Sunday, May 22, 2011
As a life-long learner in a town where the library is awesome during business hours and absent at night, I am thrilled that the Internet is always open.
“Wait!” Yelled Harold Humbugger, the writer in the back of the room. “I thought the web was a soul-crushing magnet that lulled you into a false sense of security, draining your time and energy as it saps the creativity from your fingertips?”
No, you’re thinking of that sci-fi movie. The web is the easiest way to stay current on trends in:
· Writing Craft
· Author Branding
· Marketing & PR
· Social Media
“Easy?” Harold pulled down his cowboy hat until it covered his graying hair and shaded his eyes from the glare of the monitor. “How can riding through a wasteland of information be easy?” His spurs jangled as he stood.
I held out my hand and guided him back to the mouse.
You wanted to write about your adventures. Before your ride off, you may want to check into these blogs and websites. They each have a slightly different focus, many have won awards and together they represent great advice on writing as craft, the business of writing (industry info, branding, marketing, etc.), contest & conference listings and some darn good examples of what it takes to be a successful writer in the electronic age.
Poised and ready to click on the first link, Harold pulled his hand away and looked up at me. “What if I lose the trail?”
Relax. I have just the thing — it’s called i-Google. You herd all the RSS feeds into your own custom dashboard.
“Like a corral for blogs?” Harold asked.
Exactly! You wrangle the articles into an instant e-newsletter. You can even design the masthead and read the blogs like your would your favorite online newspaper. Check this out.
Harold watched me scroll across the screen.
I've also added a thesaurus, translator and other useful gadgets to my dashboard. Oh yeah - and this advice is all free! No magazine subscriptions necessary and no trees harmed in the process.
“What if my eyes get tired of reading?” Harold took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
Don’t worry; we’ll take a peek into some video and podcast research tools next time. For now, let’s enjoy some great articles from the comfort of home.
Have you ever felt like Harold? What online resources have helped you become a better writer?