Something I often forget to mention is what resources I use to both continue to improve my craft and to keep on track. Improving is a process and you should never feel that you are “done.” Authors who think their writing is perfect are lying to themselves. There is always room to improve.
One of the most invaluable resources for me is podcasts. I used to spend a lot of time on the road (I still do actually) and since I haven’t yet found a way to write while I drive, I listen to podcasts.
Writing Excuses is an amazing resource for that. Their podcasts are short enough that you can finish several over even a moderate commute, which is great for getting your brain thinking about things like plot, character, and story arc. (Their byline, by the way, is “Fifteen Minutes Long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart”) They’re also great because not only are they fantastically intelligent writers, but they’re fun to listen to and they won’t put you to sleep.
The Secrets is another fantastic resource. Micheal A. Stackpole is not just a great writer, but he spends a lot of time helping other people to become great writers. (I also wish I had his voice, I’d do my own book narration then and save myself a bundle of cash) His podcasts are a bit longer and far more methodical, but they’re a good listen and if you aren’t really sure what you’re doing or feeling overwhelmed by the story you’re trying to tell, it’s a good place to start.
The best part about both of these is: they’re free! Yes, I know, amazing right? You can listen to hours of great advice, some of which is guaranteed to cause you to want to go write something right now. and you don’t have to pay a thing.
Next week I’ll go into some other resources I use to improve my writing craft.