Last week Mary Jaksch announced the winners of Write to Done’s sixth annual Top Ten Blogs for Writers award. It’s an excellent list featuring some blogs I already read and some that I will happily explore in 2012. I recommend checking it out.
I was disappointed, however, that many of the writing blogs I count as my favorites did not make the final cut. So, to wrap up my year here on Live to Write-Write to Live, I’d like to share with you my top ten blogs for writers. They include blogs about the business of writing, the craft of writing, and everything in between. I hope you discover some new voices to follow and enjoy stepping into the spaces they create as much as I do.
Here’s to a very happy, creative, and productive New Year. May you write often and with much passion. May you take your love of the written word to the next level, whatever that means for you.
My Top Ten Blogs for Writers (in no particular order – I love them all equally.)
Ghostwriter Dad: Sean Platt’s blog on writing is one of the most consistently helpful and “meaty” writing blogs in my RSS feed. The blog’s tag line says it all (as a good tag line should): “Helping good writers make a great living online.” I am always impressed by the depth of his posts and find myself sharing nearly everything he writes (which probably makes me look like a hanger-on, but that’s ok). From the Ghostwriter Dad About page: “We publish tips, tricks and helpful guides to assist you in finding your voice and your potential. If you write and wish to amplify online attention, our friendly advice and warm personalities are a perfect fit.” I love that Sean writes in a variety of niches – marketing, children’s books, poetry, fiction. He is also a pioneer, with his writing partner, David Wright, in digital publishing. Their serial novel Yesterday’s Gone has done very well on Amazon and inspires other authors to explore new ways of getting their work out into the world and making it profitable. (On Twitter as @seanplatt)
Justine Musk: “… Because you’re a creative badass.” Justine Musk is my writing blog girl crush. She is a smart and passionate writer who has no trouble putting herself out there and taking you along for the ride. Each time I go to my reader to scan my “must read” blogs, I cross my fingers that there will be something new on Tribal Writer. Justine doesn’t post as frequently as some of the other writers in this list, but each of her posts is worth waiting for and the pauses between publishing give me time to chew thoughtfully on the ideas she presents. And her posts cover a wide range of ideas that travel far beyond the boundaries of “just” writing. If titles like “the art of being an ambitious female” or “the art of the creative pause (+ not being Amazon’s bitch)” or “10 reasons why pursuing your creative work is actually highly productive (+ not selfish or self-indulgent)” intrigue you, Justine’s blog is for you. (On Twitter as @justinemusk)
Storyfix: I am forever in Wendy Thomas’ debt for introducing me to Larry Brooks’ work on Storyfix. I do not have any formal training in fiction writing and previously worked on projects more or less in the dark – feeling my way along as best I could. Discovering Brooks’ writings on story structure was like suddenly hitting the light switch. More than that, it was like being given the super power of x-ray vision – I could now see inside a story to learn what makes it tick. I love the way Brooks uses examples to make his concepts easy to understand and “see” in the real world. I have since purchased several of Brooks’ excellent e-books and consider them my “bibles” of story creation. I believe that every creative endeavor has a life of its own, but it’s good to have a solid framework in which to evolve. Storyfix arms a writer with everything she needs to ensure that her story is built on a strong (and saleable!) foundation. (On Twitter as @storyfix)
Neil Gaiman’s Journal: I am an unabashed and unapologetic Neil Gaiman groupie. My beau and I saw him live at the Portsmouth Music Hall last fall and I can tell you from first-hand experience that the man is the closest thing the literary world has to a rock star … a very humble, quirky, and human rock star. I have read many of Gaiman’s novels and stories and admire both his imagination and his craftsmanship. From satires like Good Omens (which I’m currently re-“reading” as an audio book and which was co-written with the amazing Terry Pratchett) to epics like American Gods to urban fantasies like Neverwhere to children’s books like The Graveyard Book and Odd and the Frost Giants, Gaiman always weaves a dark magic into his stories that is at once fantastic and a reflection of our “real” world. His blog is a chronicle of his travels, his work, and his random thoughts. It often includes answers to fan questions and links to the sites of other artists and writers that Neil admires. I love getting a peek inside the mind and days of one of my favorite authors. (On Twitter as @neilhimself)
Men with Pens: I was a fan of this blog even before I read the post Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants and learned that the author was a woman using a male pen name. It’s quite a story and one I can relate to a divorced single mom. Men with Pens is actually a business that provides businesses with copywriting and website design, but the blog is full of great tips on writing and marketing that are applicable to all types of businesses – even ones based in fiction writing. (Yes, fiction writing is a business and needs to be handled like one.) This is a nuts and bolts blog that will give you straight talk about how to use copywriting techniques to your advantage and also give you some inside tips on what makes good web design work. (On Twitter as @menwithpens)
The Domino Project: Seth Godin is, perhaps, a bit overdone these days. The man is everywhere. I’m not always a huge fan, but no one can deny that the man has had a big impact on several industries. These days, with the Domino Project, he’s making some exciting new inroads into New Publishing. The blog posts are, in Seth’s trademark style, usually very brief and to-the-point. He poses interesting questions that get the writer/publisher in me thinking about new ways of approaching the business side of the writing life and I love seeing what other people are doing on this new playing field that involves digital publishing and other forms of getting words to people. (On Twitter as @ProjectDomino)
Write to Done: Even though they didn’t pick my favorites for their top ten list, I still read Write to Done (Mary Jaksch’s blog of “unmissable articles on writing”) regularly. The Write to Done posts, written by Jaksch and a bevy of talented guest writers, cover a wide range of topics from the writing craft to marketing and blogging to productivity and inspiration. On the About page, Jaksch likens the blog to “a comfortable roadside inn on the writer’s path where we can find companionship, encouragement, and inspiration to become the brilliant writer hidden within!” Sounds inviting, right? (On Twitter as @writetodone and @maryjaksch )
Erin’s Emporium of Discount Dreams and Well-Worn Wonders: Erin Morgenstern’s blog is the only other author blog on my list. I read Morgenstern’s break out novel, The Night Circus, this fall and fell in love with her story, characters, style, and the whole world of the Cirque des Reves. I can barely wait to read her next book (whatever it might be), but until then I have her blog to hold me over. Erin’s Emporium is a lovely mixture of personal journal and story snippets. Morgenstern’s voice is very intimate and approachable as she writes about her first experiences being on tour for her book, coming home, hearing from fans, and so on. The blog is also home to her series of “flax-golden tales” – a collection of very short story snippets that are one of my favorite ways to inject a little magic and whimsy into my day. This, in my opinion, is an author blog done right – it gives me a window into Morgenstern’s creativity, experiences, and she also manages to weave in introductions to other artists and writers (I’ve already purchased art from Leontine Greenberg, bookmarked the Etsy shop of Mudstuffing Pottery, and added 1Q84 to my reading wish list. I love a blog full of discovery! (On Twitter as @erinmorgenstern)
Book-a-Day Almanac: Anita Silvey is one of the most respected aficionados of children’s literature and also a very warm and charming woman with a big heart and a true love for the magic of books that invite children to explore the world and their own imaginations. She considers each post on her Book-a-Day Almanac blog her “a daily love letter to a book or author.” I had the pleasure of interviewing Silvey for a post on BabyCenter that I called, appropriately, Kids Books – Everything You Need to Know. I turn to Silvey’s blog to discover overlooked classics and new classics. As a former editor of the Horn Book review journal and the publisher of children’s books at Houghton Mifflin, Silvey knows her books. I trust her opinion implicitly and have been rewarded over and over with literary treasures beyond my imagining. (On Twitter as @anitasilvey)
Live to Write-Write to Live: Finally, I couldn’t have a top ten list without including this blog. It may seem odd to include the blog I write for on the list, but I can honestly say that I learn a great deal from my fellow bloggers here on Live to Write-Write to Live. With such a diverse range of experience and interests, there’s always a new perspective to take or a different opinion to explore. I’m grateful and tickled to be included in this group of wonderful writers and so happy that our little blog has begun to grow a readership of wonderful and generous readers like you. (On Twitter as @nhwn)
So … that’s my list for 2011. I wish you happy reading and writing in 2012. I hope you explore some of the blogs above and find new inspiration, ideas, tips, tricks, and camaraderie.
Enjoy and a very happy New Year to you!
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Image Credit: Angelie Pernas