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Summer Writing Resources — Plus a YA Publishing Chat

FigmentNeed a little help keeping your writing from wilting this summer? Crank up the AC, drag over your laptop, and check out the online writing community Figment for company, commiseration, feedback, and inspiration.

With over 300,000 members and a library of more than half-a-million user stories, Figment has something for every type of writer.

Are you the kind who needs a little prodding? Sign up for Daily Themes and join the 10,000 other writers who are getting an original writing prompt delivered to their inboxes every morning.

Or are you the competitive type? Check out Figment’s writing contests, where you can win fame, glory, and prizes. (Psst — Sometimes you don’t even need to write anything to win big swag: Figment is almost always offering a sweepstakes of some kind.)

Are you a budding novelist? Join Figment this Thursday for one of its great live author chats! This week, young-adult authors Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling and Unbreakable) and Brodi Ashton (Everneath and Everbound) — plus special guest Kristin Rens, editor at HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray — will be talking about what happens after you get that book contract. Sign up for a reminder for “Living the Dream: Real Talk About Life as a Published Author” — this Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. ET!


Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on Janaury 27  at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Get In The Loop With ‘Linked In’

linkedinaa.jpg LinkedIn, a member of the Internet-networking old guard, is a vast database of 10 million professionals connecting and furthering their careers.
It’s a great resource, but intimidating for the uninitiated. Luckily, Penelope Trunk, columnist for the Boston Globe and author of “The Brazen Careerist,” is here to help. In collaboration with the site, she’s created a list of 10 ways to leverage the network.
Our favorite suggestions:
3. Build a network without making networking your full-time job
6. Confirm a rumor
10. Promote your book!
Now if only we could just write that novel, we’d be in business.

Watch Movies From The Comfort Of Your Cell Phone

Hows You’re Punctuation!

Try it out here at the Eat, Shoots & Leaves game.

Write a Novel

Write a Novel is a form of open courseware: Learning materials placed online for free use by anyone who wishes to do so. At this point, it is an experiment; if it succeeds, Capilano College may create more such guides, along the lines pioneered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The guide contains 18 items, PDF documents that give you some basic information on topics related to writing fiction in general and novels in particular. Each item includes one or more assignments based on the material you’ve read.

I have no idea if it’s useful or not but I have to admire its layout and amount of material. Let me know if it works for you!

Black is Wack?

dont bogart that crackberry.jpg
Do freelance writers need little handheld toys like Blackberries and PDAs or are those more fun accessories than necessary tools? I asked this question on Ask Metafilter. Here are some of the answers:

I don’t have one, and while I recognize the inconvenience, I also recognize the freedom it affords me. Because I like to be available via e-mail during regular business hours, I have to stay close to home during the day; I won’t leave for more than an hour because I want to make sure that I am responsive to written communication. On the other hand, everyone I know who has a Blackberry ends up answering e-mail all day and night. My laptop gets shut off promptly at 5:00pm and isn’t opened again until 8:00am the next morning, and that’s just how I like it. I don’t want to know if someone’s written me in the evening, because I’ll feel compelled to respond. I vote no on portable devices, but I’m also in the minority; most of my colleagues have them.

Read more

Free Phone Calls with Future Phone?

I’m just passing this tip along. I haven’t tried it nor am I endorsing it. If any of you have found the catch, let me know.

Back That Stuff Up

backthatassup.jpg“Finally” was what I thought when I downloaded the new version of iTunes which prompted me to back up my music. I need constant reminders to back up, and I like programs that provide them to me.
Backing up your work is becoming easier, too. Walter S. Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal checked out two online backup services that offer unlimited capacity — no quotas or limits at all — for around $50 a year.
See his thoughts here (

In Praise of the Typewriter

oldtypewriter.jpgA few years ago my aunt passed on to me an old Underwood typewriter that my grandmother used to use. I don’t use it very often, mostly because it lives at my parents’ house. It’s definitely heavy enough to kill any crazy sycophant who might happen to hold me hostage in her snowbound house should that ever arise. But it’s also just a cool thing to have.
Today not one but two other posts popped up in praise of the old-timey typewriter. The Morning News features a writer’s remembrance for the dented Olympia of his youth by Michael Erard.
And then coincidentally I found this link for purchasing the Olympia SM8&9 at a site called Will the typwriter be making a comeback? Considering how I wished I owned a license and a gun to fire at my computer today, it’s possible.

Online Course Taking Tips

Have you been considering taking an online writing, pitching, freelancing, what-have-you course? Perhaps even of the mediabistro type? Even though the purpose of the online class is to cater to busy people’s schedules, you still have to make sure you have the time and energy to get your money’s worth. Victoria Groves at Writers Weekly has a few bits of advice on how to make sure you pick a class that’s right for you at a time that’s right for you.