The act of writing is something different to every writer—it is a joy, a challenge, a job, a dream, a calling. But no matter the reason to write, every writer seeks to improve their skills. Of the many writing resources, these are the ones I find myself recommending and returning to most often.
This list is designed to help you get your best content out of your brain and onto the page so it can be polished and, ultimately, published.
The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
This book offers a wealth of information in an accessible and engaging way. It focuses on how to choose and use style, understand syntax to improve prose, and write clearly and coherently. Pinker—a professor, cognitive scientist, and linguist—includes examples and cartoons to keep the material easy to understand and entertaining.
Bookmark this site—you’ll likely be using it often. Grammar Girl covers everything from writing tips to complex grammar questions in an accessible way by providing memory tricks and helpful examples. Covering topics such as verbing nouns, punctuation usage, correct word choice, and much more, there is always something for even the most experienced writer to learn. And if you need a new podcast, look no further. Named “2017 Winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards,” the Grammar Girl podcast is a valuable addition to your listening list.
Though it is a journalism-focused organization, Poynter offers a number of classes appropriate for any writer. Deepen your understanding of grammar, fine-tune your fact-checking skills, learn multimedia storytelling basics, and study the art of revising your own work through online, in-person, and webinar courses.
Scrivener is a word processing program that helps writers organize and manage their documents, research, ideas, and notes all in one place. Its fluid, easy-to-use interface supports many different writing styles: you can outline first, write piecemeal and then sort, organize ideas based on research, and so on. Once your content is ready, Scrivener exports it into established formats like PDF and Microsoft Word. It’s available for Windows and Mac and as an iOS app. The license is $45 and a free trial for 30 days of use is available to all new users.
Confident with your ability to weave a compelling story, but sometimes shaky with subject-verb agreement or dangling modifiers? This free writing app scans your text for grammatical mistakes and not only prompts you to correct them, but explains why so you can learn for the future. (Also check out: Hemingway, Cliche Finder)