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Writer Resources

Free Writing Cheat Sheet

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Writers have been debating the Mike Shea‘s handy cheat sheet for writers this week.

The “Writing Tips” PDF collects George Orwell‘s writing rules, Edward Tufte‘s presentation rules, Strunk and White’s principles of composition and Robert Heinlein‘s writing rules in a single page you can keep on your writing desk.

What do you think? Do these writing rules help or hinder writers? Shea has published some helpful tutorials on eBook publishing as well.

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Finish Your Book with Mediabistro’s Self-Publishing Intensive

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Struggling to finish your book?

No matter where you live, Mediabistro has a new online course designed to guide independent authors through the final and most important steps of the publishing process.

Smashwords co-founder Mark Coker, bestselling self-published author Melody Anne and WeGrowMedia.com founder  Dan Blank  will help you complete your book in Mediabistro’s Self-Publishing Intensive.

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Narratively Seeks Storytellers Of All Media

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Narratively, the year-old New York-centric website, consists of writers, photographers and reporters who want to share in-depth human interest stories with the world.

The site values long form writing, and instead of sections or columns, they have weekly themes. As editorial director Brendan Spiegel says, “Our motto is: Any way you want to tell your story, we can do that.” All of the site’s content is generated by freelancers:

[The pub] has earned its reputation on the long-form text, [but] storytellers of all media are encouraged to pitch Narratively. Photo essays, short films, audio stories and comic boards are all game… In Narratively’s first comic text story, “The Real Mermaid,” an illustrator told a narrative non-fiction story about Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade.

For more details on pitching, read: How To Pitch: Narratively.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Charles Stross: ‘I Want Microsoft Word To Die’

strossDo you wish the publishing industry used some other standard besides Microsoft Word?

Novelist Charles Stross published an anti-Microsoft Word manifesto recently, inspiring debate among writers with a revolutionary thesis: “I want Microsoft Word to die.” Check it out:

It imposes its own concept of how a document should be structured upon the writer, a structure best suited to business letters and reports (the tasks for which it is used by the majority of its users). Its proofing tools and change tracking mechanisms are baroque, buggy, and inadequate for true collaborative document preparation; its outlining and tagging facilities are piteously primitive compared to those required by a novelist or thesis author: and the procrustean dictates of its grammar checker would merely be funny if the ploddingly sophomoric business writing style it mandates were not so widespread.

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Oxford Reference Library Free During Government Shutdown

To help scholars during the federal government shutdown, Oxford University Press has offered readers free access to hundreds of titles in the Oxford Reference Library.

Above, we’ve embedded a video tutorial about the reference tool. Check it out:

For a two week period, the entire Oxford Reference site will be freely accessible as millions of scholars, students, and researchers are cut off from crucial tools during the U.S. Government shutdown. NEW USERS: Start exploring over 125 titles in Oxford Quick Reference as well as nearly 200 titles in Oxford Reference Library by entering the following information into the lefthand “Subscriber Login” box on the homepage: Username: tryoxfordreference Password: govshutdown

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How To Submit To The Best American Nonrequired Reading Series

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The Best American Nonrequired Reading is out this week, collecting “the country’s best fiction, journalism, essays, comics, and humor” for readers of all ages. Below, we’ve collected all the information you need to submit your work to the anthology.

A group of high school students in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Bay Area help choose the stories and edit alongside Dave Eggers. The editorial team also includes managing editor Daniel Gumbiner and assistant managing editors Henry W. Leung and Jia TolentinoCheck it out:

The Best American Nonrequired Reading committee —comprising students from dozens of different high schools —meets nearly every week of the year to read, debate, and compile this offbeat but vital anthology. Want to say something to us? Contact the BANR committee at nonrequired [@] gmail [dot] com. We’ll read everything you send us.

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Free Writing Pacemaker Creates Custom Writing Schedule

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 Do you struggle to meet your writing goals? Try the free Pacemaker tool online, a way to experiment with different writing schedules and keep track of your work.

Software developer Sarah Williams created the writing tool. Simply visit Pacemaker online, choose your word count, intensity level and weekend writing plans–the program will generate a customized writing schedule you can follow.

You can approach your writing target in various ways to suit your style : Steady – write the same amount of words every day. Try It. Rising to the Challenge – start off small and increase your word count quota every day. Try It. Biting the Bullet – bite off large chunks of your writing goal at the beginning of your schedule so that the pressure is off at the end of your schedule. Try It. Random – each day is a surprise, you may need to complete 5 words or 500! Whether heavy or light, you’ll reach your word count goal at the end of your specified schedule. Try It.

3 Ways To Build a Healthy Writing Routine

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Earlier this week, we linked to some Affordable Care Act resources for freelance writers.

Health insurance is a major step for writers, but you also need to stay healthy. And the writing lifestyle: sitting, thinking and more sitting, can be dangerous for your health.

Below, we’ve collected three ways you can plan for a healthier writing routine next week.

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Count Your Rejection Letters Proudly

How many times have you been rejected this week? Maybe we all need to push our comfort levels a little bit farther.

As you can see by the photo embedded above, one determined writer posted a rejection letter from The Paris Review along with a quote from writer and investor Chris Dixon: “If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.” You can read more from Dixon and get some context on the quote at this link:

My most useful career experience was about eight years ago when I was trying to break into the world of VC-backed startups. I applied to hundreds of jobs: low-level VC roles, startups jobs, even to big tech companies. I got rejected from every single one … The reason this period was so useful was that it helped me develop a really thick skin. I came to realize that employers weren’t really rejecting me as a person or on my potential – they were rejecting a resume.

What Writers Need To Know About the Affordable Care Act

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Despite the federal government shutdown, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Marketplace is now open, a way for people to compare health insurance options under the new policy also known as “Obamacare.”

Self-employed writers will have more choices under this act. Explore options for self-employed writers at the official site:

You can use the Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs. You can compare important features of several plans side-by-side, all of them offering a full package of essential health benefits. You can see what your premiumdeductibles, andout-of-pocket costs will be before you decide to enroll. You can’t be denied coverage or charged more because you have a pre-existing health condition. If you currently have individual insurance–a plan you bought yourself, not the kind you get through an employer–you may be able to change to a Marketplace plan. Learn more about changing individual insurance plans.

Novelist and Writer Beware co-founder Victoria Strauss shared the news on Twitter.

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