Nancy: A Few of My Favorite (Writerly) Things

Nancy's Favorites Bookshelf

When I need some writing inspiration, sometimes I end up in front of my bookshelf of favorites. Here I keep books from some of my favorite authors, some of whom are friends, some of whom I’ve never met, all of whom inspire me in one way or another. Other times, I venture into that vast wilderness known as the internet. But while I can get distracted by videos of cute cats or Ruby the Wombat as much as the next writer, I do try to use my worldwide-web access and mad Google skills for writerly good. So in addition to Eight Ladies Writing (I never miss a post as they are awesome ;-)!) here are some of my favorite inspiring internet sites.

Argh Ink – This is the blog home of Jennifer Crusie, writer and writing teacher extraordinaire. I discovered Jenny not through her NYT bestselling books, but through a blog called He Said/She Said that she did many moons ago with her then writing partner Bob Mayer. It was the most amazing master class in writing I could have imagined, and led me to read their collaborative efforts as well as many of Jenny’s solo books. As you’ve probably gathered from other writing posts, Jenny is our teacher in the McDaniel program, but she doesn’t limit her writing knowledge to her class students. She shares it with the world on her blog, covering everything from the writing choices in screenplays and Dr. Who episodes to deep ruminations on the conflict box. Checkout the archives for topics related to your most burning writing questions and you’re bound to spend the morning or afternoon or day reading the answers you’ll find there.

Terribleminds Blog – This is the rather amazing blog site of writer Chuck Wendig. In addition to being ungodly prolific, Wendig is totally immersed in the writing world and talks about it in always entertaining ways. From his Flash Fiction Fridays and 25 Things About… posts to his crowdsourced surveys of the current fiction marketplace, Chuck will make you think deep thoughts about writing and will have you smiling while you do so.

Magical Words – The Magical Words site is a blog written by a group of writers (sounds familiar), in this case, many of whom write or have written in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. The writing hosts and their occasional guests share their thoughts and wisdom on writing topics, the writer’s journey, and upcoming or just released books.

750 Words – This site’s name is startlingly descriptive: go here to write 750 per day, preferably every day. You can write blog posts, journal entries, scene/book notes, full-blown scenes, shopping lists, whatever words you want! Your words are kept in a private account, for your eyes only. And if racking up 750 fresh, shiny new words per day isn’t reward enough for you, there are badges! That’s right, electronic symbols of honor that will grace your account and announce to you (and anyone who chooses to follow your progress) that you are AWESOME. Everyone gets an egg badge just for showing up on day 1. After that, you can accrue badges like the flamingo, cheetah, bat, and more for feats like writing your 750 words multiple days  in a row, at a certain time or without interruption for a number of days, etc. Never underestimate what a writer will do for a hamster badge (I’m coming for you, hamster!).

NaNoWriMo – This is the granddaddy of word accumulation sites. But NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated), is more than a website. It’s an annual happening, and as luck would have it, it’s just about to happen again! Every November, more than 100,000 (yes, with 5 zeroes!) writers sign up to spend 30 days attempting to grind out 50,000 (yes, with 4 zeroes!) words. You have to hit the 50k word mark by midnight your local time on Nov 30 in order to ‘win’. But this is definitely a case of winning just by participating. Whether you meet up with writing buddies who later become critique partners, attend local write-ins (held in locations around the globe!), or visit the online forums for virtual tea (and wine and hard stuff) and sympathy, it’s quite likely you’ll finish more words in November by joining the NaNo community than you would have without it.

Now that I’ve told you about my favorite writer-inspiring websites, I’m ready to get my daily words on the page! So it’s your turn. What are your favorite writer or reader websites?

8 thoughts on “Nancy: A Few of My Favorite (Writerly) Things

  1. LOL, damn you Nancy . . . I’m going to spend all afternoon on the internet, looking at these sites! (Ruby the Wombat is so, so cute!)

    750 Words sounds really good — I might try that in December. NaNo is something I should check out today — get signed up and ready for November 1. And Magical Words? I’m heading there next.

    (-: On the geeky side, I really, really like the Merriam-Webster website. It’s a great place to pinpoint a word, or find a synonym. But you can also spend a lot of time with the articles. They used to have great mini-lectures by the editors; maybe that’s still on the video. And isn’t it interesting that the most looked-up word this week is “askew”?

    I also loved “He Wrote, She Wrote.”

    • You should definitely give 750 words a try when you get the chance. One of the neat features they offer is an email reminder to write your words. I think I need to sign up for that as I wrote this morning but forgot to do it there to get credit for it. So I will have to write more words tonight – see how motivational it is? 🙂

      If you (or anyone else on the site) join/s NaNo, be sure to ‘buddy’ me. I am Nancy Y in the Maryland region. We can motivate each other!

      • I will buddy you! I need all the motivation I can get. Magical Words, by the way, was magical. I’ve read several books by Mindy Klasky, and her post was also immediately helpful for my career planning struggles this month.

        Oh, and another vote for Smart Bitches. I’m curiously fond of their HABO segments, where someone is looking for a book, the title of which they’ve forgotten.

  2. Here’s another vote of appreciation for Argh Ink, and a sigh of nostalgia for He Wrote, She Wrote – I wish it was still online. I don’t know why I’d never heard of Chuck Wendig before we talked about him in class, his blog has fantastic content and never a dull moment.

    Author and former literary agent Nathan Bransford is great too – all killer, no filler, and highly entertaining (

    And lastly, I’m a fan of all things romance: I love the reviews, news and comments at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books ( and Billy Mernit’s screenwriting blog Living The Romantic Comedy (

    • All excellent sites, Jilly! And another agent site I used to visit more regularly is the Kristin Nelson’s blog at Lately I’ve been more focused on writing blogs more than industry-focused ones, but Bransford and Nelson are great at giving writing advice on their sites as well.

  3. I agree with you on Jenny’s, Chuck’s, and Nathan’s sites. All really good. I’ve also picked up some great nuggets from Kristen Lamb’s blog:

    I’ve thought about doing NaNoWriMo, but you’re supposed to write something new, not tack on to what you’re already working on. Does that really make a difference? I don’t care so much about “winning” from their perspective, but it’d be nice to have the support and encouragement to do a couple thousand words a day.

    • You can join me in being a NaNo Rebel! There are lots of us who are adding to existing works or writing a number of shorter pieces to get up to the 50k mark, as long as the words are new. I will be working on my WIP and hope to get ahead of schedule for the workshops.


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