If you have always fancied giving writing a go, whether it be a book, short story, poetry, blogging or journalism, there can’t be a better time than the dark days of January.
It’s cold and gloomy outside, television is rubbish. We’ve all had enough of the news and could do with switching off social media.
Now is a perfect opportunity to grab a brew, find a quiet space and get started on that story, memoir or blog that has been burning inside you.
I’ve written my blog for five years and loved every minute of it. Some blogs are really well read, others not so much. It doesn’t matter to me. The very act of writing is key. It is hugely therapeutic allowing me to connect to myself and to others.
You don’t, of course, have to share your writing with the world. You can do it just for yourself, for your own benefit and for fun.
But where do you start? I’ve collected below the best podcasts, books, courses, social media accounts and newsletters about writing that I know of to inspire and help you get on your way.
This list is by no means exhaustive, these are just things I have stumbled upon and found to be really useful. Hopefully they will give a bit of guidance, confidence and inspiration.
Big Magic Liz Gilbert
A fantastic look at the importance of a creative life and how to challenge our own self confidence when it comes to creating art of any kind. Perfect if you want to try writing, or anything creative, but feel overwhelmed or lacking in confidence.
Write it All Down Cathy Rentzenbrink
This book only came out last week but I’m half way through it and already feeling really inspired. I went on a course with Cathy last year and she is brilliant at knocking down the barriers we have to writing. I’ll do a quick review as soon as I’ve finished but so far it’s brilliant and I would highly recommend.
The Artists Way Julia Cameron
This legendary book is revered by numerous celerities for helping them nurture their creativity. Indeed Liz Gilbert said Eat Pray Love would not have existed if she had not picked up a copy of it.
It promises to help you get back on track, rediscover your passion and take the steps you need to change your life.
Not Too Busy to Write
Authors Ali Millar and Penny Wincer chat about the world of writing, publishing and creativity whilst juggling the demands of motherhood, caring and other paid work.
Their most recent podcast is an interview with author Cathy Rentzenbrink who I mentioned in the books section so well worth a listen.
I only recently discovered this podcast and I’m currently working my way through an amazing back catalogue. The idea is simple, speak to some of the world’s most famous writers and ask how they plan their day and maximise their creativity. My favourites have been Matt Haigh and Ann Cleeves
Hattie Crisell is a London-based freelance journalist who interviews an array of writers on her podcast from journalist to novelist.
Always Take Notes
Aimed at writers, the podcast looks at all areas of writing from how to negotiate fees, to what makes great fiction. Previous guests have included Ian Rankin and Jeffrey Archer.
Out of Office
I’ve mentioned Fiona Thomas in the courses section. Her podcast is well worth a listen. Lots on there about mental health and working life.
Fiction Writing Made Easy
Savannah Gilbo is an American-based developmental editor and book coach who helps fiction authors finish their drafts and write stories. Her podcasts are practical and helpful in getting your story out.
Freelancing for Journalists
Freelance journalists Lily Canter and Emma Wilkinson lift the lid on freelance life with guides on everything you need to know about working for yourself as a freelance journalist.
London Writers Salon
If you need a gentle nudge to get going, London Writers Salon have a fabulous daily Writers Hour where you can join lots of others writers for 50 minutes and just write. And it’s free.
I discovered it during lockdown and it is a brilliant way to get yourself to your desk and get writing. There’s no judgment, you don’t have to show your work or anything. Just turn up and get writing. They also offer masterclasses, mentoring and manuscript assessments.
Author and journalist Marianne Power is currently running some fab workshops on a Saturday afternoons called Writing For Fun and Sanity. I’ve joined these workshops previously and they were a really fun way of doing a bit of writing in the company of others. I reviewed Marianne’s brilliant book Help Me which is well worth a read.
Arvon is a charity that runs creative writing courses and retreats. They hold residential courses in locations across the country, online courses and day events. I recently went to one with the author of The Salt Path Raynor Winn and Cathy Rentzenbrink who I mention in the books section above it was absolute amazing – can’t recommend enough.
The National Centre for Writing
A charitable organisation based in Norwich, the centre has a programme of online and in-person creative writing courses. They have also teamed up with the University of East Anglia for longer courses for school children.
Alison Powell is a freelance writer and creativity coach. She facilitates workshops that encourage, inspire and celebrate new writing, and she offers both online and face-to-face mentoring. She has a 21 day course starting in January.
Fiona is an author and mental health advocate who runs writing courses. She also has a great podcast called Out of Office.
Mothers Who Write
Run by author and journalist Rebecca Schiller, Mothers Who Write is an online community which launched this month offering support, connection, advice along with retreats and events.
If you think TikTok is just for the kids, think again. I’ve recently discovered another world on TikTok called #booktok full of authors talking about how they write, what they write and offering help and information. Some of my favourite are: @mariafranklandauthor @fionalucasauthor
Lots of authors hang out on Instagram and it’s great to be able to connect with them. Some of my favourites are: @rowenmcoleman @eleanorraybooks @catrentzenbrink
Author and journalist Anna sends a weekly newsletter called Lance all about trying to make money without burning out.
Sian is a writer, editor and newsletter specialist. She sends out a weekly newsletter detailing where you can pitch if you have an idea for a story.
Jem Collins and her team send out a great newsletter of weekly vacancies in the journalism world including who is asking for pitches. Her website is also packed with handy resources such as how to pitch and what to charge.
If you have any other resources you think would be helpful please send me a quick email firstname.lastname@example.org