Writing Achievements
The Internet Writing Workshop

Since 1993, I have been the owner of The Internet Writing Workshop (IWW), a collection of mailing lists for writers. While there are many great resources for writers on the Internet, the IWW distinguishes itself by having firm rules on behaviour and requirements for regular participation from all members. As a result, the IWW provides a highly focused and relatively trouble-free environment for writers.

Initially, running these lists was a solo task, but as the lists grew, other administrators joined what has become one of the best teams around. My current role is to oversee the lists as a whole, to generate the monthly participation reports, and to act as co-administrator of the Practice list, where weekly exercises are posted and submissions are critiqued.


Short stories:

Unfortunately, after these successes I ceased to write for a time.

But... I am writing again, and the list above will grow!

The Writer's Toolbox

Write what you know...

Anyone who tries writing will hear this advice, and more than once. And it is good advice.

I prefer to turn this statement around, though. Know what you write.

I know more now than I used to, and I continue to learn every day. And the most useful knowledge of all is learning how to learn, and where to look for information.

I believe every writer should have access to a good library - at home, at a public library, even at a local bookstore that allows some browsing.

But what references does a writer need? There are hundreds, thousands, of reference sources, and there is a whole industry of "how-to" books aimed at aspiring writers.

Let's keep it simple. There is a small number of references every writer needs:

  • A good dictionary. Any decent dictionary will not only help with spelling and definitions, but will provide a wealth of additional information: from the atomic tables to maps of the worlds. (Remember, however, to get a dictionary for the country or region for which you write - a good US dictionary if you write for a US market, for example, or a Canadian dictionary if writing in Canada.)
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. In a few pages, covers the basics of writing.
  • The phone book. Often, the easiest way to learn something is to ask someone who knows - and your local phone book provides a list of contacts on every subject.
  • Something that inspires you. What book, poem, story most makes you want to write? It doesn't matter what it is - but have something you love on hand to inspire you and to challenge you. My own favourite: Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.
From there, build up your own library: style books that apply to your target markets, how-to books, assorted references - and of course, anything that inspires you or can show you what good writing is like. But the sources above will meet most of your needs!

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