Writing Resources –

Helping You Write Your Books & Stories

I've compiled a list of helpful resources to aid you in your writing journeys. If you find this resource helpful, please consider checking out my own books and stories.

my own content

Start here

Why not begin by browsing my blog posts? I've written multiple articles on writing, journaling, and more inspirational and insightful content.

How I Backup My Scrivener Writing Projects

I back up my files each and every time I use Scrivener. In this post, I’ll share with you how I go about it.

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Note: As of April 2023, the majority of my posts are now hosted on my Substack page "Gleaning Words." If you'd like access to even more great content like I've provided on my blog—as well as additional perks—consider becoming a free or paid subscriber to receive "Gleaning Words" directly in your inbox by using the form to the right. 

writer blogs

Learn from the Pros

Speaking of blog posts, here are the blogs from some of my favorite writers. They have years of writing and publishing experience under their belts, so be sure and take note.

Joanna Penn - The Creative Penn

The Creative Penn | Joanna Penn, NY Times best-selling British author of several books for authors as well as fiction under her "penn" name J.F. Penn, including the Arcane series. This site is loaded with information on how to write, publish, and run your writing business as an author entrepreneur. It’s one of my main go-to sites when I need a dose of writing inspiration and advice from Joanna and the many other writers she’s continually interviewing for her YouTube channel and podcast (including those listed below, as a matter of fact).

Dean Wesley Smith | One of the writer's I've most recently been following is USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith. In particular, his phenomenal book Writing into the Dark has inspired me to shut off my inner critic and enjoy the journey along the way. In addition, Smith's blog is fantastic, and many times you can find articles that are basically word for word copies of his published books.

Dean Wesley Smith
Stuart Horwitz

Stuart Horwitz | I was introduced years ago to Stuart Horwitz, founder of the Book Architecture Method, through his first book, Blueprint Your Bestseller (also listed below in the "Recommended Reads" section). He has been instrumental in the way I view writing and editing books over the years since. His blog alone contains many of the ideas contained in his books. Back in 2018, I used his BYB system for the first time to edit my first novel, and it blew me away at how many holes I still had to fill. As a result, I was finally able to finish writing the novel. I hope to finalize the edits very soon and make it available in my list of published books.

Advanced Fiction Writing | Randy Ingermanson (aka “The Snowflake Guy”) is a physicist turned author who created a neat method of novel writing called The Snowflake Method which has taken the writing world by storm. He also maintains his own personal website showcasing more of his writing tips and novels.

Randy Ingermanson

general writing tips

More masters of the craft

Here, you'll find websites for more general writing tips. These are some of the best writing sites I've found.

Helping Writers Become Authors logo - K.M. Weiland

Helping Writers Become Authors | K.M. Weiland, award-winning and internationally published author of the acclaimed writing guides like Structuring Your Novel, as well as historical and speculative fiction. This blog is jam-packed with writing ideas, techniques, and insights. You can't go wrong letting HWBA help you out.

Write to Done | WTD contains a plethora of helpful writing articles for fiction, nonfiction, blogging, journaling, and more. They've been around for ages and were acquired by selfpublishing.com, founded by Chandler Bolt, a popular indie author in his own right with books like Book Launch and Published.

Write to Done logo
Where the Map Ends logo - Jeff Gerke

Where the Map Ends | You may have never heard of Jeff Gerke, but he's one of the best editors and writing coaches around. Although his website is no longer maintained, it's still littered with tons of amazing content, in particular, his "Fiction Writing Tips" section. With nearly 100 different tips, you're sure to find something to help you overcome any writing ailment. And if that's not enough, he wrote a book wherein he compiled all of these amazing tips for easier reference called The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. A must-read for any other in any genre!

Writing books

Recommended reads

According to the king of horror, Stephen King, in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, one of the cardinal rules you must abide by if you want to be a writer is to "read a lot and write a lot." Well, I can help you with the reading part, but you'll have to do the writing yourself!

Blueprint Your Bestseller - Stuart Horwitz

Blueprint Your Bestseller | Stuart Horwitz is a storytelling genius. An editor by trade, he's also a "book doctor" who helps authors navigate the ins and outs of their books and novels. Need help finishing a novel? BYB is your go-to book. What about writing a novel in the first place? His Book Architecture method's got you covered. Or, perhaps, you need help with the entire writing, revising, and publishing process. That's where Finish Your Novel in Three Drafts comes in. I've got the entire series, and it's some of the best coaching for writers I've ever come across.

Story Trumps Structure | Steven James is a storytelling master—no really, he's got a Master's degree to prove it! In Story Trumps Structure, James gives pantsers (those who write "by the seat of their pants") permission to write "organically," as he calls it. No need for outlines, plot points, or three act structure, any of that intimidating stuff. Just pure story, plain and simple. And with this book, he makes it very simple for writers to follow along. I'm reading it for the second time right now, and I'm finding new things I didn't grasp before since I'm a more seasoned writer. For those who are having issues identifying and solving problems in your manuscript, try his other writing book Troubleshooting Your Novel.

Story Trumps Structure - Steven James
The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction - Jeff Gerke

The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction | As I mentioned in an earlier section, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction is a compilation of Fiction Tips taken from Jeff Gerke's site Where the Map Ends. With a few updates, this book is one of my go-to reads for the craft of writing in general, Christian or secular. I highly recommend this book. And if you're a fan of it, check out his other books here.

2K to 10K | This short but extremely helpful book by Rachel Aaron makes it near the top of my favorite writing books of all-time. The section on editing alone blew my mind. (I never knew it could be so easy!) Based on a viral blog post she wrote on her website "Pretentious Title," 2K to 10K gives readers some amazing insights into how to write faster without losing quality. Other helpful sections include "How I Plot a Novel in 5 Easy Steps," "Characters Who Write Their Own Stories," and "Editing for People Who Hate Editing." At only $6.99 for the paperback (as of this writing), this is easily some of the best value you'll get for your money to help you navigate the many writing perils that often beset even the best of writers.

2K to 10K - Rachel Aaron

Want even MORE writing book recommendations? check out my "writing books" page.

writing contests

Give your writing that extra push

Writing Contests come in all shapes and sizes. They can give you the extra edge you need to push you past your comfort zone. Whether you need a little extra encouragement in your writing, in meeting new people, or something else entirely, participating in writing competitions make the difference between becoming a better writer—or staying a "meh" writer.

NaNoWriMo Logo

NaNoWriMo | Short for National Novel Writing Month, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, NaNoWriMo is the cream of the crop when it comes to online writing competitions. Founded in 1999, the contest has been going strong now for over 20 years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon—with hundreds of thousands of participants annually to prove it. And if one month of intense writing isn't enough for you they also have other programs like Camp NaNoWriMo and even a Young Writer's Program, which I personally taught at a local private Christian school for the arts for two consecutive years—some of my students even wrote their own novels! I've won the contest three separate times, which I convey in a short book of my own. (Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo.)

ROW80 | Originally founded by USA Today Bestselling author Kait Nolan, "A Round of Words in 80 Days" was meant to be a more laid-back approach to the more stressful writing contests like NaNoWriMo. I myself have participated in the competition and written about my experiences with it. For me, it was a much-needed breath of fresh air. That was several years ago, but I know where I can go if I ever need a friendly, relaxing writing competition.

A Round of Words in 80 Days logo - ROW80
The Writer's Workout - Home of the Writer's Games

The Writer's Workout | Another 501(c)(3), this organization's website is home to the "Writer's Games," an annual competition with several unique twists: In the course of two months, you must complete a new "Event" by writing a new story each week within 72 hours based on writing prompts and word count limits that are assigned to you. If you submit your entry in time each week, it will be judged and critiqued by a team of future editors, professors, and literary agents. I participated in it once, and I found it both invigorating and grueling. It isn't easy, mind you, but I ended up with several new stories, even if I didn't win any of the prizes.

writing tools

Build your writer's toolbox

Every good writer has their own writing "toolbox" filled with favorite tools. Crafting books and stories is sort of like carpentry, where you labor to build and structure other worlds, settings, and characters. Following their journeys as they plod along. Listed below are some of the tools I use regularly. I encourage you to find and keep a list of your own favorite writing tools. 

Scrivener 3 Preview
Scrivener 3 Logo

Scrivener | Quite possibly the absolute best writing software out there. It’s a complete writing studio in one program! When I began using Scrivener in November of 2014 to resurrect a five year old novel I’d abandoned, I was hooked! I’m confident that once you try it you’ll be hooked, too! Created by a company called Literature and Latte, Scrivener is available in both Mac and Windows versions. (Psst. Already have Scrivener but need some help navigating all of its many amazing features? Then check out the awesome resource I list below.)

Scapple Showcase Screenshots

Scapple | Another great tool to plot out stories, novel outlines, character arcs, and more is mind mapping app called Scapple, also by Literature and Latte. I've used it to map out several story ideas as well as analyze the plot of other stories, most recently the TV Christmas classic Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer. I can't say enough good things about mind mapping; I even wrote a blog post about the topic.

scapple logo

myWriteClub | This is a little-known site I discovered a few years back when I was writing one of my novels (and participating in the Writer's Games). Mainly used to track word counts, myWriteClub is a free tool that offers a sense of accountability, friendly competition, and community worldwide via "Global Sprints." And you don't have to worry about losing your work because it auto-saves to Dropbox for easy access on all your devices. Give it a try the next time you feel like a lonely writer.

Trello | This is a tool I use almost every day. The concept is simple: It's a simple project manager consisting of "boards" composed of several "lists" in which you create "cards" to move from one list to another in order to keep track of ideas, to-do lists, various stages of projects, and loads more. I wrote a blog post several years ago detailing how I use this tool for everything from creating products to outlining stories.

Trello Logo

Journals & Writing Notebooks | A writer should never be without a good journal or writing notebook. I use several, each for different things. One for writing and story ideas, a pocket notebook for portability, and the one seen on the left, a Moonster Leather Journal I use specifically for Bible studies. With so many varieties at different price points, you're bound (no pun intended) to find something that suits you.

writing courses

World-class courses from world-class instructors

Need a finger up in your writing? Having trouble navigating Scrivener? Can't figure out how to create your own book covers? The following writing courses are sure to give you all the help you need with these issues and much more.

Learn Scrivener Fast Course Teaser - Joseph Michael
Learn Scrivener Fast - Joseph Michael

Learn Scrivener Fast | Joseph Michael is known in the writing community as the Scrivener Coach. He's been the topmost Scrivener authority for years, and he's built his life around helping others navigate the ins and outs of Scrivener. The popular writing app can have a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to compiling your books in various formats, but with Joseph Michael's course, you're guaranteed to Learn Scrivener Fast.

Karen Prince ebook course logo

eBook and Paperback Book Cover Design Using Canva and Gimp | Karen "Kazz" Prince is no stranger to writing and design. I've been following her for years, and after purchasing some of her courses, I can't get enough of her easy-to-follow, laid-back style of instruction. If you've ever struggled with creating your own book covers, Karen can have you up and running in no time—no Photoshop required!

Karen Prince profile pic - Goodreads
Clark Chamberlain

Advanced Novel Writing with Harry Potter | Clark Chamberlain is a master of storytelling. In this awesome course, he breaks down the seminal work Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by mega-bestselling author J.K. Rowling. As Clark dives into the book itself, you can feel the passion he has for storytelling and helping others learn the craft themselves. Highly recommended, as well as his other course Punch Them In The Gut: Writing Fiction with Emotional Impact.

Fixing Scrivener Compiling Headaches

Did you know I created my own course all about navigating and mastering the most complex part of Scrivener—the compiling process! I'll guide you step by step on how to easily create your own print and ebook formats in this premium masterclass with 6.5 hours of video!

Writing prompts

Get your ideas flowing

If you're writing well is dry, these resources will help you prime the pump! Get your writing juices flowing with decks, dice packs, and Writer's Digest tips as you blast through your creative blocks!

Writer Emergency Pack

Writer Emergency Pack | This great tool is a deck full of useful ideas designed to help get your story back on track. It’s quick, useful and tosses easily into a bag. That makes it a perfect gift. Writer Emergency Pack is great for fiction writers of all ages. Whether you’re writing a novel, a screenplay or a short story, you’ll find it’s there to get you out of a jam. Best of all, they have a big heart for young writers programs and have sent out over 9,000 decks to various schools and nonprofit organizations—including NaNoWriMo.

Rory's Story Cubes | Rory's Story Cubes is a popular dice rolling game. The goal is simple: come up with an original story based on the images on the dice. They come in a variety of themes including Star Wars, Harry Potter, even Looney Tunes. There are loads of options to choose from. No matter how you want to create your next story, Rory's Story Cubes has you covered.

Writer's Block book - Jason Rekulak

The Writer's Block | Yes, you're not seeing an illusion. The Writer's Block is an actual book by author Jason Rekulak, created with 672 pages of writing prompts, over 200 photographs, and more. Next time you're stuck, just flip open The Writer's Block to any page to find an idea or exercise that will jump-start your imagination. With advice and examples from celebrated novelists, contemporary editors, literary agents, movies, and more, with this chunky little book at your side, you may never experience writer's block again!

Writer's Digest Creative Writing Prompts | I think I'm safe in saying that just about every serious writer knows about Writer's Digest. They've been helping writers improve their craft, achieve their goals and recognize their dreams—since 1920. From inspiring prompts, practical techniques and insightful interviews, to instructional workshops, writing competitions and professional services—Writer's Digest helps writers of all genres and formats develop their craft and hone their business skills at every stage of their career. (They've even published many of the books I recommend above.)

Writer's Digest logo
365 Creative Writing Prompts

365 Creative Writing Prompts | ThinkWritten is dedicated to helping you to fulfill your dream of becoming a writer—no matter where you might be on your writing journey. On their website, you’ll find a number of great resources to help you navigate through the path to writing success and make that book you’ve been dreaming of writing becoming a reality!

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