Most websites are completely useless for writers. We all love videos of cats and cucumbers and babies eating sour lemons but they aren’t going to do much for our craft. If you want to get started as a writer, instead of trying to find inspiration in your Facebook news feed or your Silk Road wish list, try visiting some of these great websites for beginner writers.
10 Great Websites For Beginner Writers
As a new writer, you want to read more. A lot more. Good stuff. You need to get on the Pulitzers & Pulp Diet™. That means stuffing your head with all sorts of writing from all corners of the world and on all different topics.
Follow the , a daily reading practice advocated by Ray Bradbury:
“Every night, for the next 1,000 nights, read one short story, one poem, and one essay.”
Visiting the Pulitzer Prize website takes care of your non-fiction reading needs. You can click on the winners in different categories for each year and read their award winning work right there on the site. I like to pull the site up on my mobile whenever I’m on transport, waiting in a line, or simply lying in bed.
Here are two great Pulitzer Prize winning essays to get you started:
There’s this awesome website called Quora… You might have heard of it. Basically you can read TONS of different stuff on any topic. But forget about the reading part for a bit. I suggest you actually become a Quora writer.
Aim for 1 answer every few days at the beginning. Once you’ve got a grip on the whole thing, an answer a day should be easy. This will help to develop your voice and you might even build an audience as you learn.
Don’t tell me you’re not an expert on anything and you can’t be a Quora writer. There are thousands of obscure topics and hundreds of thousands of strange and varied questions here. Everyone in the world can be a mini-expert on at least a handful of the topics climbing the Quora news feed.
Just check out some of the varied (basically schizophrenic) array of topics I’ve covered:
If you’re following the Bradbury Trio – one short story, one poem, one essay a day – you’re going to need a constant supply of poetry.
But where do you find these poems? Do you just go out in the wild and capture them with a sharp stick? No, don’t be silly. That’s dangerous. The kind people at have collected tons of poems and send one to your email everyday. There’s contemporary stuff during the week and classic stuff on the weekend.
Sign up to their email subscription and you’ll never be short of a quirky metaphor, beautiful turn of phrase, or new way of looking at the world. These things will then boost your writing efforts.
For the truly beginning writer who doesn’t know where to start, I would recommend MasterClass. This is an online video course with homework assignments that gives you access to world-class experts.
For writers, MasterClass has the following instructors:
- James Patterson
- Shonda Rhimes
- Aaron Sorkin
I’ve personally taken and LOVED the Aaron Sorkin, Shonda Rhimes, and Werner Herzog classes. You can read my full reviews here:
- Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking Masterclass Review (Week 1)
- Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing For Television MasterClass Review (Week 1)
I haven’t personally taken the James Patterson course yet (currently busy with the ) but, from what I’ve heard from others, if I was a COMPLETE beginner and I wanted to write novels, I would definitely invest in this course.
More books! As a beginner writer, the most important thing you can do is to read, read, and read some more. Reading a ton of books is the best way to actually improve your sense of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to writing.
It’s the same way when learning a language. I immerse myself in listening to Japanese daily and very slowly, but surely, I become a better Japanese speaker. I start to replicate the sounds and grammatical constructions and play with the language and get a feeling of what works.
If you don’t want to read… Why are you becoming a writer?
Great writers are first and foremost great readers.
- The Rolling Stones are music lovers first… Great musicians second.
- Picasso was an art lover first… Great artist second.
- Scorsese is a movie lover first… Great director second.
So go to Project Gutenberg and download a bunch of free classics that take your fancy.
As a beginner writer, knowing about how stories are structured is super important and will give you more direction in your own work. Skip that aimless wandering that produces boring, nonsensical narratives and figure out the mechanics of story. You’re like a clockmaker that can’t wait to open up that cuckoo to examine the springs.
There are tons of great resources to learn about story structure, but I think a good place to start is at Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid website.
You can buy his book or piece together everything at the website. Here are some recommended articles:
If you wanna be a writer, you gotta write.
You could start off by writing on your own and not showing your work to anyone. That method works for a lot of introverts (like me). But if you’re more extroverted and need the added boost of people following your work and telling you what they love about it, try posting your work to .
This site is filled with free stories that work in a serialised fashion like in the good old days. Check out what’s trending, find what’s popular, make a few friends, and upload your own stories.
More reading! Always more reading. Amazon needs to be your second home on the internet.
Browse those bestselling lists, dig through obscure genres, find out what books are scooping up the awards, look at reviews, download free samples, and buy a ton of books.
For a complete beginner, I suggest picking up a copy of or simply browsing through their website. They have a ton of great resources that will help to explain the mechanics behind every imaginable facet of writing.
Get learning. Then get practicing.
And last, but hopefully not least, there’s my little personal blog. If you’re new here, I like to post my own writing advice from time to time to help other writers. Maybe you’ll pick up something useful or maybe you’ll swiftly add me to your Unbearable Asshole list. Either way, check out some of these writing-related writings:
One more piece of advice
All of those websites are great for beginner writers but….. My honest advice? Here are three things you need to do today:
- Buy a couple of books and start reading more.
- Grab a notebook or fire up Scrivener/Word/whatever and start writing.
- Buy a ticket to a destination you haven’t been to before. This could be to a far-away country or it could be just a few hundred miles across your own country. Just go somewhere different, savour the experience, collect and store the memory, then feed off it when it comes to write.
Good luck 🙂 Enjoy the journey.