**This week’s guest blog is by Nikolas Baron of Grammarly. Enjoy!**
In popular culture, many metaphors portray crutches in a negative light. She uses her humor as a crutch to mask her insecurity. When he is stressed, he uses alcohol as a crutch. However, one friend broke a leg in a surfing accident. For months, he hobbled around on a crutch. This device was instrumental in his recovery. Crutches remove pressure and weight from the legs, allowing the lower body to recuperate from injury. Despite whatever metaphorical connotation crutches carry, crutches serve a valuable purpose under the right contexts. As a writer, there is no shame in using a crutch from time to time. In fact, if my friend had ignored doctor’s orders and forgone his crutches, he might have been permanently disabled. Likewise, you can waste time and energy if you do not use the tools available online for writers. Here are six supportive websites that will help you with each step you take on your writing journey.
- Learning the Ropes
Each writer has a unique tale about how they broke into the writing business. For some, it was intentional and methodical. They went to college, majored in Creative Writing or Journalism, and landed a writing job. Other authors stumbled into the career. They wrote a short story or poem for fun. Its enthusiastic reception by their friends encouraged them. They sent it off for publication. Voila, almost overnight, they became a published author. Glen C. Strathy, a freelance business writer, hosts a website entitled How to Write a Book Now. In his article, “How to Become a Writer: Where to Start,” you will find a lot of advice on how to learn the writing process and begin walking the path to publication. If you want to focus on a particular genre of writing, click on the links that specify novel writing, plays, or non-fiction.
Bubbl.us is a cool interactive tool to brainstorm before writing a manuscript. After entering your main topic in the center bubble, you add secondary details in smaller, side bubbles. It helps to see your ideas in a visual format. You can save your work on the site or print it out to consult later. This website is not essential to the process, but it is fun. It is a great option for those days when you need to do something a little groovy to get yourself motivated to write!
- Writer’s Block
Speaking of motivation, what websites can you lean on for inspiration? I found two helpful tools.
For a momentary distraction and a little chuckle, try 911 Writer’s Block. Occasionally, all that is needed to lift the brain fog is a little distraction. For a more serious case of writer’s block, I found an article that approaches the problem from a myriad of angles. Read Gerald Lynch’s “10 Essential Applications for Authors: Software and Tools to Banish Writer’s Block for Good.” http://www.techdigest.tv/2013/05/10_essential_ap.html?pic=3 – gallery
- Proofreading and Plagiarism
Proofreading is an unavoidable step; there is no jumping over it. I work for Grammarly, a company that provides online proofreading services. As a bonus, the program also operates a plagiarism checker. If you use a ghostwriter or a creative editor, you can check their work for authenticity. Even with your own writing, you can ensure that you have not unintentionally reused a phrase from a source in a form that is too close to the original.
- Revision/ Editing
Once you have written the manuscript, it is essential to revise it for flow. Beyond grammar, you need to verify claims and assertions. In fiction, you must examine the characters, the storyline, and the conclusion for reader satisfaction. Will the reader be convinced? Does everything make sense? As the author, you have intimate knowledge of the elements of your story. An outside opinion from an editor can be especially revealing. Most writers agree that personal recommendations yield the best editors. If you are not buddies with any experienced writers, search the directory found at the Editorial Freelancers Association website.
The writing process is a burden without the proper support. If you are still limping a bit, find which tools work for you. The choices are abundant.
Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.