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What you find helpful, inspiring or informative can be a very subjective business, but not knowing where to go when you're confronted by a writing roadblock is a universally frustrating experience. With that in mind, here are 23 must-read blogs and sites gathered from my own bookmarks, the brains of others and the cream of the Google search crop. Enjoy.
It's simple enough to find blogs to read, but it's altogether harder to find good blogs that are actually worth subscribing to. You need to do your research, sift through the rants and the op-eds to get to the good stuff. And what's most popular isn't always what's best.
Here are a few recommendations:
News and current affairs
1. Google. Let's start with the obvious. Need to learn about a new topic? Stuck on a grammar conundrum? Simply need a break and fancy a trawl through what's out there? Google it, find out and be inspired.
2. BBC News. It doesn't matter what you are writing, you need to know what is going on in the world, otherwise how can you talk to the people living in it. Spot trends in most shared, find out something new and let things catch your attention.
3. The New York Times. The reasons behind this one are twofold. Firstly you can learn about the world from another perspective: remember that your online readers could live anywhere in the world, so it's worth knowing what's happening where they are. Secondly, the quality of writing in the New York Times is wonderful. Read, analyse, write better.
4. The New Yorker. If you're looking to make your writing truly outstanding, this is a no-brainer.
5. Fast Company. Technology, design, innovation and business. The articles are well written and the topics so diverse they could send you writing in all sorts of directions.
6. Daily Writing Tips. This is for the technical side of writing. Learn about misplaced modifiers and fragmentary sentences and put your words together well.
7. Jeff Goins Writer. About writing, by a writer, this blog has been featured in the Top Ten Blogs for Writers for the last two years.
8. Write to Done. Good quality, informative articles about writing, and the site that decides on the Top Ten Blogs for Writers!
9. Copyblogger. A blog dedicated to copywriting: tips, tricks and information all about creating compelling and effective content.
10. Write for your life. Practical tips for writing and productivity. I particularly like 'The heart, mind and murder test for writers'.
11. Content Marketing Institute. When it comes to content marketing, these guys (as their name suggests) are in the big leagues. Their blog is full of practical, applicable advice for budding copywriters.
12. Letters of Note. A fascinating glimpse into words with personal intent. This site scribes and scans genuine letters, notes, telegrams, etc. that are, as they say, 'deserving of a wider audience'.
13. Positive Writer. Another one that appears on the Top Ten Blogs for Writers. Practical and motivating posts from a writer that hopes to encourage his readers.
14. Book Riot. About books, about reading. Any good writer will be a dedicated reader, so why wouldn't I recommend a site that is 'Always books. Never boring.
15. Amazon. Speaking of books, the best thing a writer can do is read as much as possible about as many things as possible. Walk to Waterstone's or your local independent book shop and peruse the shelves. Occasionally click and consume on Amazon. However you consume, just make sure you are always surrounded by books.
16. Brain Pickings. In the words of a fellow wordsmith, this site is 'just amazing!' A site that describes itself as 'a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness'.
17. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. I'm sure you will have come across these, but go back to them. They're full of new and exciting ideas presented by people who really believe in them. It's a chance to give your eyes a break from reading!
18. Design Sponge. A total break from words this time. It's surprising how a stunning image or a beautiful object can lead you to produce wonderfully-crafted writing.
19. The Articulate blog. A great site full of tips and thoughts on writing, marketing and technology - but then, you already knew that, didn't you?
20. Twitter. Yes, I went there. Some say Twitter is phenomenal, others say it is just a shameless stream of self-promotion. Well, it all depends on how you use it and who you follow. I find all sorts of interesting articles, sites, people and facts through Twitter. Follow writers (@alaindebotton @ashleigh_young), magazines (@TheAtlantic @PublishersWkly), funny people (@thewritertype @TheDailyShow) and anything else that takes your fancy (@thefworduk @beanandground). You cannot write when you are bored so, get distracted and get excited.
21. Instagram. If you're looking for a writing community, Instagram might be the place to find it. Countless bloggers have a strong presence on the platform, making it a great place to connect with fellow wordsmiths.
22. Social Triggers. Looking at content marketing through the lens of psychological impulses. If you want to write things people will read, it's worth taking a moment to think about what makes people tick.
23. Social Media Today. You want people to read what you've written, don't you? Social Media Today's site is full of advice and industry know-how to help you get the word out.
Top tip: if you want to learn how to start a blog of your very own, take these blogs as inspiration and let your creativity fly TODAY, not tomorrow.
[This content was updated in September 2019]