Thursday, May 20, 2010

Writer's Resources

Today's writers have access to so many resources their predecessors never had. In part due to the internet, we can look up how to do just about anything. Research is a snap with online search tools. There are programs to help us brainstorm and organize. Podcasts, videos and webinars give us direct ways to learn how to do everything from being creative to creating our own websites. They're often vital things today's writer needs to learn, especially with marketing and creating a brand for oneself. The computer alone, makes revision and editing turn around times very quick.

There's a downside to all these wonderful elements we need to be cautious of. It's easy to rely on the technology too much and grow lazy. We've all been there: squeezed for time and so run a spell check, then send the story off instead of reading it through. Then we find those embarrassing typos not caught by the program because the spelling passed through due to the misspelling being one of an actual word, or the right spelling except it's for a different meaning.

It's also easy to rely on research found online but skip checking the credibility of the information. With the internet so open to anyone, along with the freedom to express our interests, it comes with the freedom to post heresay. Opinions are fine but not a good thing to base a crucial story point on. Just because it's in print or on the web, doesn't mean it's true.

There is one invaluable thing today's technology gives us. The ability to reach out to other writers. Through online chats like The Writer's Chatroom and conferences like The Muse Online Writing Conference or CoyoteCon we can share experiences, learn the ins and outs of publishing, share those research resources we did find valuable, tell one another about new markets we've discovered. More than anything else, we get the opportunity to spend a little time talking with other people who understand this craziness of writing. The best support you'll ever get is from other writers because they know why you write. They get what it's all about.

One tip I'd like to suggest. Always, always use your full name when you post on chats. The same thing goes for usernames on forums. You're building up a reputation online as you go. Why make it that much harder for people to recognize it's you when they see a promotion for your book? Tell them who you are with your email addy, your username, your login every time you meet them. In the long run it will benefit you.

I have to thank Audrey from Writer's Chatroom for teaching me that advice. I've always been glad she did.

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