#WriterWednesday: 6 Books Every Writer Should Have On Their Bookshelf


Every writer knows that reading is essential to good writing. Here are six books that all writers should have on their bookshelves for reference. If you don’t have them all, get them today.

The Writer’s Market

For every freelance writer or write who dreams of getting published one day, The Writer’s Market is an invaluable resource. Every year a new edition of The Writer’s Market is published, and it contains information about almost every single publication that take submissions. Detailed information is given regarding what that publication pays, what type of work it accepts, how to submit, and more. Submissions are organized by genre, and the book also contains helpful information and advice on writing query letters and following up with your submissions.

The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is a classic book that’s been popular with writers, professors, and editors for decades. It’s a timeless book that gives concise, easy-to-understand advice on writing style and guidelines that work for improving the work of all types of writers. While “style” certainly varies from writer to writer, the “elements of style” in this book are simple rules that work for everyone and truly make for better writing, no matter the genre or personal style of a writer.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

A dictionary is essential for all writers, and The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a solid choice. There are many different dictionary publications, and it really doesn’t matter which one you choose, so long as you have one. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has been trusted for centuries, and it’s updated every year to reflect changes or new word entries.

The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus

Another bookshelf staple is a thesaurus, and The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus is a popular choice. Once again, there are many different thesaurus publications to choose from; it’s just important that you have one. The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus contains more than 150,000 synonyms and antonyms, and it includes example sentences and brief definitions.

The Associated Press Stylebook

For journalists, The AP Stylebook is a must-have reference tool. All news writers can benefit from this book that helps to clear up just about all of the word usage questions you could ever have. The AP Stylebook contains incredibly useful information and rules on spelling, capitalization, punctuation, proper nouns, number usage, and much more. It’s updated every year to reflect any changes, and the dictionary-style layout makes it easy for you to look up the answer to any question you have while writing.

The Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is a book just like The AP Stylebook, but it is intended more for book authors and editors. It contains many more rules and guidelines, so it’s a helpful reference to supplement The AP Stylebook for journalists, too. It’s updated every year, and while there are some conflicts with rules in The AP Stylebook, this is the go-to reference for authors.

Author Byline: Jacob Smith is a teacher and freelance writer.  He enjoys writing and is currently involved is a writing project for nanowrimo.


#WriterWednesday: Pursuing a Career as a Writer? Here Are 5 Ways to Sharpen Your Writing Skills

For some, choosing a college major can be daunting. After all, you have a wide range of majors available, and the one you choose will help you start planning your future career. Many choose a major based upon their talent and personal interests. If you have a love of the English language and love to show off your creative site, then you should explore pursuing a career as a writer. You have different career options available including working as a professional journalist, content editor, technical writer, and online media writer, among others. But, in order to be a professional writer, you should obtain as much writing experience as possible.

Whether you’re currently applying to college and are already working with an essay tutor, or are in college and want to improve your writing skills, listed below are five ways you can tone up your writing and get a feel for what it’s like to work as a professional writer.

  1. Join the school newspaper: Does your high school or college have a school newspaper? If so, join the staff. You can pick which section of the newspaper you’d like to write for, or write for multiple sections. Not only will this help you improve your writing skills, but you can become more familiar with the activities and events currently taking place at your school.
  2. Intern: While in college, intern as a writer. You have a variety of options available such as interning for a local newspaper, publishing company, or a writing department within a company. Interning will help you improve your writing skills and get a feel for what it’s like to write as a professional.
  3. Hire a tutor: Hiring a tutor is a highly beneficial way to help you sharpen your writing skills. A tutor will help you improve your grammar skills and English composition, as well as teach you about the different types of writing styles. Learning the different writing styles will help you academically and help you determine which type of writing career you wish to pursue. Also, if you’re applying to college, you can improve your academic writing with an essay tutor.
  4. Start a blog: Blogging is becoming an increasingly popular activity as well as profession. There are various blog sites available in which you can join for free or buy a domain and host your own site. Think of what topic(s) you like to write about. Do you have a strong interest in health?  If so, start a health blog. Keep your blog consistent and gain readers. Also, allow readers to post and comment. In addition, go online and read other blogs.
  5. Freelance: Freelancing allows you to enhance your writing as well as post your content online for audiences to read. On the web you can find a myriad of sites that accept content from freelancers.  When you find a site you’re interested in freelancing for, ask about their guidelines and starting writing.   

Whether you choose to join your school’s newspaper, or start a blog, these are all great ways to help you improve your writing skills and lead the way to a successful career as a professional writer.  

Author Byline: Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer who blogs on a variety of topics. Follow her @MissWritey.

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Productivity Tips for Writers

productivity tips

Aspiring authors have asked me how I found the time to write my book. The easy and short answer is you have to make time.

Getting your book done and published has to become your #1 priority and you have to be willing to make sacrifices.

At the time I was working a day job as well as doing my weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio. I decided to let the radio show go to focus on writing my book.

In total I would say it took me two years to write and publish my first book, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down.

Another method I used to get my book written is quite controversial and many would frown upon it, but hey, it worked for me!

Find out what my main method was via Productivity Tips for Writers at My Ebook Journey.

The Year Santa Came – A Naughty Short Story Idea

The Year Santa Came


My mind is filled with creative craziness. One of those creative ideas is for a short story that involves a deviant dressed as Santa Claus who breaks into a woman’s home with the intent to harm her.

He gets the surprise of his life when she turns out to be a pistol toting bad-ass that puts him in his place. The story would end with her making him perform “oral sex” on the pistol before she fires it in his mouth killing him.

The gun “cums” in his mouth.

Ha! I love that ending.

But, I also love the thought of someone like the guy you see above coming to my house for Christmas.

This year I really really need it.

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Dawn Colclasure – Small Dog, Big Heart


Small Dog, Big Heart

I may be a small, little dog,
But don’t judge me by my size.
I can turn into a huge fighter
Right before your eyes!

My strength can be ginormous!
My courage bigger than I’ll ever be.
And even bigger than all of that
Is my loyalty.

My bark is bigger than my bite!
I will face down the biggest threat!
No big dog will ever scare me!
I have never been scared yet.

I may be a small, little dog,
But I can be a big help to you.
I’ll protect you, help you and be your friend.
I’ll be a big brave dog no matter what we may go through.


Dawn Colclasure is a writer who lives in Oregon. Her articles, essays, poems and short stories have appeared in several newspapers, anthologies, magazines and E-zines. She is the author of seven books, among them BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents; 365 TIPS FOR WRITERS: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat The Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity; Love is Like a Rainbow: Poems of Love and Devotion and the children’s book The Yellow Rose. She is co-author of the book Totally Scared: The Complete Book on Haunted Houses. Her Web site is at http://dmcwriter.tripod.com/. Jennifer Wilson is 10 years old. She writes poems and short stories. She is also a young artist, and her favorite type of art is Anime. She draws a variety of pictures and has created mini comic books either alone or with her friends. She has also written short books, creating her own cover art, and she also likes to write songs. She also likes to read, especially Japanese comic books, play video games and watch a good horror flick. Some of her favorite authors are Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Jeff Kinney.

  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Sandra Connelly – Language of Love (dangerouslee.biz)
  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Alexandra Chauran – The Construction Crane (dangerouslee.biz)
  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Mary Ellen Ciganovich – The Journey (dangerouslee.biz)
  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Indi Wright – Infinite Hope (dangerouslee.biz)

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Indi Wright – Infinite Hope


Infinite Hope

For once in a lifetime
I have great expectation
Along with confidence
No more false hopes
Nor empty promises
This hope is a trust
Transferred the stock
From man’s investment
Granting sole custody
In God I now trust
This hope is endless
It never runs dry
All encompassing
A wellspring of joy
Spouting rivers of peace
An abundance of rain
No droughts in sight
Against odds of what
The eye doth see
This hope surges beyond
And above all derision
Infinite hope is timeless
That’s before time existed
Yet newly found by me
‘Twas there all along
It endures through
All circumstances
Denials and delays
In the face of hope
Against hope when
It seems like it’s hopeless
That’s when I hope most
For I know
In whom I trust and
I can rest assured that
He is more than able
To obtain the victory
As a master of success
He works best
When it seems that
All hope is lost
My hope has no limits
It’s boundless
Securing me eternity


Emerging from the obscurity of the world into the marvelous light of Christ, Indi Wright is a trailblazer for the Lord. Leaving the ‘glamorous life’ and a background in entertainment, Indi uses her testimony of what God can do through you if you allow Him to use your talents for His divine purpose and glory. Indi Wright is a nationally acclaimed poet, prolific author, pastor, Licensed Massage Therapist, devoted wife and mother of one. Indi has a passion to not only reach but forever impact the lives of many through her powerful, thought-provoking and inspirational literary works.

Her mission is to encourage and empower others to rise above and overcome adverse circumstances in order to walk in divine purpose. Her writings are God-breathed, bringing life and instilling hope in the souls of each reader. After releasing three books, her next two projects are set to debut in Spring of 2013. She is the founder and CEO of IWright publishing company. It is a revolutionary company that goes beyond the typical publishing needs, equipping aspiring writers with valuable information and resources needed in their literary endeavors. As Co-Pastor of True Ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ, a prophetic and healing ministry, her bold teaching style is one-of-a-kind, fresh from heaven. Indi is currently embarking on a Midwest book tour with events at Books a Million stores in Sandusky and Chicago.