12/1/12

Writer's Review: Daily Writing Tips

As promised I have begun reviewing Websites, blogs and other online resources for writers which each promise to help writers in their own way.

For my rant on the subject, see here.

Today I review the website/blog, "Daily Writing Tips."



Screen Shot of DailyWritingTips.com, accessed 26 November 2012

This one I have in my RSS feed, so I am very familliar with the content and the day-to-day blogging of this resource.

Each day is a new post/entry that deals with writing. They do not specifically single out writers and their target audience, but for the most part they do aim their writing at those working on word based projects: bloggers, essayists, novelists.

Some of their most popular entries are:

  • 40 Yiddish Words You Should Know
  • Writing a Reference Letter
  • 25 Pieces of Writing Software, and
  • Yours Faithfully or Yours Sincerely?

I can honestly say that I find the pieces they put forward enlightening and often correct. From time to time there are discrepancies with their versions of word usage, but that's to be expected from an American Blog.

Now, don't get righteous on me...

What I mean to say is: American language is different than Canadian, England, or even Australian English usage. While it is safe to say that many a writer has the American market in mind when writing, not all do.

So here's my warning:

If you want to follow this blog, please be concientious of who you are writing for. If you are writing for Canadian, United Kingdom or other foreign countries, please make sure the rules they put out apply.

In one article it was stipulated that Gray, is spelled correctly with an A, while Grey is only used for the proper name of Grey.  This is incorrect. Gray is only used in the American usage for the colour while Grey is used in most Commonwealth countries such as Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and even English speaking parts of India.

There are discrepancies in their language use and proper terminology (I'm thinking about their list of common words that have to do with seafaring terminology-I used to sail and was with the Cadet program, so I found the list humiliating for the writer.)

However, there are also gold nuggets:

First, I like that they often pair their pieces with "vs." because often times I find that there are too many people who do not know how to use certain phrases or words, such as the contentious "Who's, whose and who is."

The second is that they really are just trying to improve word usage and grammar in their readers.

Last and third is that while some of their writing may be incorrect, they have good intentions at attempting to dispel the confusion about the how and when of word usage and they bring up enough information to let you do the rest. In reading their work I find myself wondering if they are correct and often do research to confirm either their article or my suspicions.

I think that this website has done nothing but improve my writing. I highly recommend it and I also believe that bloggers should follow their other daily blog list called "Daily Blog Tips." I would also recommend you sign up for their daily writing tips by email or subscribe via RSS to their blog.

11/30/12

Writer's Reviews: Upcoming...




So about a month ago I ragged on Writer's Digest. Some think I was being unfair-too bad.

The truth is that there are just so many people out there pretending to help writers. You read their blog and they seem like they know what they're talking about, but they're just so vague... then they invite you to sign up for their newsletter.  You think... "Maybe their newsletter tips will be more specific."

So you sign up. Big mistake!

Next thing you know you're being inundated with emails to sign up for classes that cost $500 a pop! Or perhaps you're prompted to send in your query for a free review, you get a paragraph of a review but for the "real" review you have to hire the person at $100 an hour.

Honestly, you don't need these things. Anyone who says different is lying.

For the month of December I will be reviewing blogs, articles, lists and author webpages that are supposed to be the "Best websites for writers" on a weekly to twice-a-week basis.

New writers ask me where I go to read for writing tips and help. Here's the short answer: the only thing I use while I write/edit is this:

  • A Canadian English Dictionary-Thesaurus combo.

When I am building my platform, I am on Twitter reviewing what's going on with the following hashtags:
  • #amwriting
  • #amediting
  • #writing
  • #writetips, and
  • #writers
In addition, if I'm going to be on Facebook, I join Facebook writers' groups because I might as well make use of the time I have on Facebook to connect with my writing. I'll never say that someone shouldn't go on Facebook, we all need a break from time to time-but make it count.
The activities that make you a writer are: writing, reading and always looking at resources with a critical eye.

So keep an eye here for websites I think will give you true, measurable and achievable advice that will make you a better writer. Each review with start with "Writer's Reviews:" and will discuss the good vs the bad but don't take my word for it... go look at them, see what they have for you... and always be critical.