10 Free writing resources that will improve your writing skills
These writing resources will help you become a better writer whatever you want to write. It seems that writing is really about recycling ideas and words and whether you are writing a headline, poem, book, thesis or blog there are not too many original ideas around.
So give up the ideal of coming up with an original idea for everything you write and concentrate on finding a way to write quickly and efficiently by using the ideas of others and putting your own slant on it.
It seems that there are only seven basic plots and even someone as renowned as Shakespeare stole his plots from Greek and Roman plays. So use your creativity by taking existing plots or information and find new perspectives, adding your own ideas and inspiration to produce something that is unique.
By reading and writing and using the writing resources, together with others that you will find throughout this site, you will become a better writer.
1) The Economist English Style Guide
This guide is used by the journalists at the Economist and is packed with hints on how to use the English language.
On their site you will also find a language blog, Johnson, where you will also find many old discussions on their house style.
2) The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.
I this on-line copy of this classic reference book is a must-have for any conscientious writer. It gives the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
This site gives you various options in exploring the common errors in the usage of the English language:
• There is a text-only version for people who want to read it as if it were a book
• Read an entry a day on their Facebook page
• You can read the daily entry on twitter
• You can go to the blog
• Get a FREE calendar.
4) Visuwords Graphical Dictionary
This site lets you look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. You can enter words into the search box to look them up or double-click a node to expand the tree. It’s a dictionary, it’s a thesaurus and it’s great for writers, journalists, students, teachers, and artists.
Visuwords™ uses Princeton University’s WordNet an open source database built by University students and language researchers.
Wordcounter ranks the most frequently used words in a body of text. You can use this to see which words you are over using or to find keywords in a document.
Copywriting is the art of using the right words to put your message across to get people to pay attention and buy your product.
This site will teach you how to increase your sales and profits. You will need this craft as soon as you have finished your master piece!
7) OneLook Dictionary Search
On this search engine you can:
• Find words and phrases that start with a word
• Find words and phrases that end with a word
• Find words that start with certain letters and end with certain letters
• Find adjectives, related words and concepts
• Find phrases that contain certain words.
8) OneLook Reverse Dictionary Search
This reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word.
Just type it into the search box and hit the “Find words” button. Keep it short to get the best results. In most cases you’ll get back a list of related terms with the best matches shown first.
9) WordWeb Thesaurus and Dictionary
This is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopaedia. Features of the free version include:
• Definitions and synonyms
• Related words
• Audio pronunciations
• Text pronunciations.
Join the millions of people from all over the world who use this software.
10) Writing Courses
You will be surprised at what you can find at learningpath.org! Free online creative writing courses offered by top universities and educational websites. This is certainly a good way to improve your writing skills.
Well we hope that you find these 10 writing resources helpful in your quest to improve your English writing skills. There are many more free and paid resources available and you will find them on other pages of this site. In fact the array of free writing resources is mind boggling so we have resisted the temptation to put more of them on this page as it is so easy to get side tracked from your writing project.