Happy 2021, writers! Thank goodness the dumpster fire year that was 2020 is finally over. If you’re like most folks, you’re looking forward to a positive and productive 2021. Sure, things won’t change overnight, but you gotta keep the faith. (That’s my plan, anyway.)
Whether you’re brand new to the craft or you’re a veteran writer looking to redesign your writing life, start your year on the write foot with a fresh batch of writing resources! In each of my writing resource round-ups, I feature blogs and courses every writer should engage with to further their learning and enhance their skills.
If you’ve read my other resource round-ups, you’ll notice this one is a bit different.
Writing resource round-ups: what’s changing in 2021
This year, I’m approaching the round-ups a little differently. Each month will have a theme. This month’s theme is, unsurprisingly, New Year’s resolutions — writing edition. Two of the blog posts included here provide reasons why writers both should and shouldn’t make resolutions. I’ll let you read and decide for yourself!
I’ve also reconsidered whether I should feature social media accounts in these round-ups. I often link to the social media accounts of the bloggers I feature, so having a separate section seems a little redundant.
Additionally, one of my goals this year is to cultivate a deep-work mindset (see Cal Newport’s book) and minimize the time I spend on social media. I’m not sure whether it makes sense to promote accounts with huge followings, or comb through Instagram and Pinterest to find smaller accounts.
I’m also absent from Facebook and Twitter, which many writers use to connect with fellow word nerds. For that reason, the social media accounts I feature will be limited.
So this first writing resource round-up of the year is kind of an experiment! I’ve omitted the social media accounts in this round-up and included a handful of blogs and courses. In future posts, I may expand to include books and more blogs or courses.
It all depends on what you, the readers, will find most helpful! I’d love to hear your feedback. What would you like to see in these round-ups? Let me know in the comments, or send me a message.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get to the goods you came here for! (Special thanks to my kickass virtual assistant Emily for helping compile this month’s resources!)
Author H.R. Truelove has achieved what so many writers dream of: writing fiction full-time. After reading her long bio, I concluded that H.R. must be a sorceress — writing 100,000+ words a month all while raising a sweet family is no mean feat! In addition to her current WIP, Alterverse, H.R. writes speculative fiction, poetry, and informative blogs chock full of writing tips.
Here are a few you might like to read if you’re looking to level up your writing skills this year:
E.M. Welsh is a powerhouse of a writer — not only is she a content writer for EA Games by day, but she’s also working on a new book. As an avid gamer and creative writer myself, I respect her hustle.
Although E.M.’s blog has been on hiatus for some time, the archives are still an excellent resource for writers of all genres and skill levels. From freebies on mastering the art of storytelling across genres to musings on writing rituals and New Year’s resolutions, you’ll find plenty of reading material on her blog.
Although E.M. doesn’t update her blog much, she’s active on Instagram, so go check her out! (Her inactivity is another trait of hers I admire. I’m currently reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, which emphasizes the need to eliminating distractions to do meaningful work. Seems like E.M.’s got that on lock!)
Here are just a few of E.M.’s helpful resources for writers:
- Why Writers Don’t Need a New Year’s Resolution
- How to Create a Writer’s Ritual
- The Storytelling System free ebook
Custom Writing earns a spot in this month’s round-up thanks to a recent email I received from a content writer there. (Thanks for submitting your awesome resource, Julia! Want your writing resource featured in next month’s round-up? Just let me know!)
Custom Writing is an essay writing service for college students. While I’m not super keen on such services, there’s no denying their blog is a treasure trove of writing and study tips, plus career advice. Honestly, kinda wish I knew about their blog when I was in college!
If you’re looking to learn more about grammar or how to better manage your time, check out these helpful resources:
- 11 Basic Writing Rules – Common Mistakes & Fixes
- 100+ Academic Writing Resources
- 200 Powerful Words to Use Instead of Good
Christian author Samantha Glas dabbles in just about every genre — historical fiction, short stories, poetry. Like me, she’s a “jill-of-all-trades” writer. She’s currently working on her debut novel, The Girl Who Frosts the Cakes, while also pursuing her degree in English. (Heck yeah, fellow English grad!)
For a sample of her writing prowess, check out her free short stories. She also posts sage writing advice on her blog:
- Let’s Talk Writing Anxiety: How to Address & Deal in a Healthy Way
- Why it’s Important for Writers to Make New Year’s Resolutions
- How to Turn Criticism & Insults into Motivation to Write
I’m convinced that Ania Kiplan is also a magician. Author, poet, blogger, writing instructor, military spouse, mother to both two- and four-legged kids — I have no idea how she manages it all!
Ania’s “storyology” blog, Teetering on Wisdom, is packed with terrific storytelling and writing resources: a journal for poets, Pixar plot starters, literary bucket list ideas. The list truly goes on. Have a pen and paper handy when you dive into the archives — you’ll want to take notes!
Continuing on with our theme of writing resolutions for the new year, here are a few relevant posts that are sure to inspire you:
- 5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Writer in You
- 3 More Resolutions for the Reader in You
- How Non-Writing Activities Can Help Build Your Writing Skills: Game Stories
If you’ve been on the fence about whether you should pursue an English or writing degree, try this free specialization on for size first. By the end of this 5-course specialization, you’ll know how to:
- craft an engaging, cohesive plot
- create characters that resonate with readers
- critique other writers’ work and respond to feedback on your own
- establish your own writing style and voice
- build and skillfully describe immersive fictional worlds
You can sign up to Coursera Pro to earn a certificate for the specialization, or you can audit each course for free. (When you audit a course, you won’t have to complete homework or adhere to deadlines.)
This creative writing course is an excellent option for both newbie and veteran writers who aren’t sure whether a formal college degree is the right fit for them. It’s also ideal for busy writers who don’t have time to enroll in university. Learn the craft at your own pace!
This isn’t a writing course, but it’s worth checking out for any writer looking to build better writing habits and routines in 2021. You can apply what you learn about happiness, bias, and behavior to all aspects of your life, notably your writing.
Week 4 is especially useful for writers struggling to overcome imposter syndrome and self-doubt. The Science of Well-Being course takes less than 20 hours to complete, and it’s completely free from one of the most prestigious universities in the country!
Searching for a bite-sized course you can finish in an hour? Look no further! Brought to you by celebrated author Kassandra Vaughn, this super short course explores:
- what’s stopping you from achieving your writing goals
- setting healthy boundaries
- creating a routine you’ll actually stick to
Complete the Productive Writer’s Commitment worksheet to hold yourself accountable throughout the year and figure out what a successful writing life looks like to you.
I signed up for this course as soon as I discovered it — hit me up if you need a study or accountability buddy!
Get your blog featured in next month’s round-up
The goal of this series is to promote writers/bloggers who post useful tips to smaller followings. Since I also have a smaller audience compared to some writers out there, I know just how hard it is to build a following and get exposure. (And backlinks.)
From personal essays on challenges in your own writing life to educational articles on grammar rules, I’m happy to feature any writing resources you have to share — no strings attached!
As always, thanks for reading, and I wish you a productive and successful 2021!
Made any writing resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear ’em! Meet me in the comments and let’s talk writing goals.