July 2018 Writing Roundup: Tools, Tips, and Resources for Writers

July 2018 Writing Roundup: Tools, Tips, and Resources for Writers by Diana Tyler


Hello, inklings!

In this week’s post, I’d like to share a few inspiring and helpful things that got my attention last month. From motivational, thought-provoking podcasts and craft-honing YouTube channels to fun, stress-free competitions and educational emails you’ll seriously want to read, I’m positive you’ll find something that piques your creative curiosity!

Without further ado, here’s my July roundup!


I. Tim Ferriss Podcast Interview with Daniel Pink

“Say something important rather than say important things.”
– Daniel Pink


I find in-depth interviews fascinating in general, but Tim Ferriss seems to have a talent for taking “in-depth” to a whole new level. Maybe it’s the tea he serves them, maybe it’s his reputation for being genuine and respectful, or maybe Ferriss simply has a knack for choosing great guests, but his interviewees all share compelling insights from their personal experiences (the good, the bad, and the downright humiliating) that you and I can learn from.

In this interview, Pink talks about decision making, writing captivating stories (38:43 in the episode), what’s most difficult for him to write and why, his morning routine, how he decides on a new writing project, how he knows when he’s got a good idea for a book, how he keeps track of his constantly forming ideas, writing non-fiction book proposals, how failures can serve as illuminating teaching moments, his favorite books to give people, his obsession with dystopian fiction, and loads more!


II. “Lessons from the Screenplay” YouTube Channel

Even if you don’t write screenplays, this channel is a Must-Watch, especially if you’re a fiction writer (although I’m sure nonfiction folks will find it helpful too!).

Lessons from the Screenplay analyzes successful film scripts to find out just how and why they’re memorable, popular, and often considered favorites by critics and other movie buffs. While dissecting films like Jurassic Park and Mission Impossible, Pixar’s Inside Out and When Harry Met Sally (one of my all-time favorites!), you’ll learn valuable information on things like:

  • Writing Heist Scenes
  • Creating Empathetic Villains (hello, Killmonger in Black Panther!)
  • Evoking Emotion
  • The Power of Subplots
  • Breaking Genre Conventions…

…And TONS more!


III. Furious Fiction Monthly Short Story Competition

I participated in Furious Fiction a few months ago with my 10-year-old niece and we both had a ball! I totally plan on doing it again after I finish up my current WIP and need to give my novel-writing brain a much-needed break!

Furious Fiction is a monthly contest hosted by the Australian Writers Centre (which I heard about via the excellent “So You Want to be a Writer?” podcast). Each month, participants receive a prompt that includes specific criteria (such as an opening and/or closing line and particular words that must be used), and have 55 hours to pen a 500-word story for a chance to win $500.

It’s super fun – I highly recommend you give it a try, especially if you need a change of pace or a healthy challenge, or are struggling through a bout of writer’s block (nothing like a quirky writing prompt to help you get your groove back!).

IV.             Gohighbrow.com

Interested in the low-carb diet? How about in being more productive? Or managing your time better? Or learning about psychology, or Vikings, or epidemics, or European explorers? There’s also a category solely dedicated to writing.

Highbrow makes it easy to itch that inquiring scratch of yours by providing daily emails that you can read in five minutes while enjoying your cup of coffee.

New lessons are emailed to you every morning, and there are even quizzes to help ensure you’ve learned and retained the material. You can try it out for free for 30 days, and after that it’s $4.00 a month (billed annually).

I haven’t used it for this yet, but I think Highbrow would make a wonderful research tool for us writers. Have a character who’s a body language expert? You could check out this course. Got one who wants to develop a phone app? Check out this one.  Need to learn more about legendary Greek heroes? Go here.

You get the idea! Highbrow is a fantastic learning platform that will fit seamlessly into your writing routine.



V.                (BONUS) Writing Quote to Ponder


“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
—R.L. Stine

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