The 100 Best Writing Advice Articles: The Ultimate Writing Resource

The Internet is a glut of writing advice articles. This is a great thing! It means there are millions of voices out there  sharing advice, helping writers improve their craft and taking steps towards fulfilling what is for many, a lifelong dream of writing and being a writer.

This is also a not so great thing. Besides the fact that a lot of online writing advice sucks, there’s just so much writing advice out there that it’s almost impossible to find the good stuff let alone the great stuff amidst the noise.

I’ve cut through the clamour and filtered out the garbage.

Collected here are the 100 Best Writing Advice articles the Internet has to offer.

writing adviceThis list is aimed at fiction writers, although non-fiction writers will find plenty of excellent writing advice in here too (particularly when it comes to creativity and the business of writing).

The articles here are not ranked. I’ve divided the categories vaguely by stages of the writing process (from ideas through to the business of publishing and promotion). Articles within each category are arbitrarily listed. Each item lists the title, the author, the website it comes from, a brief rundown of the topic (with my occasional opinion mixed in) and a quote from the author.

You’ll likely already know and love some of the writers listed here. Other writers are new voices in the crowd. Heavyweight or new comer, each author offers something of value to the writing advice conversation. Some authors are listed multiple times because they’ve said a lot of great stuff.

A lot of these articles have been incredibly helpful in my own writing journey. Some of them I’ve only just discovered in putting together this list. Each article has been carefully vetted to make sure it’s worthy of inclusion.

Whatever stage of the writing journey you’re at there’ll be a piece of writing advice here for you.

Jump to Section
Creativity and Ideas
The Writing Process
Structure and Style
Character Development
Writing Dialogue
Writing Setting
Writing Tools and Rules
Productivity
The Writer’s Life
The Writing Business

writing advice on writing ideas and creativity

1. Need Writing Ideas? Take Inventory of Your Life!
Ann Kroeker | annkroeker.com

Sometimes writers are so caught up in the quest for ideas and originality, we can forget that each of us is already in the middle of a unique and original story. Learning to mine your life for creativity prompts is a valuable skill.  Writing from your own experience means you’ll always be writing with authenticity and authority, both of which are keys to good writing.

“Someone, somewhere, is going to be delighted to read about your world and the way you experience and process it.”

2.  Creativity’s Monsters: Making Friends with Complexity
Lisa Rivero | Psychology Today

While this post isn’t aimed specially at writers, it does provide a unique perspective on how to foster a creative personality using the trials and complexities of life.  Rivero draws on the research of eminent Hungarian writer and psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi whose book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention has become a hallmark in creativity studies.

“Creatively complex people are nearly impossible to “peg” as this or that. Their capacity to tap into a fuller range of what life has to offer is what allows them a broader response to life’s problems and questions, whether practical or artistic. This is in line with findings that openness to experience is an important part of creativity.”

3. The Creative Breath: Seven Ways To Focus Creative Energy. #1: Follow Your Breath
Orna Ross | ornaross.com

There isn’t anything really unique or original about the process Ross is describing here; it’s a basic meditation technique used to calm and focus thoughts and you can find the process described just about anywhere you find anyone talking about meditation. The big difference, and why it is such a valuable bit of writing advice is the context in which the breathing exercise is presented. Many writers have difficulty focussing during the creative process, particularly in today’s world of fractured attention. Learning how to control your focus through focused breathing is a brilliant tool to enhance your creativity and boost your output.

“When you breathe in conscious awareness, your mind opens to creative flow. It’s an inter-relationship and it works both ways. You will find that when you move from con-state to create-state, your breath automatically becomes longer, deeper, slower, more even and more conscious.”

4. Challenges of Creativity
Joanne Foster EdD | The Creativity Post

This post presents the views of two creators and creative experts, an author (Foster) and a visual artist (Rina Gottesman), as they discuss several well-known quotes about the trials of the creative process. Quotes about writing life and process are plastered in front of us every day, meant to serve as inspiration. It’s rare to see anyone unpacking these quotes, getting into their meaning and relevance.

“The creative process can be exciting, joyous, and fulfilling, although challenges are inevitable. These challenges may have to do with taking risks, confronting fears, or navigating our world, but they can be overcome. Let the creative spirit prevail!”

5. How to Unlock Your Creativity and Stop Feeling Like A Failure
Bryan Hutchinson | Positive Writer

All too much writing advice, particularly for new writers is prescriptive. Do this this way and you’ll have a novel. It might work, it might not. We need to celebrate the voices that champion writers and other creators taking a leap into the void and trusting that they will find and develop their own methods and thrive from that.

“Sometimes we spend too much time trying to find a new formula or system that we miss the best one. The one we already have.”

6. 11 Writers on Writing Inspiration
Various Authors | Now Novel

“Where do you get your ideas?” Writers hear this question more than any other. In this bumper post, eleven authors give their answers, discussing their very different creative processes.

“I like to say that inspiration is everywhere—and it really is. I’ve picked ideas from such disparate places as the dust on my windowsill (I’m a terrible duster) to my pets to the grapefruit I had for breakfast. It’s really just a matter of being open to whatever you’re experiencing at the moment.” KM WEILAND

7. 20 Things That Can Help You Find Inspiration for Writing
Lesley Vos | Live Write Thrive

What I love about this post is that while many of the suggestions are familiar,  Vos offers methods of finding creative inspiration based on how much time a person has to spend on that part of the creative process. This is great because it reminds us that inspiration is just another part of the job of being a writer and like so many other elements of that job, it might need to scheduled and forced out.

“If writing is just a hobby, you have time to wait for the inspiration needed to finish your post, article, or book chapter. But what can you do when your income is dependent upon your inspiration? The answer is obvious: you should find it!”

8. The Most Important Part of the Creative Life
Jeff Goins | Goins Writer

This post is all about creative space—in a physical, mental and spiritual sense—and how clear space can assist in the creative process. It reminds us that writing and creating happens as a part of the connected whole person, physical, mental and spiritual (you could even say emotional instead of spiritual if that makes you more comfortable). Tending to these three aspects through the process of clearing and focussing goes a long way to strengthen the our inner creator.

“Space is something you make in life, amidst the busyness, so that you can fill it. Emptiness is a void that cannot be filled, no matter how much you create. If you find yourself empty, it means your life is lacking space.”

9. How to Boost Creativity with an Idea Log
Cheryl Reif | cherylreif.com

Collecting your ideas is definitely not new advice for writers or creative types. The great thing about this post is that it takes that concept and turns it a specific task to be done at a specific time, meaning it will more likely get done.

“If this sounds like the standard writing/creativity notebook, think again. The power of an idea log lies in its consistency.”

10. How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story
Elizabeth Sims | Writer’s Digest

For a lot of writers, finding ideas for stories is not the hard part. It’s what the writer then does with those ideas that can be the difference between writing a great book, writing a dull book and not writing a book at all. This post is great because it takes the developing ideas process to the next level through an actionable thinking process, attaching a handy acronym–BADS (Bend, Amp, Drive, Strip).

“It’s not hard to get inspired by a great concept, to take it to your table or toolshed or cellar and do some brainstorming, and even to start putting the story on paper—but eventually, many of us lose traction. Why? Because development doesn’t happen on its own. In fact, I’ve come to think that idea development is the No. 1 skill an author should have.”

 The writing process- writing advice blogs

11. Uncertainty: The Normal Writing Process
Darcy Pattinson | darcypattinson.com

This may be a very short article, but the writing advice at its core is critical. Every writer, plotter or pantser or otherwise, faces uncertainty. Embrace this uncertainty as a necessary part of the writing process.

“Every time you face the blank page, you face uncertainty. It’s a normal part of the writing process.”

12. Using The Story Grid to Outline
Shaun Coyne | The Story Grid

The Story Grid is one of the most celebrated writing formulas around. This post takes a single aspect of The Story Grid framework and demonstrates how authors can use it to create an outline for their novel. This is a complex post and you’ll likely need to be familiar with the Story Grid concept to get its full benefits but it’s totally worth it. Here’s The Story Grid book.

“Everything I’ve written about Want and Need … is about holding the attention of your potential audience. What if we began with that directive as our primary concern before we wrote word one? Since it’s so critical to build in these conscious (Want) and subconscious (Need) desires in your protagonists (and antagonists), is there a way to build the central theme of your story around Want and Need? That is, can you come up with a controlling idea that will automatically generate the crucial arc of your protagonist and antagonist? Can you reverse engineer a Global Story around a single idea? The answer is YES.”

13. Supplemental Material for Writing Excuses — A Fire in the Heavens
Mary Robinette Kowal | maryrobinettekowal.com

This post is actually companion material to the Writing Excuses podcast but it provides valuable insight into a how a Hugo Award winning author goes about her writing process from the idea, through the outline and into writing the first draft. The article is punctuated with examples from Kowal’s writing and links to the relevant podcasts to give a good depth to her explanations.

“Which each step, if I find something that works better than my original idea, then I go with that so long as it is serving the story.”

14. To Outline or Not to Outline Your Novel | Jane Friedman
Tania Strauss | janefriedman.com

In this article, book editor Tania Strauss goes through examples of her own outlining process. She identifies that that while not every writer is an outliner, it’s also true that not everyone outlines in the same way and not every story, even for s single writer, will suit a particular outlining process. The main thing to take away from this post is that while outlining might not be for everyone and every story, it can be a key activity in mitigating the trouble of actually starting to write.

“So my advice about planning your novel is this: do whatever will give you the confidence you need to get started.”

15. Breakdown Boards
Steven Pressfield | Steven Pressfield Online

What’s this? A post about filmmaking? Not quite. Here, author extraordinaire and writing advice guru Steven Pressfield, looks at the process of filming breakdown boards and how they can be applied to novel writing. Basically, this advice centres on the idea of structuring a novel according to individual scenes, but then writing those scenes in the most efficient way possible – just like the breakdown boards do in movie making. Most of this post advocates writing out of sequence, but Pressfield also offers a counter argument for writing in linear order. With both sides of the equation, you can choose which suits you best.

“Bottom line: the canny writer uses BOTH techniques. She knows how to roll in-sequence when that feels best. But she’s ready to break that habit and jump around in her story when working out-of-sequence seems to make more sense.”

16. Editing Tips–Tightening Scenes
Jami Gold | jamigold.com

Paranormal author, Jami Gold, here looks at her process of editing stories to serve her two paragraph per scene element framework. She covers when to delete information from the inevitable info dump that occurs in first drafts and when and how to weave that information more tightly into the narrative.

“The best way to interweave those details with other elements and keep the natural flow of a scene is to spread them out. Give details when they’re relevant and not before.”

17. Creative Mind Mapping for Novelists
CS Lakin | Live Write Thrive

This post offers writers a mind mapping technique that examines a novel on the macro and the micro level. Lakin explains how she focusses her mind mapping processes on various micro levels of story – characters, settings, history etc.—and then weaves these maps into min maps of macro elements like themes. We also get a short lesson in how to work out what your novel’s themes might be before you start writing.

“The key to brainstorming a strong plot is to explore the themes you want to bring out in your novel. Your characters embody the themes, and you want some character or characters to take one side of an issue and other characters to take an opposing side.”

18. I Have An Idea for a Novel! Now What?
Janice Hardy | Janice Hardy’s Fiction University

This post presents a process of unpacking the first kernel idea and finding the deeper story inside. Hardy offers suggestions on how to summarise the idea and find the story’s conflict, identify the protagonist and the antagonist, their goals and other motivating factors. From here, we move into ideas for brainstorming and summarising that draw all of these elements together into a framework that forms the basis of the new story.

“The goal is to get a general feel for how the plot unfolds and what key moments go where so you have a guide to write to. For pantsers, this might be enough (or too much) and you jump right in to the book. For plotters, you’ll take this and start breaking it down further.”

19. Writing Process Throwdown: Fae’s Way
Fae Rowen | Writers in the Storm

This post is a part of a series where the different writers of Writers In The Storm detail their writing process. Here, Fae Rowen details her process as a dedicated pantser.  There’s a lot of information out there (and in here) about the outlining process, but it’s not often we hear about the processes of the discovery writer. Here we learn about Rowen’s idea development and writing habits and what her editing process looks like before that final submission phase.

“I’m aware that I tend to be all about the facts in the first draft, (“But what is she feeling?” is a common comment) so I’m trying to layer in more emotions on those “morning after” re-writes.”

20. How to Finish Your Book in Three Drafts
Stuart Horwitz | janefriedman.com

This post presents excellent advice that can help a novelist avoid endless rewrites and drafts. Horwitz suggests thinking about each draft as having a distinct function – the first messy draft that gets all the ideas out, the method draft that organises them and the polished draft that makes sure everything is working at its best. Once those drafts are done, we’re the presented with a series of questions to answer that will lead us to final document that isn’t really a draft at all – the finished story.

“Each draft plays by different rules, and knowing what draft you’re in can help you avoid writer’s block.”

Structure and Style - writing advice blogs

21. The Single Best Way To Start A Novel – And 10 Beginnings That Instantly Turn Readers Off
Christopher Kokoski | christopherkokoski.com

It’s beyond obvious to say that the opening of a novel should be interesting, but what exactly does that mean? Kokoski provides a handy checklist of how a writer might determine what would be the most interesting scene to kick things off. We look at the story’s goals, a character’s motivation and, most interestingly, what a writer’s personal strengths are. The article then gets into a what not to do example list, identifying 10 boring ways to start a story.

“The single best way to start a novel depends on the novel and the specific talents of the author.”

22. Fine-Tuning Your Writing Style to be Concise and Specific
C.S Lakin | Live Write Thrive

A writer’s style is specific to the genre they’re working in as well as their own personal voice. This doesn’t mean authorial style happens automatically. Style, like all other elements of the craft, needs to be developed and fine tuned and this post offers methods for doing just that. This is one article in a yearlong series on the Pillars of Novel Construction and is even more valuable when read as a part of the whole.

“Genre influences the way we construct sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. It influences our word choices and how we stylize inner and outer dialog, and narrative. And it influences our tone.”

23. What Modern Horror Filmmakers Can Learn From “The Twilight Zone”
Brendan Morrow | Bloody Disgusting

No, this isn’t a mistake. This is an article about movies and filmmaking. So what’s it doing here on a post about writing books? This post is about storytelling and whether you’re writing movies or books there are some core truths about storytelling anyone can learn to better their work. In this post, the author takes on one of the most influential anthologies in popular culture – The Twilight Zone. What made The Twilight Zone so effective? What were the narrative elements that helped to construct that effect both on the micro and the macro levels? You may have zero interest in writing for film or TV, or even writing horror or speculative fiction, but if you’re interested in how to craft a compelling, suspenseful and deeply personal tale, then check out this study.

“Over 50 years later, The Twilight Zone is still having a profound impact on the horror genre. Rod Serling’s series was so revolutionary and brilliant that it essentially serves as a crash course in structuring a scary story.”

24. What Exactly Makes A Damn Good Story?
Chuck Wendig | Terrible Minds

This post (in typical look-away-if-you-don’t-like-swearing Wendig style) tackles an all too common issue facing new writers – how to turn that great idea and those great characters into a great story. Wendig, in a roundabout way, classifies the difference between plot and story: plot is what happens and story is why it matters.

“Story is a sum greater than the parts of the plot.”

25. This Formula Solves The ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Writing Dilemma Once And For All
Mandy Wallace | mandywallace.com

“Show don’t tell.” It’s writing advice so often repeated that it’s almost lost all of its meaning. Showing is critical in any story. And so is telling. This post offers a formula on how to effectively combine both to create a well-balanced story.

“If you use concrete and sensory details to build your scene, you’ll never have to worry you’re telling more than showing.”

26. The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel
Randy Ingermanson | Advanced Fiction Writing

Most writers who have spent any time online will have heard of The Snowflake Method. Like The Story Grid, The Snowflake Method is the go-to formula for structuring a novel for heaps of writers. This post offers a general guide to the method (check out The Snowflake Method book for the full breakdown) and is a great starting point for anyone looking for a workable framework to build their story around.

“Good fiction doesn’t just happen, it is designed. You can do the design work before or after you write your novel. I’ve done it both ways and I strongly believe that doing it first is quicker and leads to a better result. Design is hard work, so it’s important to find a guiding principle early on.”

27. Genre’s Five Leaf Clover
Shaun Coyne | The Story Grid

A key part of working with Coyne’s highly influential Story Grid structure is understanding genre and the way genre works. This incredibly detailed post gives us 5 key ways genre guides a reader’s expectations – the length of the book, how far we need to extend disbelief, the style, structure, content. Answering these questions and ensuring your novel meets them according to the chosen genre goes a long way to creating a successful story.

This post also offers a different way to think about genre beyond the typical sci-fi, romance etc. distinctions. This all comes down to reader expectations and, let’s face it, the only reason books are successful is whether or not they fulfil reader expectations.

“A Genre is a label that tells the reader/audience what to expect. Genres simply manage audience expectations. It’s really that simple.”

28. Big Picture Story Structure – Part 3: Seven-Point Plot Structure
John Wong | Mythic Scribes

This is one of a series of articles that sees the plot of Star Wars broken down into various story structures. Each step of The Seven Point Plot Structure (the brain child of Dan Wells) is clearly explained and then explained in terms of how it fits into the Star Wars plot trajectory. What’s great about this article is that it also explains how the 7 Point structure relates to the 3 act structure that we’re all probably more familiar with. The author then explains how he uses both frameworks in constructing his own writing.

“You see, each plot, sub or main, is a story in itself. Conceptually, they’re the same, each with its own first, second, and third acts or hook, plot turn 1, pinch 1, etc. The difference is with subplots things may be abbreviated and skipped. How much you abbreviate depends on how fast you need things to move along, how little “screen time” you need to make things work, and the importance of the subplot relative to the main plot(s).”

29. 25 Things Writers Should Know About Finding Their Voice
Chuck Wendig | Terrible Minds

We all know writers have a voice and we’re all told to develop our own. But what does that mean? Here, Chuck Wendig gets into answering these questions, first looking at what a writer’s voice actually refers to and then offering some insight into how writers can develop their own voice. The biggest takeaway here is that voice develops organically as a writer writes. It’s not something that can be forced or learned as a process and really, it’s something that can only be identified through a large sample (or entire body) of work. (Language warning – but try to get over that so you don’t miss out on his great writing advice.)

“The writer’s voice is the thing that marks the work as a creation of that writer and that writer only. You read a thing and you say, “This could not have been written by anybody else.” That is voice.”

30. Dissecting a Frog: How to Write a Humor Piece
Teddy Wayne | The Opinionator (New York Times)

Can humour be learned or is it just something a writer can or cannot write based on his or her natural personality? In this article Teddy Wayne dissects short examples of humour writing, attempting to learn lessons about funny writing that can be applied to all forms of comedic prose. This piece looks at how to start off a funny piece of writing, developing that premise into a narrative. Wayne examines how unconventional style and structure can often be the vehicle of humour, looks at the humour trope “the rule of three”, and considers how sentence structure impacts comedic delivery.

“A successful short humour piece begins with a strong concept or premise that immediately suggests something funny.”

Character Development - writing advice blogs

31. Internal Needs vs. External Needs
Victoria Mixon | victoriamixon.com

This post goes into a concept that Mixon developed in her bestselling writing advice book, Art and Craft of Writing Stories. Here we take the usual advice of developing characters through presenting them with something that conflicts their desires, and then add another layer of depth to that desire and conflict by examining a character’s internal and external desires and the different ways their desires can be thwarted.

“Very often I see manuscripts in which the writer has followed normal writing advice to give their protagonist a need and then thwart it, but they do this by imposing on the protagonist some outside force that simply makes the protagonist a victim. This creates weak storytelling and undermines the reader’s investment, because we’re not interested in reading about victims. We’re interested in reading about fighters. We need to know what to do when life knocks us down, and we can’t learn that from victims.”

32. Deepen The Protagonist to Readers By Challenging His or Her Moral Beliefs
Angela Ackerman | Writers Helping Writers

We all know good characters have layers to their personality, their history and even their appearance. In this post, we’re offered another way to add depth to a character by thinking about their personal moral compass.

“To feel fully fleshed, our characters should mimic real life, meaning they too have strong beliefs, and like us, think their moral code is unshakable. But while it might seem it, morality is not black and white. It exists in the mists of grey.”

33. 8 Necessary Tips for How to Write Child Characters
K.M Weiland | Helping Writers Become Authors

I’ve never really thought about the unique situation of writing child characters before I read this post. Whether it’s because adults ignore kids or underestimate them, it’s all too easy to fall into clichéd traps for writing kid characters. This post highlights those traps and offers all kinds of helpful Do and Do Not Do solutions to avoid them.

“The beautiful dichotomies of childhood offer so many wonderful opportunities for creating subtext and irony within fiction. Use them wisely and with as much insight and understanding as you’d apply to any of your adult characters. The result may be one of the most powerful characters you’ll ever write.”

34. Character Traits
David Farland | Story Doctor

David Farland’s writing courses are legendary and in this post we get a small taste of his insight into what makes a good story. In Farland’s view, most readers (and or viewers) are turned off an otherwise OK story by mischaracterisation. He goes onto list a number of red flags to identify mischaracterisation and then looks at how we are able to identify a character worth writing about.

“As we read stories, we are constantly making judgements.  We may admire an author’s style, even as we are annoyed by a plot twist that we saw coming; or we might get creeped-out by the foreshadowing, while we’re annoyed by the author’s cynical tone. It seems to me that one thing that we are most critical of is characters. Is a love interest likeable?  Does he or she work as a protagonist?”

35. The 3 Types of Character Arc – Change, Growth and Fall
Veronica Sicoe | veronicasicoe.com

You’ve heard of The Hero’s Journey? It’s a major idea in narrative theory. In this post, Veronica Sicoe takes exception to so many stories trying to fit into the Hero’s Journey structure (or people trying to fit stories into the structure). The Hero’s Journey is one example of a character arc and Sicoe offers three more types of character arc that could form a narrative structure – Change, Growth and Fall.

“Knowing where we want our character to be at the resolution of the story, and knowing how they start out, gives us the kind of character arc we will need to develop. That’s important, because knowing what that arc is early on, will help us figure out what kind of scenes to write, what their impact will have to be on the character and what types of decisions they will have to make along the way.”

36. Book Plot vs. Character Arc and How To Reconcile the Two
Monica Leonelle | Prose on Fire

This post focuses on two questions about how to harmoniously structure a standard 4 point plot arc and a character arc: Should character arcs follow conventional story structure plot points?; How do we then reconcile multiple character arcs with one set of book plot points?

“A lot of the time this is easiest when you have a central character whose arc can be the big turning points for the book, too. But again, it’s flexible. Play with it to see what works. As long as you understand story structure, you can feel the flow of the book at a high level through the outline and beats!”

 37. The Essential Guide To Nailing Your Character’s Appearance
Kristen Kieffer | She’s Novel

This isn’t a post about how to decide what a character looks like, this is all about how to figure out how a character appears based on their physical attributes as well as how they see themselves and how other people see them. Once we’re shown different things to think about when putting together a physical appearance, we’re offered a four step strategic approaches to writing that down and weaving it into a character’s experiences and the narrative as a whole.

“Physical appearances are not objective. Your character’s looks will change based on the beholder’s perspective.”

38. Applying the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to Fictional Characters
Sara C. Snider | Mythic Scribes

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a famous (or infamous) psychological tool for categorising human personality from 4 potential character traits: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); Sensing (S) or Intuition (N); Thinking (T) or Feeling (F); Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). The MBTI holds everyone as one of 16 possible combinations of these factors. In this post, the author (who identifies herself as INFP) offers two character studies from her own work, demonstrating how formulating characters using the MBTI allowed her to develop much more interesting and layered characters.

“At the end of it all, I believe the MBTI to be a useful tool in any writer’s toolbox. Whether you’re like me and write on the fly or are a diligent planner, getting additional insight into different types of personalities can help iron out those characterizing wrinkles that invariably pop up in every project.”

39. Sympathy for a Good Villain
Drew Chial | drewchialauthor.com

This post looks at how to write believable and sympathetic villains, taking the view that a piece of writing is only as good as how plausible its villain is. Villains, just like protagonists need motivation and for a story to succeed, that motivation needs to be something more than anything that moves a plot forward.

“It’s good to have a clear antagonist, but you don’t want them to be transparent. Sometimes their desires are simply incompatible with the hero’s. Sometimes the hero and the villain share a common destination, only to differ on how to get there. Sometimes they start with the same beliefs only to have them tested by their environments.”

40. Assembly Required: Create an Ensemble Book Cast
Robin Rivera | Write on Sisters

In offering an alternative to stories that focus on the main character, the antagonist and one or two other sidekicks, this post examines how to write an ensemble story built on a large web of characters. The author suggests ways to study ensemble casts, examining how each coordinates and contrasts one another; how to replace or remove characters as necessary so that each person is valuable; how to make emotion the driving force of the group; and how a writer might be able to combat the fear that might arise from writing such a complicated project.

“By my count there are 53 reoccurring characters in the first Harry Potter book alone. They range from very minor, like the cat, Mrs. Norris, to more significant, Mrs. Weasley, all the way to the big three, Harry, Ron and Hermione. And I have yet to hear of a kid complain they have reader confusion. Have you?”

Writing Dialogue - writing advice blogs

41. A Short Course on Dialogue Attributions
James Scott Bell | The Kill Zone

Common writing advice holds that we should always and only be using “said” in our dialogue attribution tags. In this post, we’re offered insight into that rule—why it is a rule in the first place and if we can or should ever ignore it, use a synonym or (gasp!) an adverb.

“Readers don’t really notice said, even as it serves its purpose. Any substitute word causes the readers to do a little more work.”

42. Writing dialogue: 7 Ways to Write Better Conversations
Now Novel

This post surveys the basics of what makes dialogue good or bad. We’re given straightforward tips with clear and reasonable justifications of why these rules work, why they’re so often repeated and why new writers often get them wrong.

“In stage acting, actors have to project their voices and expressions so that the person in the back row can feel the emotion and understand the meaning and implications of each piece of dialogue or event. In film, because the action is so up close, the smallest emphasis can say a lot more. Dialogue on the page is like the magnified screen compared to to the stage of actual, real-world speech. Each detail stands out more.”

43. How To Balance Dialogue and Description
Sarah Baughman | Write it Sideways

A good balance of description and dialogue can make or break good writing, but how do we know which one to use at any given point in the story? This post is great because it provides some ideas on how to choose to use dialogue or description to create a balanced narrative based on what you want each bit of writing to accomplish.

“How can I gauge when to give way to rich description, and when to let my characters speak for themselves? Certainly part of the decision depends on balance. If we rely only on dialogue or description, challenging ourselves to develop the other at some point will surely benefit our writing. But assuming we strive to incorporate both in appropriate measures, are there any indicators available to help us see in which instances one might serve more purpose than the other?”

44. The 7 Tools of Dialogue
James Scott Bell | Writer’s Digest

We’re all too often presented with lists of arbitrary rules about different aspects of the writing craft. What makes this post special is that it offers actionable tasks to improve our dialogue. Bell gives us ideas on letting it all flow naturally in the first draft, and different methods to find out when dialogue might be stilted or bland. We’re given tips on the power of silence instead of dialogue, how to write a confrontation and how to clean up our dialogue in later drafts.

“…you can often come up with a dynamic scene by writing the dialogue first. Record what your characters are arguing about, stewing over, revealing. Write it all as fast as you can. As you do, pay no attention to attributions (who said what). Just write the lines.”

45. Speaking of Dialogue
Robert J. Sawyer | SF Writer

We want our dialogue to read naturally, but there’s still a big difference between the way people talk in real life and what makes dialogue work in prose. This post examines this balance of natural vs real dialogue.

“A little verisimilitude goes a long way. Dropped final letters are rarely shown in fictional dialog (they’re usually only employed to indicate an uneducated speaker, although in reality almost everyone talks that way), and vagueness about verbs (“I’m like” instead of “I said”), verbalized pauses (“umm”), and content-less repetitions (the second part of “He says to me, he says”) are usually left out.”

46. 25 Things You Should Know About Dialogue
Chuck Wendig | Terrible Minds

In this list of tips, Wendig explains why dialogue works so well as part of a larger piece of writing from the reader’s perspective. He states the importance of learning the rules for structure and punctuation and how that in itself can be used to pace a story.  We’re offered ways to avoid using dialogue as exposition (and why that’s bad), insight into how dialogue reveals character and a revelation that dialogue is actually just another type of action. What makes this article a real gem is that we’re also offered a valuable piece of advice that we can take from what we’ve learned about writing dialogue and apply it to how we write everything else.

“Dialogue is a carrier for all aspects of the narrative experience.”

47. Overstuffed Dialogue
James Scott Bell | The Kill Zone

Here we’re looking at overwritten dialogue – conversations that have been stuffed full of excessive information and words – and why bad dialogue can make or break an entire story.

“Dialogue is a tool like any other in the craft. Also, dialogue is the fastest way to improve your manuscript––or sink it. If you do it well, it creates in the reader a subliminal confidence in you. They trust you as a storyteller.”

48. 16 Observations About Real Dialogue
Joe Bunting |The Write Practice

A common writing exercise is to go out and listen to what real people are saying in their everyday lives and how they’re saying it. Joe Bunting has done just that and shares here 16 observations he learned from the practice and offers different ways we might be able to weave these realities into our written dialogue.

“Good stories are about real people, and real people love to talk to each other. We are biologically disposed to receive pleasure from conversation.”

49. What Are You Really Saying? (The Use of Subtext)
James R Tuck | Janice Hardy’s Fiction University

Dialogue and conversation isn’t just what people are saying to each other, it’s also what people aren’t saying. This is subtext and this post explains why it’s important and how we can create it. We’re offered different ways we can actually structure subtext using dialogue structure and action as well as the actual words overlaying the unspoken subtext.

“Subtext is the meaning that falls under the words spoken in a conversation. It is all the things inside your characters that color their word choice coming to bear weight on what they say and how they say it. It can add a lot of texture to your writing.”

50. Balancing Description and Avoiding Infodump
Susan Dennard | susandennard.com

While this post doesn’t specifically focus on writing dialogue, it does cover the concept of the info dump which, for a lot of new writers, comes in the form of dialogue. Dennard encourages writers to use info dumps in a first draft and then offers a variety of valuable tips on how to use all of the critical info from the dump and weave it through the story to achieve a natural conveyance of information that works with and serves the pace of the story.

“When it comes to first drafts, I am ALL FOR infodumps. Why? Because you’re figuring things out! Those infodumps are how you, the writer, get familiar with the world and the history and the characters. Infodump AWAY.”

Writing Setting - writing advice blogs

51. How to Write a Compelling Story Using a Familiar Setting
Daniel Adorno | Mythic Scribes

Obviously worldbuilding is a key part of writing speculative fiction and it’s a process a lot of would be fantasists often get bogged down in. In this article we’re offered advice to start worldbuilding using inspiration from actual places. This way, research is always able to be directed and honed and writers can avoid the pitfalls of worldbuilding to extreme detail before they even get any actual writing started.

“The best thing about picking a place for your novel to be set that you know extensively is that you’re automatically an authority on it! So the benefit is not having to spend hours researching that environment.”

52. 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding
Charlie Jane Anders | io9

Worldbuilding is all about the details. In this post, Charlie Jane Anders offers areas of details where speculative fiction writers often fall down in either too much or too little detail. We’re prompted to think about physical aspects like sensory perceptions as well as more macro elements such as the economic infrastructure and the logical progression of cause and effect history.

“Worldbuilding is an essential part of any work of fiction. But especially for science fiction or fantasy, it’s the lifeblood of storytelling. But when worldbuilding fails, it can wreck your whole story, and leave your characters feeling pointless.”

53. How To Write About A Real Location If You Haven’t Been There
Joanna Penn | The Creative Penn

An passion for international travel is a big part of the brand thriller writer JF Penn has built around her work. In this post she looks at different ways writers can use real life places as inspiration for fictional stories without ever having to step foot out of their own town. Of course, travelling is also a great way to get to know a place and she covers this too.

“Make sure your geography is right if you set your book in the real world. It drives me nuts when books and movies change real-world geography to suit the story. Their credibility is shattered and often I ditch the book/movie right away.”

54. Why We Need to Build More Diverse Worlds in Fiction
Bernard Hayman | The Toast

This post celebrates the emergence of imagined worlds into mainstream popularity – Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games are the examples—and urges writers to foster greater diversity in their worldbuilding, especially during this time when the popular focus is on speculative fictions.

“Through diverse representation and the inclusion of stories that center more people of color, the potential of what a fictional world can be or represent deepens. When done well, worldbuilding represents more than just the allure of escapism, a respite from the world we inhabit — it can also create the opportunity for a deeper understanding of our own world, by tweaking the reality we know in ways subtle or dramatic.”

55. Creating the Perfect Setting
Alex Keegan | The Internet Writing Journal (Writers Write)

What’s the perfect setting for your story? This post looks at writing setting in a way that serves the story on a deeper level than just a basic description of physical place. Keegan examines work from Alex Garland and Charles Dickens, as well as his own writing, showing how a description of setting can weave character, theme and other elements as well as structure a story’s pacing.

“The key to how good the setting, milieu, description, the weather is: does it merely describe, or does it do many things? Does it reflect the protagonist’s emotional state, does it herald things to come, does it set us up to be frightened, uplifted, sensuous? Does it fit?”

56. Does Your Novel’s Setting Inspire You?
Harvey Chapman | Novel Writing Help

This post encourages writers to draw on places that have a deep sense of personal inspiration and relevance in order to really bring a setting to life. He expands this idea, suggesting even minor elements of a story, such as the car a character drives can be deepened if the author feels a strong inspiration from these same things.

“If you don’t feel passionate about the setting you write about, the setting will be as flat as a painted backdrop.”

57. How To Turn Your Setting Into An Obstacle Course
Angela Ackerman | Writers Helping Writers

We’re often told to throw all sorts of obstacles in the way of our characters in order to deepen character development and reader engagement. This post is offering that same advice, except it suggests we use our settings as obstacle courses our characters need to navigate. By bringing out the inherent dangers of even the most innocuous settings, or setting characters up against other sorts of roadblocks within a place, a setting fraught with difficulties is a writer’s opportunity to enhance excitement and expand characters.

“Not only do obstacles create tension and conflict, they also force our protagonist into a corner, providing the perfect opportunity for us to test their mettle.”

58. Story Setting: How to Make It Unique and Realistic
Sarah Forgrave | The Writer’s Alley Blog

This post looks at three primary setting situations frequently used in fiction and examines different ways writers might be able to really bring these places to life on the page. We look at real life, popular places (like New York City); less well known real places that have a particular uniqueness; and fictional settings based on real settings.

“Don’t settle for generalities or clichés. Hone in on a particular neighborhood, a particular store or shop, a park, etc.”

59. Mary Buckham presents: What is ACTIVE SETTING and Why it Should Matter to YOU!
Mary Buckham | Romance University

This post looks at a common problem in a lot of writing—setting description that doesn’t move the story forward. The advice is two pronged: only the details relevant to the story should be written; each character should experience setting in their own unique way.

“Do not focus your reader on something that is not pertinent to your story. Why? Because you’re wasting an opportunity to make your Setting work harder. Too much narrative, which is what Setting is in large chunks, slows your pacing.”

60. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate The Power Of Setting
Robert Wood | Stand Out Books

The art of pathetic fallacy—attributing human emotion and conduct to non-human, mostly natural things—can go a long way in establishing a powerful setting. In this post, Wood looks at the reasons why we might consider writing settings, particularly the weather, with pathetic fallacy and the ways it might be done.

“In this manner writers can have a reader accept their plot before it’s even begun, so that when events or character correspond to the setting the reader recognizes this correlation as a deep truth. This is a key device in the writer’s tool box, and can even be used in reverse.”

Writing Tools and Rules - writing advice blogs

61. 297 Flabby Words and Phrases That Rob Your Writing of All Its Power
Shayne Arthur | Smart Blogger

This is from a site that targets blog writers, but writers of all ilk will benefit. The post provides a huge list of overused words and phrases that weaken writing, explains why they’re lacking and suggests ways to avoid using them.

“Just as cockroaches quickly reappear when lights go out, these words and phrases will soon creep back into your writing. Unless you make it part of your editing process to find them.”

62. 5 Rules for Punctuating Dialogue
Harvey Chapman | Novel Writing Help

You might think that with all of the books you’ve read, knowing how to punctuate dialogue would be ingrained. It never hurts to take a refresher. In this post we get a crash course in the what goes where and when of dialogue punctuation. This post also raises the ideas that great writers have thrown all of these standards out the window and made their own punctuation rules.  If you’re not quite ready for that level of artistic confidence, then brush up on the basics.

“…I would advise sticking to what everyone else does – which in the case of punctuation for dialogue means following the guidelines below. Why? Because using what is standard is invisible, and it therefore doesn’t act as a barrier between the reader and the story. And if you’re worried that “doing what everyone else does” is boring, there are many other (and better) ways of standing out from the crowd than making a wacky punctuation choice.”

63. How to Create Fantastic Metaphors
ProWriting Aid

A good metaphor is like…. And the skills to create great metaphors is…. See how useful good metaphor writing skills can be? In this post, we take a look at different types of metaphors, some famous metaphors and how and why they work, and steps we can take to form our own metaphors without relying on the clichéd forms we often use without thinking.

“Aristotle said a metaphor was “the act of giving a thing a name that belongs to something else.” It allows you to pack a powerful punch in a few words. Your reader can take their full understanding of one thing, and apply it to another thing. By writing, “my cubicle is a prison,” your reader understands how you feel about your job. With just that one word that they know you feel trapped, unhappy, desolate.”

64. 10 ‘grammar rules’ it’s OK to break (sometimes)
Steven Pinker | The Guardian

There are different kinds of writers. Those who stick to the rules and those who would prefer to make their own. In this article, Steven Pinker advocates that while language and writing is a living and evolving thing, there are rules and standards that should be kept in place that define good writing let alone basic communication. We then get a look at the most widely made grammatical errors.

“Prescriptivists prescribe how language ought to be used. They uphold standards of excellence and a respect for the best of our civilisation, and are a bulwark against relativism, vulgar populism and the dumbing down of literate culture. Descriptivists describe how language actually is used. They believe that the rules of correct usage are nothing more than the secret handshake of the ruling class, designed to keep the masses in their place. Language is an organic product of human creativity, say the Descriptivists, and people should be allowed to write however they please.”

65. Why You Should Break Grammar Rules On Purpose
Hope Clark | The Write Practice

Sure, there are grammatical rules and there are those who would like to follow every grammatical rule as if it were an order handed down from on high. But just like those other commandments, do we really need to follow grammar to the final letter? In this post, C. Hope Clark argues that while grammatical rules can and should be flouted in the name of creativity, a writer need to know the rules and why breaking them might be the best choice for what they’re trying to achieve.

“I learned that splitting infinitives was never taboo. You can end a sentence with a preposition. You can begin a sentence with a conjunction, and you are allowed to use double negatives. Since the Hemingway days, writing has become less personal, more communicative, and preferred in a crisper, clearer, more precise manner. Grammar is a framework for your writing, not a cage. However, until you understand the ins and outs of grammar, you can’t manipulate it to your advantage.”

66. Clichés and Their Place in Prose
John Hayes | Scribophile

Saying that clichés are clichés for a reason is a cliché, but like all clichés, there’s a strong truth in the core of these overused words. And this is what John Hayes is examining here. In this post, we look at the origins of some famous clichés and a few examples of writers who have intentionally used clichés in subversive and powerful ways.

“In most cases, using clichés is simply lazy writing. The writer substitutes the worn-out phrase for original thought. He or she ducks the hard work of writing by borrowing someone else’s perceptions.”

67. Top 10 Storytelling Clichés Writers Need To Stop Using
Rob Hart | Lit Reactor

We’ve covered clichéd words and phrases, but what about clichéd concepts? In this post, Rob Hart looks at his ten personal storytelling peeves that have been done to death from clichéd ways to include description, clichéd characters, clichéd plot devices and more.

We, as writers, are trained to kill clichéd phrases in sentences. But that’s not the only place they can hide—they can infect the spaces between the words, too. Clichés can infect storytelling techniques. Need to build some tension? Have a time bomb with a digital readout slowly ticking down to zero! Is your narrator a dick? Blame it on abusive parents! Want to get all writerly in conveying the plot? Put it in a dream! These are storytelling devices that pop up again and again, crutches for the writer to lean on and help move the story along without actually having to stretch their abilities.”

68. The Fatal Flaw of Underwriting
Rachel Starr Thompson | Writers Helping Writers

Writers are always told to edit and strip away superfluous details from the story and sometimes this is to the detriment of what needs to be said to build a really engaging tale. This is underwriting. In this article, Rachel Starr Thompson examines why we underwrite, why it’s so damaging, and how to balance under and overwriting in our stories particularly as it relates to writing emotion.

“As an editor who also writes stuff (a lot of stuff), allow me to eat humble pie and tell you that sometimes we push you to strip so much out of your story that it ends up gasping for breath, struggling to hang on to a shred of character or conflict that anyone cares about.”

69. Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are Your Verbs Showing or Telling?
K.M Weiland | Helping Writers Becoming Authors

This post takes a fantastically fresh approach to the old (and often misunderstood) “show don’t tell” and looks at how to use the right verbs to get the real meaning of this bit of writing advice. It’s a short and sweet article, but in examining two different examples of prose, it’s likely to be the best “show don’t tell” writing advice you’ll find anywhere.

“Every time you write that a character saw/smelled/heard/felt something, see if you can reword the sentence to show the reader just what it is the character is seeing/smelling/hearing/feeling.”

70. How to Use Paragraphs to Control Pacing
Kaitlin Hillerich | Inks and Quills

We talk a lot about balancing action, dialogue and description in order to control pacing. In this post, Kaitlin Hillerich looks at paragraph length and how we can use it to not only provide an easier reading experience but also manipulate the pacing of the story.

But how long is too long? I’d aim for an average paragraph length of 3-4 lines, but don’t go any longer than 7 or 8 lines. And you can never go too short–you can even do single-line paragraphs for dramatic impact.”

Productivity - writing advice blogs

71. How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day
Rachel Aaron | Pretentious Title

This is the blog post that lead to Rachel Aaron’s bestselling book, 2k to 10k: How to Write Better, Write Faster, and Write More of What You Love. Now, writing 10K might be beyond an upper limit for a lot of us but the tips in this article will definitely help you write more words in every writing session. Basically, plan your session in advance and write what excites you.

“Drastically increasing your words per day is actually pretty easy, all it takes is a shift in perspective and the ability to be honest with yourself (which is the hardest part). Because I’m a giant nerd, I ended up creating a metric, a triangle with three core requirements: Knowledge, Time, and Enthusiasm. Any one of these can noticeably boost your daily output, but all three together can turn you into a word machine. I never start writing these days unless I can hit all three.”

72. Cutting Through the Busyness to Get To Business
Kate Moretti | Writers in the Storm

Busyness is a curse in most modern lives. It’s that state of doing STUFF that makes you either look or feel busy even though the work you’re actually doing is probably not at all valuable in any way. In this post, Kate Moretti looks at the things in her life that, while writing related, are still a giant time suck that detract her focus from the real work of quality writing. She looks at social media, writing blurbs and other book related copy, blogging, emails and heaps of other things that can easily get out of hand for a lot of writers (and most other people working in these kinds of cognitive professions) and offers ways she manages them in her own life.

“Why? Because as a published writer, the demands on your time triple. Quadruple. Whatever comes after quadruple. I had no idea it would be like this: that I would eventually end up spending more time being busy than actually writing. I call it all “writing-related”, and it’s true, but never before have I needed such self-discipline.”

73. Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized
Maria Popova | Brain Pickings

Many writers love to learn about the habits of other writers as a way of potentially tweaking their own methods. Here’s we’re looking at the sleeping habits of famous writers and the correlations between productivity and sleep. Do you really need to get up at 5am every morning to be a real writer? Take a look at this delightful infographic and see.

“The most important point, perhaps, is a meta one: A reminder that no specific routine guarantees success, and the only thing that matters is having a routine and the persistence implicit to one. Showing up day in and day out, without fail, is the surest way to achieve lasting success.”

74. Traditional Time Management for Writers? Why It Doesn’t Work (And What To Do Instead)
Ali Luke | Write to Done

Ali Luke is a prolific writer with two little kids so she knows a thing or two about time management. This post looks at the most common professional time management advice and tweaks it for the writer—more specifically, tweaks it for the writer who has other life commitments—offering a valuable “if you do one thing” approach to her advice. From planning to downtime, follow any of these tips and you’ll be sure to squeeze at least a touch more out of your writing efforts.

“Regular time-management advice is aimed at regular people in regular jobs. It’s for people whose days are filled with meetings, emails, phone calls and itty-bitty tasks. It’s not generally aimed at people who want to spend hours writing… and it doesn’t take into account your need for creative energy and periodic rejuvenation.”

75. The Principles of Immersive Single Tasking
Cal Newport | calnewport.com

Cal Newport’s book Deep Work has changed the way I think about work, focus and productivity. It’s a revolution and you should go and read it right now. When you’re done, come back and look at this blog post about how the ideas of immersive virtual reality could aid knowledge workers, like we writers. While the practical idea of immersing yourself in a virtual reality isn’t actually an option for most (all?) of us, the principles of why it works can still be applied to the writing process. Write with focus, immerse yourself in that focus and create an inspiring environment that facilitates that disconnection from all other aspects of your life.

“To be clear, when I say “productive,” I’m not referring to the efficient processing of the types of shallow tasks that computers will one day soon automate (think: emails and administrative drudgery). I’m instead talking about wringing the most possible value out of your brain as you work deeply on important objectives. In other words, the type of effort that’s becoming increasingly valuable in our 21st century economy. I called this application of virtual reality immersive single tasking.”

76. How to Form Good Writing Habits
Faye Kirwin | Writerology

Create a writing habit is one of the most often repeated bits of writing advice for good reason. In this post, Faye Kirwin looks at the psychology behind habits, how writing habits influence our work and the different types of conditioning we might cultivate to help us get the job done. A great thing about this post is that Kirwin also takes a look at the positive and negative potentials of different habits. If you’re looking for ways to form a new habit or tweak your existing writing habits, then this is the post.

“Thing is, writing regularly is easier said than done. It takes dedication, and that takes willpower, and honestly, it’s far less painful to potter from Internet distraction to distraction. But you’re a writer—you want to write—so how can you make that easier on yourself? Well, you can start by making writing more like a habit.”

77. The 7-Step Method to Find Focus for Writing
Leo Babauta | Zen Habits

Guru of focus and slow, minimal living, Leo Babauta here takes on the writing process, offering his straightforward minimalist inspired advice drawn from his own experience as a bestselling writer in what he calls his “writer’s rehabilitation process”. The tips in here aren’t really anything new, but they bear repeating especially in the context of Babauta’s bonus 8th tip – enjoy yourself.

“It seems no matter our best intentions, it’s our lot in life to put off writing by checking email or Facebook or Twitter, doing other busy-work, chatting with someone, anything but the actual writing.”

78. The Psychology of Writing and the Cognitive Science of the Perfect Daily Routine
Maria Popova | Brain Pickings

Here we take another angle on the psychological processes involved in forming writing habits. Popova takes stock of some of the most relevant and actionable findings in Ronald T. Kellogg’s The Psychology of Writing, looking at ways to model a workspace to optimise creative flow and call on applicable knowledge from your long-term memory through the right retrieval cues.

“[There is] evidence that environments, schedules, and rituals restructure the writing process and amplify performance… The principles of memory retrieval suggest that certain practices should amplify performance. These practices encourage a state of flow rather than one of anxiety or boredom. Like strategies, these other aspects of a writer’s method may alleviate the difficulty of attentional overload. The room, time of day, or ritual selected for working may enable or even induce intense concentration or a favorable motivational or emotional state. Moreover, in accordance with encoding specificity, each of these aspects of method may trigger retrieval of ideas, facts, plans, and other relevant knowledge associated with the place, time, or frame of mind selected by the writer for work.”

79. The Productivity Secret of Professional Writers
Georgina Laidlaw | Goins Writer

The single secret to being a productive writer is to start writing. It’s true, but this idea alone would make for a fairly brief discussion and writing advice that’s not all that helpful. Fortunately, Laidlaw gets into the deep parts of this idea, examining the concept of constant writing. Constant writing is not so much constantly physically writing, it’s all about regular writing and constant thinking and making the process of writing so much a part of you and you’re life that’s you’re addicted to the entire process.

“Once you begin to really enjoy expressing your thoughts through writing, the “just get started” challenge stops being such a hurdle. Suddenly, it’s a means to an end — a necessary step in a rewarding process.”

80. Staying Focused and Getting That Book Finished
Caroline Finnerty | Writing.ie

The parallels between writing and running get drawn quite often. In this post, Caroline Finnerty examines the process of writing a book, comparing it to her husband’s process of running a marathon. It’s all about training, whether you feel like it or not. It’s about small steps and getting through the wall to find your second or even third or fourth wind. It’s about discipline and motivation and getting to the finish line. And how are we meant to do all of these things? Focus.

“When you start your book, you start off full of energy and enthusiasm, you’ve got the plot in your head, the words are flowing and you have to stop yourself from throwing it all out onto the page, just like the eager runner pacing themselves when they start out on their training regimen. Everything is going good until you come up against a problem in your plot or a tricky piece of dialogue but you work through it, like a runner who doesn’t want to train on a cold, wet evening. Instead of moaning about shin-splints, we writer’s complain about writer’s block and if you’re like me you’re probably also ‘carb-loading’ with digestive biscuits and mint Aeros.”

The Writer's Life - writing advice blogs

81. For Writers, Failure Is the Only Option
Roseanne Bane | Bane of Your Resistance

Fear of failure stops a lot of people from even trying to write. Here, Roseanne Bane talks about the disabling fear of failure as the ultimate failure, and the only alternative to facing the series of inevitable failures every writer makes during his or her writing journey. So how do we overcome our fears of making these failures and learn to accept failure as a normal part of the creative process? Bane has some valuable insight.

“Trying to be perfect won’t help; you will make mistakes. The fact that everyone else makes mistakes probably won’t make your mistakes easier to accept.”

82. What if You’re Just Not Good Enough to be a Successful Writer?
Ali Luke | Aliventures

The headline of this post is a serious question that most writers, professional, wannabe or otherwise face at least once. Ali Luke poses some possible ways me might answer it by prompting us to consider how we personally define what the question is really asking. What is success? What is “good enough”? Are our worries founded in reality? What are the indicators that we might be good enough? So, what if we answer these questions and decide that no, we’re not good enough? Ali offers 6 points of advice on how we might step up our game.

“There’s no “right” answer to what constitutes success, but it’s important to know what it looks like for you. You might also want to consider here which types of success you’re going to let slide. (For instance, if you want to make lots of money writing, you’re almost certainly going to get a few negative reviews along the way. (E.L. James, anyone?)”

83. Don’t Get So Busy Making A Life That You Forget To Make A Living
Ryan Casey | Ryan Casey Books

This self-reflective post looks as the quote “don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” and turns it around. What if making a living is what your life is all about? The point is that “a life” means different things to different people and for writers, who are especially prone to Workaholism, that can also mean a host of different definitions.

“…the next time somebody tells you “don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life,” think about what they’re saying at first. Do you need to get a life? Do you need to start doing more things that make you happy? Are you giving up on the things that make you tick at the expense of a job that you also enjoy? Then go find some balance. If you’re already completely happy with your life–whether it’s happily married with kids, or single-as-hell and totally satisfied with your life, both from a work and a social perspective–then just brush off those comments. Because you are living your life.”

84. Creating the Optimal Mental Writing Space
Faye Kirwin | Writerology

This post is a part of a series that looks at creating physical spaces, free from distraction, in order to get our best writing done. Here, we’re looking at brain space – how to clear your thoughts, which are potentially the most difficult distractions we have to deal with. Kirwin gets into why we have distracting thoughts and offers tactical measures we can try to combat these distractions and reign our brains into focus. What I particularly like about this post is that it also offers a physical reason we might not be working with a clear head.

Another way to bring focus to your mental writing space—your mind—is by imposing limits, particularly on your writing time. When you don’t have long to write, getting the words down instead of daydreaming or procrastinating suddenly becomes much more important.”

85. 6 Ways to Make Time to Write: A Guide for Busy Parents
Ali Luke | The Write Life

“I don’t have time to write” is one of the most common excuses holding would be writers back and it’s particularly true of would be writers who are also parents. In this post, Ali Luke (who has two little kids and a successful writing career) looks at the most common bits of time management advice and why it doesn’t apply to parents of little kids. But parents can be writers too, and Luke gives us 6 bits of valuable advice to show us how it’s done.

“Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, life with kids is manic. I’ve worked everything from almost-full-time to not-at-all over the past three years (depending on my husband’s schedule) and finding time to write has always been a challenge.”

86. The Four Fears That Stop You From Writing
Andrea Phillips | Terrible Minds

Being a writer is a scary job. Every word we put out into the world, we’re putting ourselves on the line for judgement. In this post, Andrea Phillip examines the most common fears writers have; why we’re scared, when we’re scared and what we might be able to do about it.

“But being a creator is fundamentally about acknowledging that risk and then saying “fuck it” and heading into that mofo heart-first. It doesn’t matter if you (or your craft, or your project) are good enough if you’re not writing. The only way to become good enough is to write more words.”

87. Be A Writer Who Moves, A Mover Who Writes
Katy Bowman | sarahselecky.com

Sitting and sedentary lifestyles are now being identified as the root of many health problems. Our physical health directly influences how well we do anything, yes even writing. So what’s a writer, a person in a profession that traditionally involves a whole load of sitting, to do? Katy Bowman is a bio-mechanist and a writer and a movement guru. She not only talks about how important it is to move our bodies, she moves, and writes. A lot. In this post, Bowman talks about how it is possible to be a prolific writer and keep your body moving and active by working in a dynamic work station. And there’s a clever time lapse video of Bowman at work writing to show us just how to do it.

“But not only can you do much of the “background” work of writing while doing big movements away from the desk, you can also move while you write. I write every day, often for hours, and I know I’ll suffer some biological consequence if I keep still during my writing time. So I move in subtle ways that don’t require me to move away from my keyboard.”

88. What Is Your Definition Of Success? How Do You Measure It?
Joanna Penn | The Creative Penn

Why do we write? Can we still be successful writers without fame or fortune? Joanna Penn defines being a successful writer with the answer to the following questions: What is your definition of success – for this particular book and for your writing career? How will you track and measure that success? What do you want to do with that success? What is the point in your work? She prompts us to remember too that the definition of success can change over time. This article also covers common answers to these questions, and Joanna offers various ways to think about what these answers might really mean.

“One of the inherent parts of being human is a general dissatisfaction with where we are. However much we achieve, we often want more. This has an evolutionary benefit as it means we are always striving, always creating, always building. But it’s important to recognize your achievements, so whatever you decide you want, you also need to establish how you will measure this success.”

 89. The Truth About Rejection Newbie Writers Won’t Admit
Alicia Rades | The Write Practice

When we start out, we’re told that rejection is part of the job and we hear stories of writers that hold up every rejection notice as a badge of honour. Alicia Rades reminds us that rejection sucks and it’s OK to feel hurt when someone says no thanks to our writing. The important thing, Rades urges, is to remember that rejection often comes with the opportunity to improve in the craft if that’s what’s letting you down. We’re also prompted to think about the fact that it might just be a matter of editorial taste that our work wasn’t published, so we should at least consider trying it in a different market.

“I know, rejection is tough, but if you take it as a learning experience rather than a setback, you 1) don’t have to worry about the whole wallowing in self-pity and eating your feelings thing and 2) get an awesome experience to improve your writing talents.”

90. Erik Larson’s Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life
Zachary Petit | Writer’s Digest

This is a largely anecdotal list and it won’t be a perfect match to every writer’s life especially if you don’t drink coffee, don’t like Oreo cookies and or don’t like fireplaces. That said, it does deliver on two points of excellence: 1 – at least a few points in this list are of (almost) universal significance such as how to pace life as a writer and ride the waves of inspiration and the importance of focussed work; 2 – it prompts us to think about how our own similarly constructed Top 10 list of life essentials might go. What makes your list of essential elements of a writer’s life and why?

“Physical Diversion: When I stop writing, I need an escape—something that takes me out of the work and wholly into another realm. My main diversion is tennis, though I also find cooking to be very helpful. Something about chopping onions is very restorative. Dogs are helpful, too. They force you to go outside and confront the weather, although my dog did once eat a 19th-century edition of a British physicist’s autobiography.”

The writing business- writing advice blogs

91. It’s Time to Ditch Discoverability
James Scott Bell | The Kill Zone

Discoverability is a buzz word circulating around all spheres of publishing and any online activity. It’s a real issue for authors, but rarely much thought given to what it actually means and how to achieve it. James Scott Bell offers a solution firmly based in the reality that there’s no quick answer for long term success.

You should be thinking that each new offering is an opportunity to prove to readers that you deliver the goods. As you do this, time after time, trust in you grows. Consumers buy more from businesses they trust. Readers are consumers and you are a business.”

92. Creative Entrepreneur: Business Models For Authors
Joanna Penn | The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn is always transparent about her own experiences, success and setbacks trying different business models in her writing career. It’s important to understand there isn’t a single avenue for every author and there are dozens of different ways to earn a living from your writing. Still, if you want to earn a full time living, having a model strategy in place is vital.

” If you want to be a full-time author, then you need to consider how your income streams will work.”

93. Facebook Ad Copy: Start Here!
Mark Dawson | Self Publishing Formula

Mark Dawson teaches writers how to use Facebook ads to power up their subscribers and sales numbers. This post breaks down one of the crucial aspects of that ad – the ad copy. There’s enough valuable and actionable information here for authors to put together a working Facebook ad without paying for Dawson’s full course.

“The 100,000 words in your novel might not have been the most important words you’ll write. The sixty in your Facebook ads could be the ones that make all the difference to driving mailing list subscriptions, sales and, if it all goes to plan, your career.”

94. 4 Signs You’re Ready to Reach Out to Influencers
Kelsey Humphreys | kelseyhumprheys.com

Reaching out to an influencer with the aim of getting your works noticed and promoted on a bigger platform is standard advice for anyone involved in online marketing of any kind. Learning to wait until you and your work are ready before introducing yourself to influencers could be the most important step in the process. It might seem like common sense, but Kelsey Humphreys is one of the few people who are reminding us of this crucial fact.

“Reaching out for an endorsement, an interview, or a guest post before your brand, book, product, podcast is ready, is a lot like trying to polish a turd. Excuse the analogy but guys, it fits.”

95. How to Influence People: The Most Overlooked Secret
Jeff Goins | Goins Writer

Speaking of influencers, in this compelling post, Jeff Goins highlights a big problem for a lot of authors – we authors tend to be introverts and approaching people we don’t know doesn’t come easily. This is not a step by step guide on how to get influencers and be an influencer yourself. It’s a discussion emphasising the importance making real personal connections and believing in yourself as someone worthy making those connection with.

“Put the idea of “getting influential people to do stuff for me” completely out of your mind. Instead, try to help people. Slay the dragon of insecurity and make bold, but humble, asks…”

96. How To Make A Living Writing Fiction
Ryan Casey | Ryan Casey Books

Ryan Casey writes about his own path to making a living from his writing. He’s not offering an exact guide with promises of success, just a sincere rundown of his experiences and what worked for him (and a lot of other writers).

“…the truth is, it’s easier to write five okay sellers than one bestseller. It’s how mid-list writers have been surviving and thriving for centuries.”

97. Boost Your Brand Credibility with Personality Traits
James Chartrand | Men With Pens

Building a brand these days is just part of the job of being a writer. All brands have personality, an our author brands are typically built around our selves, or at least a version of our selves we’re creating online. A good brand can’t be faked, but it can be tweaked and certain aspects of ourselves emphasised over others. This post looks at successful brand marketing using tactical combinations of the OCEAN personality types framework—Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism.

“Maybe you’ve decided to play up your funny and sassy side, rather than your poised and professional side. Or your go-get-‘em side, rather than your tentative side. Maybe you’ve decided to play up the fact you were once a circus performer past instead of that time you were a Starbucks barista. You chose what you want the world to see.”

98. Behind the Scenes of a 20,000 Download Book Launch
Nick Loper | Steve Scott Site

This post is a detailed rundown of how one author (and his team) wrote and launched a bestselling non-fiction book. It covers a lot of standard advice but it’s presented in a realistic, fresh and actionable manner. We’re offered a bit of sales psychology and other techniques used to increase both the real and perceived value of your book. The best thing about Loper’s approach to writing and publishing is his transparency in stating that he’s not an expert in any sense and this path is open to anyone with similar ideas.

“…I didn’t have any particular expertise to write this book; anyone reading could have done it as well or better than me. And I’m certain there are other similar opportunities out there as well.”

99. 49 Creative Geniuses Who Use Blogging to Promote Their Art
Leanne Regalla | Smart Blogger

Writers often feel uncomfortable with marketing, as if it’s somehow a sell out and cheapens the art and craft. This excellent post provides a great list of successful artists who use blogging as a form of content marketing to help promote their art online. We see visual artists, writers, musicians,  and lots more creative types offering different ways we can use blogging (real blogging, not spammy blogging) for content marketing beyond the usual suspects of writing about our processes or offering a teaching element about writing.

Blogging is revolutionizing the world of art, but many artists hesitate to start a blog because they don’t know how to approach it, or simply don’t understand what it could do for them. And by failing to connect with a global audience, you could be condemning your creativity to a life in the shadows. Not to mention falling further behind as Google increasingly rewards high-quality, sharable content over SEO acrobatics.”

100. What to Post on Social Media Plus 38 Examples
Frances Caballo | Social Media Just for Writers

Authors of all types are encouraged to maintain social media presence. That’s easy for some and not for others. This post offers a great list of ideas for what authors can post on their social media networks besides book promos and sales which no one really likes to read. We take a look at the different social media options and the different ways they work, how to create interest in your brand and foster trust and relationships with readers all in the name of selling more books.

Social media and book marketing aren’t about you. Yes, you have books to sell and a blog you want your readers to visit. But in the end, everything you do is about the reader.”

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Kate Krake
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Kate Krake

Kate Krake writes speculative fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the urban fantasy series Guessing Tales. Kate blogs about popular culture, health, wellness and creative writing. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, daughter and two beagles. Find out more on www.katekrake.com.
Kate Krake
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4 Responses to “The 100 Best Writing Advice Articles: The Ultimate Writing Resource

  • Hey Kate, glad my article made it onto your list!! (#10.) A very nice service you’ve done for your followers. Thank you!

    • Kate Krake
      1 year ago

      Hi Elizabeth,
      You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to spread great ideas. Thanks for writing such valuable content in the first place.

  • Hi Kate,

    Thanks for including Now Novel in your great list (at #6). Lots of stellar resources here, will be reading through.

    Bridget

    • Kate Krake
      1 year ago

      Hi Bridget,
      Thanks to you for sharing your writing tips with the world!
      Hope you get to find something in the list to inspire.
      Kate

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