#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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#WriterWednesday: Whom is a dirty word.


Over the last 200 years, the pronoun whom has been on a steady decline. Despite its waning use in speech and ongoing speculation about its imminent extinction, whom still holds a spot in the English language, particularly in formal writing. Understanding when and how to use this embattled pronoun can set your writing apart.


Whom is often confused with who. What’s the difference between these two pronouns? Who is a subjective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as a subject in a sentence, and whom is an objective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as an object in a sentence. Who, like I, he, she, and they, performs actions, as in Who rescued the dog? (who is doing the rescuing in this sentence). Whom, like me, him, her, and them, is acted on, as in Whom did you see? (whom is being seen here, not doing the seeing). Whom can also be object of a preposition, as in the salutation To Whom it may concern (whom is the object of to; Does it concern he? No. Does it concern him? Yes.) or in the title of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Get the rest of this lesson – Whom or who? | Blog.

Blogging 101: Introducing Myself

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 36 seconds. Contains 920 words

I have been a website owner and blogger for years, but I didn’t bother to educate myself before I began. I jumped right in head first and done my own thing. So, I said – what the heck – let me dial it back and take advantage of what WordPress has to offer in their Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself  course.

Here is me introducing myself:

Dangerous Lips

Me – Leigh “Dangerous Lee” Langston

What inspired you to start your blog?

I started my blog in 2008 to promote myself as a writer as well as the projects I was involved in. I thought owning a “.com” or in my case a .biz would be a good investment in my future. Go back to the 2008 & 2009 archives to take a peek at my humble beginnings.

Now I see my blog as a way to preserve my personal history. A legacy.

Describe the intended focus of your site and what your readers can expect.

Currently, because it seems to change each year, I write essays about current events as well as my life as a single Black mother living at the poverty level with apolitical and areligious views.

I also post content written by members of The content that I feature is usually something I can relate to or something that I agree with in whole or part. It might even piss me off but the bottom line is that I think it should be read, shared and talked about on social media.

I want you to read it, have a reaction and tell me what you think. I often share my reaction within the blog as well if it really gets me fired up.

Introduce yourself: What do you do? What are your interests?

I really hate the idea of introducing myself. I have since I was a kid. You know when you’re at school on the first day or at a silly ass meeting with the new person and everyone has to say their name and what they do or what their favorite color is. I hate that. I don’t know why, but I feel like it’s always something that people don’t really care about. It doesn’t matter. Or the information has to be given in such an engaging or entertaining way for people to remember you.

I don’t know what to say. What do I do? If I really told you what I do you’d be bored to tears. I’m not that interesting at all, especially these days. I’m not social. I don’t get out much and I’m OK with that. I’m a homebody, but inside me is a world traveler waiting to get out.

I am self employed and I work from home. I make less than $10,000 a year (every time I write that it saddens and amazes me). I run an obscure news and entertainment network that includes DangerousLee.Biz (you are here),, and

Interests? I love film. I am currently enjoying being a new member of Netflix. I’ve been watching Dexter, United States of Tara, Prison Break, Scandal and Orange is the New Black.

I’m boring. That’s not fair. I’m not boring at all, but I don’t have many active interests at this time in my life worth mentioning. No wonder my writing has suffered. However, you can learn more about me in the About Dangerous Lee section.


Tell readers what your blog’s title means and why you chose it.

I chose to call it The Dangerous Lee News & Entertainment Network because I thought it sounded like a big deal. I thought it would grab attention. I also chose it because from 2011-2013 I featured daily content in several categories like Beauty & Fashion, Celebrities, and Sex, Dating & Relationships. There are currently more than 20 categories within the network.

I wanted to publish various content by a group of writers like you would find in a magazine or newspaper. I grew tired of that format for various reasons so I have moved on from that into what you see on the website in 2014. Sometimes I feel like I need to change the name, but I do post news in an attempt to be entertaining, so it stays.

Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

I’m a writer. I want to share my writing. I do have an oral journal on my iPod that I have thought about releasing as an audio book of sorts, but I say some very private and very personal things. I think I’ll keep it to myself for now. Maybe I’ll have them released when I die. Hopefully I’ll make more money then.

What topics do you like to write about?

I like to write about life. My life. Life as I see it. As I experience it.

I like to write about how I feel. Oftentimes I don’t feel good or happy. I like to write about how it feels to be unhappy and unsatisfied in this world while still attempting to reach goals and become my version of successful.

Here a few of my favorites:
The Half Series: When Black People Look White
Pole Dancing Is Not Just For Thots
Hoe Baths Are Not Just For Hoes
Real Men Wear Skirts

Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

Anybody. Everybody. Everyone is welcome.

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

It’s my short term goal to make $500 from ad revenue a month. It may seem like a small goal, but it will make a huge difference in my income and way of life.

I’m on Twitter!


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 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 (
  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Alexandra Chauran – The Construction Crane (
  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Mary Ellen Ciganovich – The Journey (
  • National Poetry Month Spotlight: Indi Wright – Infinite Hope (

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.


Top Story – Ways To Improve Your Creativity

Certain companies drive on creativity and inherently, that is the main element that makes them successful such as advertising agencies. With this said however, there are many other companies that should incorporate a certain amount of creativity into their business, their product and offering. Creativity can be as tiring as any other element in a business, and sometimes we lack the creativity needed and hit a wall. In this interesting and informative article, we look at some fundamental ways to improve creativity in both a creative and normal business environment.  

How to improve and boost creativity

The power of music

Music is one of the most creative outputs in the world, and many people are both touched and inspired by music. Certain music has been proven to boost creativity so if you are feeling drained and out of ideas, put on your favorite music, song or artist and improve our creativity by letting the juices flow and also feeling happier and relaxed.


A word often heard in advertising, brainstorming can be a valuable way to improve creativity in any business or for an aspiring entrepreneur. Brainstorming will not only get the creative juices flowing but will help you come up with ideas great or bad, because no idea is bad, as it always is inspiration for the next groundbreaking one. There are many ways to brainstorm; alone or in a group, one just needs to find which method works the best for them.

Always have a pen and piece of paper on you

One of the most innovative ways to boost creativity that really works is to make sure to always have a pen and piece of paper on you as creative ideas come up at the most random of times. Many people say that ideas come first thing in the morning or just before falling asleep when your mind is clear. Have that pen and piece of paper on you and whenever inspiration strikes; be sure to document it on paper.    

Dictionary inspiration

This is a unique way to generate ideas, get thinking and immensely improve creativity; grab a dictionary, randomly select a word and formulate a concept incorporating that word. You may generate an idea and if not, it will definitely improve your creativity and get you moving towards the next idea.

Change of atmosphere

If are totally stuck for ideas and are lacking creativity, it’s good to get out of a stagnant space and move somewhere else. You can’t imagine how this can improve creativity. Move to a fresh, new space or even go for a walk and take a break. You can’t keep pushing at the wall, you sometimes need to go around it and get some new perspective.  

Author Byline: Jemma Scott is a business freelance writer that provides advice and information on an array of things from how to find Office Space Liverpool to how to boost creativity. 



The Power of the Written Word

The impact of an expertly crafted piece of writing should not be underestimated. History has shown that opinion, motivation and learning has been moulded by a series of great pieces of writing throughout the ages. The impact of writing an idea, thought or opinion is often far greater than vocalising those same issues. The written word has saved lives, inspired revolutions and furthered human development. Learning the art of writing is a vital skill and every human being’s right which shouldn’t be underestimates

Using the written word to ensure human rights.

The beginnings of modern-day democracy can be attributed to the Magna Carta; a document that signalled the beginning of contemporary law and basic human rights. This awe-inspiring text not only laid down a crucial set of basic rights; its inspirational use of language gave the idea of freedom an aura of gravitas that was wholly apt. The Magna Carta served to inspire the human spirit, and it is still a hugely significant piece of writing.

History is replete with examples of inspirational works which have served to inspire huge shifts in human thinking and endeavour. Martin Luther was able to communicate his thoughts and beliefs with regard to the Catholic Church in 1517 by using one of the first examples of movable type. This incredible example of powerful written thought was enough to inspire many of medieval England’s subjects to challenge the establishment. The Protestant Reformation resulted, and Luther’s ninety-five theses were credited with reshaping almost an entire nation’s dogmatic sensibilities within a few decades.

United States Constitution

The United States Constitution is one of the most striking examples of how a great piece of writing can inspire millions of people. This document was written over two hundred years ago, yet it still inspires American citizens. This incredibly powerful text still forms the basis of all American laws. The advent of the telegraph in the USA, together with huge printing presses, transformed the way people formed their personal opinions. Daily newspapers gave people unbiased accounts of international news for the very first time, and these publications suddenly had power to rival the most powerful governments. The ability to share opinions in this efficient way inspired various revolutions around the world. 

The Written Word Today

Despite the continuing development of technology, it is still the power of the written word that is continuing to change the world. The recent uprisings in several Arab nations have been fuelled by social networks. Heartfelt pleas for solidarity by ordinary citizens have brought people together in a way never seen before. Detailed written accounts on sites like Facebook have conjured up vivid images in the minds of oppressed people; these images of freedom and a brighter future were the driving force behind the recent citizen’s revolts. 

The Skill of Writing

The skill of writing is often taught to people in terms of rules. There are rules governing the correct use of grammar, punctuation and structure; studied by many in an almost scientific manner. However, writing should not be seen as a science. The best examples of literature, copy and texts are incredibly easy to read. Thoughts should rise from the page in a natural and effortless way. If something is easy to read and comprehend, it is highly likely that a great deal of time and effort has been put into it. Of course, many of the rules that apply to the art of writing are necessary, but the emphasis should always be on comprehension and style. The only way to ensure that written works will endure is by engaging with readers; the power to change the future of the human race lies in the hands of the world’s greatest writers. 

Learning the art of writing is a vital skill. This article was written in partnership with Faber Academy. You must feel not that you want to but that you have to write – Hitchens.


The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Many people often see journals as something that preteens keep to talk about their latest crush. However, a journal can also be a wonderful tool for adults. Whether you’re looking for a way to let go of stress or to monitor your health, a journal is a great resource. If you’re still in doubt, here are some of the benefits of keeping a journal.


It can be hard to hold yourself accountable. You may choose to forget about a bad experience that you should have learned from or a cheeseburger you shouldn’t have ate. Either way, a journal is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Write down the good, the bad and everything you learn from these experiences. Years from now you can look back and see how much you’ve grown and know that it was these experiences that led you to where you are.

Precious Memories

You may think that you’ll never forget those touching words he said the night he proposed or the happiness you experienced when you finished your master’s degree, but these memories can fade over time. Being able to open a journal and relive those memories is priceless. While you may not write in a journal everyday, be sure to capture all those precious moments.


A journal can be a wonderful way to handle stress. For example, you may have a horrible boss that you’d like to give a real chewing, but of course you can’t. However, you can sit down and write a letter to him in your journal and let all that anger out. Another way a journal offers therapy is being able to write down your emotions and analyze them. Think of it as a less expensive form of psychology.


Last, but certainly not least, a journal can be a wonderful way to monitor health conditions and eating patterns. If you’re trying to get your blood pressure under control, you could monitor it every day or week and write down the numbers in the journal. If you’re trying to lose weight, you could use the journal to monitor everything you eat each day.

Journals are more than just a place for little girls to write their deepest, darkest secrets. A journal can be used to monitor your eating habits or hold yourself accountable. Either way, a journal is a tool that everyone should consider keeping.

About the Author: Casie Burdex is a writer who has kept journals all her life. They’ve helped her remember facts, outline story ideas, and deal with emotional issues. Have you started one yet?