the conference, look into that too!  Incredibly useful panels and a good excuse to hang out with your writer friends for a few days.)  They have videos and podcasts and craft essays and interviews and job listings, among other things.  Some of the content is only available to those who have paid for membership, but a lot of it is available for free.

6- List of Writing Residencies, et al.

Post-mfa.tumblr.com is a good resource in general, and this list of writing residencies and writing conferences is especially useful.  It is not an exhaustive list and some of the information may be outdated, but it’s a good place to start if you’re interested in applying for residencies and a little lost about how it’s all done.

7- Show Me the $$$!: Literary Magazines That Pay

This post on the Review Review site gives a run-down of which literary magazines pay their writers, what they typically publish, and about how much they pay.  We all know that the days of making a living from publishing our writing in literary magazines is long gone, but it’s still nice to know we have options and may even make a little pocket change.

8- Who Pays Writers?

If you write more general-interest stuff (as opposed to literary), this is a list of magazines, both print and online, that pay for things like personal essays, reported pieces, interviews, etc.  Again it provides brief information about the magazines, what the pitching and editing process was like, and about how much they pay.

9- EFA Editorial/Writing Rates

Are you working– or interested in working– as a freelance editor, writer, proofreader, fact-checker, transcriber, ghostwriter, translator, or anything else involving words?  And if so, are you having a hard time figuring out what to charge for your time?  This is a fantastic list of what to charge per hour, depending on the specific service you’re providing, from the Editorial Freelancers Association.  The list was updated as of July 2015, so the rates are fairly current.

10- Pricing 101: How to Price Yourself as a Freelancer

Would you rather charge your clients per project, rather than per hour?  This post on Careerfoundry.com is a good tutorial on the benefits of project-based pricing and how to start.

11- Social Security Website Database of Baby Names

Okay, this one is a little different than the other resources on this list, but it’s still useful, I promise.  The Social Security website has a database of the top 200 baby names (both male and female) for every decade since the 1880s.  If you are a fiction writer who is struggling to think up names for your characters, you can usually find something that works if you click around long enough.  And if not… hey, it’s still interesting to look at.  (Fun fact: Flossie climbed from #198 in 1880s to #151 in the 1890s, then fell to #164 in the 1900s before disappearing in the 1910s.  Poor Flossie.)

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