These writing resources include apps, blogs, links and pages that I have found useful for my writing.
Learning and Inspiration
Weekly writing podcasts aimed specifically at educating writers and hosted by successful, established writers. It has themed seasons. The episodes are short and to the point. In fact, their tagline is “Fifteen minutes long because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart”. Not strictly true… Many run over 15 minutes and they are smart. The information they give is invaluable to writers and well worth a listen.
Couch to 80K Writing Boot Camp with Tim Clare – Fiction
I love Tim Clare’s Couch to 80K Writing Boot Camp. It’s a free writing course, via podcast that runs for 8 weeks and only takes approximately 20 mins. It gets you started on writing for just 10 minutes per day with simple exercises that become more interesting and challenging as the course progresses. It gets your creativity flowing and gets you into a writing habit. Tim Clare is also funny and makes it an entertaining journey.
If you want to really get into a good writing habit and poke your creativity into life, Tim Clare now has a 100-day writing challenge. Just like the 80K Boot camp, it’s just a 20-minute podcast with 10 mins of writing. It is just as funny and entertaining as the Writing Boot Camp, only longer. It is funded by Arts Council England so is totally free. The link in the title above takes you to the intro on Day 0. Enjoy.
Film Courage – Screenwriting
Fantastic Youtube channel that holds an astounding number of videos relating to screenwriting and filmmaking
Brandon Sanderson has posted all of his lectures on writing Science and Fiction and Fantasy online on his Youtube channel.
37 Plays – Playwriting
37 Plays is a playwriting project being run by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Associate Regional Theatres. The site provides support and advice for everyone to get writing a play throughout 2022. Although specifically focused on playwrighting, the techniques for gathering inspiration are also incredibly helpful for any form of storytelling. There is a fantastic resource pack full of activities and a podcast featuring Mark Ravenhill. They are also running a competition that opens in January 2023. So plenty of time to get writing.
End of Play – The Dramatist’s Guild – Playwriting
An initiative run by The Dramatist’s Guild in the US, where everyone endeavours to write a draft of a play in one month beginning on the 1st of April. “Through a combination of community-building events, motivation, and that all-important deadline, DG hopes to inspire countless new works.”
Write a Story – Playwriting
The Write a Story page is run by The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. The website is full of blog posts, videos and workshops teaching playwrighting.
Online Writing Meetups
The Covid-19 Pandemic may have caused us to isolate physically, but not socially. Online resources became vital for us to stay connected. Many creative opportunities emerged online to help us support each other with our writing, through online conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Hangouts and Microsoft Teams.
These are a few groups I found. Some provide prompts, some are online meetups enabling us to simply come together and write with one another at the same time. Many miles, if not continents apart, but together.
A weekly opportunity for artists to meet up for a (virtual) coffee, and help each other out with whatever. EVery week 10 – 11 a.m. Online. Sign up on their website for weekly invitations.
Playwright Meet-up with The Space Theatre
On the second Sunday of every odd-numbered month, The Space runs an online meet-up for playwrights over Zoom. A chance to get together, do writing exercises and chat about upcoming work, challenges and opportunities
A fantastic organisation running a variety of online workshops, events and competitions to help aspiring writers. The sessions are free and online making the courses and workshops the most friendly, open and accessible I have found. A wonderful organisation that is based at the Barking & Dagenham library in London.
- Creative Writing
- Novel Writing
- Advanced Playwriting
- Writing Ghost Stories
- Visual Storytelling
A wonderful meetup to write all together at the same time, for 50mins. They read out an inspiring quote every morning for you to think about if you want to do a stream of consciousness / freewrite / Morning Pages. Really helpful, supportive group to get stuff done.
UK BST AM
🗽US Eastern AM
🌴US Pacific AM
8-9am PDT (11am EDT / 4pm BST)
Not a conferencing group, but they frequently run procrastination-busting writing courses via email. “For badass writers with no time or money”
They run many email courses, online and regular writers’ retreats. My current fave is the current Monday morning Journaling meeting on Crowdcast – via an easy web link. With just a chat box to communicate with each other rather than actual chat.
I really enjoyed the prompts they used. I started because I thought it would be handy to get back to Morning Pages journaling. But then it turned out the prompts were just handy to get the mind-opening up anyhoo and weren’t ‘journal specific’… whatever that is. Really useful hour-long session to just get unblocked and get those words out.
Shutup and Write®
Both international and local groups. With the international groups, don’t forget to factor in the time difference between countries. I turned up to one, only to find out it had happened several hours earlier. Oops!
Shut Up & Write!® (Norwich, UK)
Shut Up & Write!® Online Events (San Francisco, US)
Running online writing workshops for underprivileged and under-represented writers and artists, encouraging diversity & inclusion in the arts.
Local writing resources here in Norwich.
Writing Prompts & Writing Challenges
Writing prompts for when you are stuck, or even when you’re not, but just need a starting word or phrase to start a free-write.
The Literal Challenge runs writing challenges several times a year, usually lasting a month. The challenges have included screenwriting, playwriting, prose and non-fiction. It’s not a competition against other people. You can choose for your work not to be read if you choose to. There are two streams, Timed and Creative.
On the creative stream, you receive the prompt each day and you can work on each in your own time. The timed route, however, is just what it says on the tin. There is a daily deadline to get the work done.
As a further incentive, if you make a payment into the pot, and then complete the challenge on the Timed route, the writers receive a share of the money. But if you are like me and can not afford to pay anything into the pot, it doesn’t matter, you can still take part. The deadline is a handy incentive in itself to prevent procrastination and get you into the habit of writing every day.
At the end, you not only have the snuggly, warm glow of satisfaction, having pushed yourself out of your comfort zone and completed a challenging challenge of challengeness, but you also have a whole month of work done.
Take Three Nouns
There are lots of writing exercises on the Writing Exercises site but one of my favourites is Take Three Nouns. Does what it says on the tin. Generates three random nouns.
Also on the Writing Exercises page is a random image generator. If you fancy using a visual cue to spark your creativity instead of using words. Or maybe use a combination of both?
Watch Out for Snakes
Another random word generator for free writing. With this one you get to choose the word type and its complexity. Additionally, you can pick a randomly generated, phrase, sentence or even paragraph.
A website full of prompts and games, exercises and techniques to help get the creativity flowing again.
Soundscapes to Write to:
‘My Noise’ is a website of ambient sounds, such as sea, wind and rain, café noises, forest, garden, and waterfalls. Each soundscape page has sliders so you can vary the individual component sounds. So, if you don’t like listening to the flow of water trickling, but prefer bird songs, want more tweeting and less cuckoo, you got it. It’s awesome.
Competitions and Awards
On beginning to gather a list of writing competitions, I very quickly realised it would grow too long and unwieldy to include on this page.
Especially if I include short stories, and poetry as well as playwriting competitions. So, I have been adding the Competitions along with a few short details on a spreadsheet, which I will link to below. Also, it is easy for you to sort, to find what kind of event you are looking for.
Go to the individual competition organisers’ specific web pages for full details on how to enter each competition and for up-to-date deadline dates, entry fees and rules of eligibility.
Please note that my aim is to ensure that all competitions/opportunities I add provide a reasonable reward for a writer’s efforts, should they be chosen. Please let me know if this is not the case and I will remove the competition from the list.
Cold Turkey Writer
Cold Turkey Software
This software turns your PC into a simple typewriter for the time duration that you set, or until you reach your required number of words. You can’t use your computer for anything else until you meet your goal. A little frustrating, but it works.
Into the Woods by John Yorke
I picked this book up on a whim from a local book shop because I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the writing resources available on the internet and I couldn’t choose where to focus. This turned out to be an accidentally amazing and invaluable buy.
It pretty much sums up all of the information I was reading on playwriting on the internet but without all the clutter and waffle in between. I’ve owned the book for less than a year but it’s already looking battered and coffee-covered and I still haven’t read it from cover to cover yet. I keep dipping in and out of it as, when I read it, it really helps inspire me and gets me focused on my writing.
I re-read sections of it when I start writing something new and when I feel stuck and it never seems to fail to get me writing again.
If you are looking to, or are already working professionally in the UK as a writer, then you will probably already know about (or need to know about) these.
The Writer’s Guild is the first port of call if you have questions relating to your business as a writer. They have an amazing page of writing resources that is accessible to everyone, not just members, over on their website. They are a wonderful community and have regular workshops and webinars for training and information as well as Q&As with writers who are already working successfully in the industry. If you have questions about contracts, they are the people to contact. They also have various tiers of membership, depending on where you are in your writing career.
The ALCS collects royalties for writers’ work, translators and adapters. For their books, scripts, articles, chapters, essays and poems. And even visual contributions made to magazines and journals. So, if anyone is using your creative work, the ALCS ensures that you get paid the royalties you are due. Lifetime membership is only £36, which the ALCS only take from you once they have collected the first payment for you.