It usually happens at about your fifth cup of coffee, the 11th time pacing the perimeter of your home office, or the second sleepless night spent tossing and turning (probably from all that coffee-drinking):
That dreaded moment when you realize you’ll never have anything interesting to write about again, you’ll never find any new clients, and what were you ever thinking when you chose writing as a career???
That’s when it’s time to calm down, brew yourself a nice cup of herbal tea, and turn to the one friend who never lets you down in times of crisis:
Yes, I’m talking about the internet. You know the internet – the source of endless Trump memes, celebrity plastic-surgery-gone-bad horror stories, mind-numbing PIKO-TARO music videos, and of course, who could forget the viral pics of the proud cat dad or spiders celebrating Christmas?
If the internet can put up with all your most embarrassing obsessions, why would it turn its back on you in your moment of need as a writing professional?
It wouldn’t, and here are just a handful of ways the internet can help you come up with new ideas, create better content and even build your own blog so you can attract new clients:
The Mother of All Outlets
If you’ve been a freelance writer for any time, you’re probably familiar with the annual print version of the Writer’s Digest and its huge lists of marketplaces for peddling your wares, but guess what?
The website has plenty to offer too.
From quick writing tips to more structured workshops to copious listings of publishers in just about every market imaginable, Writer’s Digest offers lots of tips and guidance for creating, marketing and (fingers crossed) selling your work.
Plus, there’s an active community of writers ready to provide support and feedback, really informative editors’ blogs and other free (and paid) resources.
The site focuses a lot on fiction writing, but there are resources for nonfiction writers too.
Questions about copyright? Liability concerns? Check out the legal guide from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), whose tagline is “Defending Your Rights in the Digital World.”
The guide focuses on the often-murky legal waters surrounding blogging, and while it makes clear the site is no substitute for actual legal guidance from a lawyer, there’s plenty of information here to help you understand some of the more basic (and even somewhat complex) issues that could affect your blogging career.
Style Guides and Tips
Sure, you may know AP style inside and out (or at least, you think you do), but there are plenty of other styles ready and waiting to trip you up at every turn.
Before plunking down the cash for a digital or hard copy of The Chicago Manual of Style, one of the APA style guides, the MLA Handbook or even the AP Stylebook, check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) or try a Google search for one-off projects and specific rules and guidelines.
All the style sites linked about offer resources beyond the guides, so even if you don’t plan on purchasing a guide, the sites are still worth checking out.
Another good site to check out: Grammar Girl’s “quick and dirty tips” are a treasure trove of usage and style information (and more), and it’s all written in an accessible (and even entertaining) style.
Growing Your Own Blog
You spend plenty of grueling hours helping others expand and popularize their blogs and businesses – what about yours?
Whether you’re looking for new markets or you need tips on how to improve (or start) your own blog from scratch, Copyblogger and Problogger are great places to start.
Also check out Hubspot’s “100 Tips & Tricks” post here (and while you’re there. consider signing up for their free inbound marketing certification or content marketing programs – they’re free).
Performancing offers a quick list of 27 blog-building tips here. (Yes, it’s about a decade old, but still worth a read.)
Research and Statistics
Coming up with fresh ideas can be the hardest part of any writing gig. “Googling” your topic and clicking on “news” is a simple way to read about the latest developments and newsworthy topics in just about any industry, and it’s also a good way to find ideas to pitch.
Or check out PopUrls, which bills itself as the “Mother of News Aggregators.” For more quick inspiration, try browsing Infoplease, a combination atlas, encyclopedia and dictionary with plenty of other free tools, including a “day in history” feature.
If you’re the analytical type, a mind-mapping tool like MindMeister might be useful in helping you plan out content, especially for longer pieces (both nonfiction and fiction).
The full version requires a paid subscription, but there’s a free Chrome extension with basic features here.
Finally, Creative Commons offers a wealth of source material to use as inspiration or as part of your completed content (as long as you provide proper attribution). You can search the collections here. Plus, the site offers free tools and guidance for licensing your work for use by others.
Of course, there are dozens of other great sites and online tools, and they’re all at your fingertips. So put that Dude Perfect Water Bottle Flip Edition video on pause for just a moment (or two), and check out some of the resources above.
Then maybe add your own favorites in the comments below – it just takes a few minutes, so you’ll still have plenty of time left over for your daily dose of BatDad.
Karen Z is a passionate researcher and talented writer here at WriterAccess. Easy to work with, and she always maintains such a positive outlook.
Not your typical writer pitch hm? That’s because at WriterAccess we develop long lasting relationships with our writers, and many of them have become like family.
We take immense pride in matching our clients to their “right writers.” Writers that solve a major problem for them, make their lives easier, and help them grow their business through engaging, informative content.
See how our services can help you, and as always, thank you for reading!