Free Online Creative Writing Resources

If you love to write, but aren’t a creative writing major, or if you are an English student, but you don’t have a workshop class this semester, it can be difficult to find time to write. Without the support of a teacher or your classmates, it can also be difficult to come up with new ideas, commit to writing regularly, or get helpful insight on your work. Luckily, there are a lot of free resources online for creative writers. Here are just a few: 

Poets & Writers: 

Poets & Writers is the resource for creative writers. They have tons of helpful articles, a magazine, podcasts, and directories of publications, university-level writing programs, reading venues, literary agents, presses, and more. There is so much stuff here, we can’t even describe it all; suffice it to say that if you’re a writer, P&W has something that will be beneficial to you, whether you’re looking for MFA programs, trying to get published, or just looking for inspiration. 

Association of Writers & Writing Programs: 

Not only does AWP put on the biggest conference in the Western literary world, their site is also a great resource for finding writing contests, other conferences, and writing programs. They have a monthly magazine, Writer’s Chronicle, and a regularly updated calendar of literary events, literary news section, and podcast series. 

New Pages 

Like Poets & Writers and AWP, New Pages is chock-full of writing resources from calls for submission, writing contests, writing programs, literary magazines to book reviews and literary links. They even have a guide to bookstores in the U.S. and Canada (a great resource for when you’re on a book tour—or just looking for a bookstore while on vacation)  

Writer’s Digest 

You may have already heard of Writer’s Digest, but if you follow the link above, you’ll have access to free downloads of helpful writing exercises and informative writing tips. Plus, you can check out the rest of the Writer’s Digest site (as we mentioned a few weeks ago in Creative Writing Blogs You Should be Following, they have some good blogs)! 

WKU’s Writing Center blog 

Our reputation is that of an academic writing resource, but we love creative writing too! Many of our consultants are creative writers, themselves. While not all of our content is specifically relating to creative writing, we do regularly post CW content, and content about writing in general that can be applied to creative as well as academic writing. 

Interested in creative writing resources or a consultation with a writing tutor on a creative piece? Visit the Writing Center today or set up an appointment online. We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays). 


Creative Writing Blogs You Should Be Following

If you enjoy creative writing, whether as your major, your passion, or a hobby, there are endless resources available to you online to help you with your creative writing practice. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, motivation, writing prompts, or publication advice, if you’re interested in creative writing, here are the blogs you should be following.

The Write Practice

This isn’t just a blog, it’s an entire site dedicated to the practice of creative writing with TONS of free resources: writing assessments, prompts, lessons, classes, tutorials, and of course, a blog with helpful content on a variety of writing situations.

The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn, creator of The Creative Penn, is a prolific fiction and nonfiction writer and as such has a wealth of knowledge on creative writing. Her blog includes numerous free resources as well, including e-books and video series.

Write to Done

Write to Done has great articles on CW topics, including publishing and marketing, an important but oft-ignored or neglected aspect of the writing process for creative writers.

Daily Writing Tips

It’s exactly what it sounds like: daily writing tips. From commonly misused words to formatting dialogue in fiction, Daily Writing Tips has tips on every writing subject imaginable.

The Writers’ Academy

The Writers’ Academy is created by Penguin Random House—one of the Big Five publishers. It has quality content on CW and lit topics, as well as fun stuff about libraries, bookstores, and other lit-related subjects.

Writer’s Digest

In addition to the Editor blogs, which are full of useful writing and publishing advice, Writer’s Digest has pretty much everything creative writers need, including writing prompts, forums, contests, guides, and other resources. Writer’s Digest also has webinars and classes (some free, some at a price).

WKU’s Writing Center blog:

We’re not ashamed of self-promotion. While not all of our content is specifically relating to creative writing, we do regularly post CW content, and content about writing in general that can be applied to creative as well as academic writing.

Interested in creative writing resources or a consultation with a writing tutor on a creative piece? Visit the Writing Center today or set up an appointment online. We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays).

Weekly Poetry Workshop Begins Thursday, 9/7! 

UPDATE: As of 9/21, the Writing Center’s poetry workshop will be held from 4–5 PM on Thursday in the Writing Center, CH 123.

Every week, the Writing Center will be holding a poetry writing workshop for interested students. Whether you’ve been writing poetry for years or you’re just interested in trying it out, this workshop is for you; it’s open to undergraduate and graduate students of any major or concentration.

The workshop will be held weekly on Tuesdays in Cherry Hall 026 from 1–2 PM, and will consist of poetry writing prompts, sharing written work, and craft discussion. The workshop will be led by Hunter Little, writing center tutor and MFA candidate in poetry. Participants are encouraged to bring their own work to the workshop to share and discuss.

This workshop continues the tradition started last year by MFA candidate Zane DeZeeuw. Previous students who attended the workshop found it to be a fun, positive experience with benefits for their poetry, and their writing in general. Adrian Sanders, senior Creative Writing undergrad was a regular attendee of the workshop last year, and plans to attend this year as well. “The poetry workshop was a great opportunity to write outside of a classroom setting and further explore poetic forms,” she says. “It also gave me the opportunity to meet other English majors that I may not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.”

Student-led workshops and writing groups, independent of the classroom can be beneficial, even if for academic rather than creative writing. These workshops can be formal groups—like the Writing Center’s poetry workshop—with defined meeting times and a designated facilitator, or they can be more casual, such as a few students from a class getting together occasionally to workshop papers.

Workshopping is one of many feedback systems writers and student writers can use to revise their work. It provides a different type of responses than teacher feedback, which can be directive (such as pointing errors to “fix” to improve the paper and grade), or writing tutor feedback, which is often developmental (focused on helping students develop and clarify their ideas in writing); peer workshop responses are all suggestions, which you are free to take or ignore. Additionally, workshopping allows you to read other writers’ works, improving your critical reading and editing skills, which are in turn helpful to your own writing.

Be sure to stop by the poetry workshop this week at 1 PM in CH026 for some thoughtful work in poetry. If you’re interested in learning more about student-led writing workshops, have suggestions for other writing center workshop offerings, or would like help starting your own workshop group, stop by the Writing Center and we’d be happy to help! We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays).

Let’s talk about grammar (or not)

By Abby Ponder

It’s a gloomy Wednesday, you’re drenched from hiking up the hill in the pouring rain, and you can feel your stress levels beginning to rise with each step you take. You have a test tomorrow, a paper due the day after that, and you don’t know when you’re going to have time for a lunch break–next Tuesday, maybe? You’re on your way into the writing center, paper clutched tightly in hand, and you just want this day to be over with.

You round the corner and walk into the room, located on the main floor of Cherry Hall, for the first time in your academic career. Perhaps you are a freshman still finding your way in this great big world of academia or perhaps you are a graduating senior who doesn’t really want to be here in the first place. (You won’t tell your tutors that, though, will you?) You cross over the threshold, taking in the round tables with multiple students filling them. You don’t think you can even differentiate who is helping whom. They’re all student, each and every one of them–like you.

“Can I help you?”

You turn your head and smile at the person sitting behind the reception desk. You think you might recognize her from one of your classes.

“Yes, I was wondering if I could meet with someone about my paper? I’ve heard this is where you go,” you say.

The girl smiles at you.

“You’ve got it,” she says. “The sign-in sheet is right behind you. Someone will be with you in a moment, if you want to have a seat.”

You nod, reaching for the pen and paper. You fill out the necessities–name, student identification number, time of day, and course title–and then take a seat on the couch beneath the white board. As you wait, you spend your time checking your phone and trying not to guess at which student you’ll be sharing your work with.

Writing is an extremely personal thing for you. You both love and loathe the process, and you can’t help but feel your cheeks flush and your heart beat erratically any time someone dares to look too closely at the words you’ve carefully placed on paper. Sometimes you’re extremely grateful that you don’t have to be present as your professors read your assignments–the red pen is bad enough. Sometimes there’s a little and sometimes there’s a lot, but either way it breaks your heart.

Sometimes, more often than not, you think, you can’t even bring yourself to read the tightly scrawled notes.

“Are you ready to get started?” you hear. Your head snaps up, eyes falling on the speaker.

You nod at this person who must be your tutor and follow her to one of the round tables in the corner of the room. You can’t help but note that you have a rather nice view out the window from where you’re now seated. The cherry blossoms are dancing in the wind, the skies beginning to cloud with another April shower. It’s almost calming in a way–the calm before the storm. You wish you hadn’t forgotten your umbrella, though.

“So, what can I help you with?” the tutor asks.

“Grammar,” you say immediately. Grammar has always been your weakness, the biggest drain on your confidence. If you could only make it go away, eschew all the rules, then you would be more than happy to. Unfortunately, your professors, it seems, disagree with that philosophy.

The girl sitting beside you nods, picking up a purple pen and uncapping it.

“Mhm,” she says. “What is your assignment about? What class is it for?”

You launch into your explanation of the assignment: what it is, whom it’s for, and all the problems you’ve been having with it. You don’t like your thesis at all, and you’re not feeling confident about the third paragraph, but you really like the way you bring out this one point in paragraph five.

You tell her all of this, watching a smile spread across her face.

“Okay,” she says. “Let’s start with that thesis statement then.”

The next half an hour passes by rather quickly. Together you read through your paper, catching errors and inaccuracies on occasion, but also finding strong textual analysis and well-written content. It’s not a perfect draft, but it doesn’t have to be: it is a first draft, after all.

When the minute hand eventually signals the conclusion of the session, you’re feeling good about your paper. There were some hiccups along the way–that’s life–but you leave feeling more confident about your paper than you did before you walked through the door a half hour ago.

Two weeks later finds you in the writing center again. This time, you work with a different tutor–one who is just as nice and helpful as your tutor before. For this paper, you don’t even have a draft written yet, just an idea that’s beginning to blossom in your head. You tell your tutor as much, and he nods encouragingly.

“We can work with that,” he says with a laugh.

Together your chart the trajectory of your paper, filling in a blank outline with your words and ideas. It’s more than just going through the motions, you think: it’s progress.

When you leave this appointment, you have another scheduled a few days down the line.

“Come back whenever you’re ready,” your tutor tells you. “We’re happy to look at another draft with you.”

And you do.

The Writing Center at WKU offers support for all students who are enrolled at the university. We offer services in two respective locations, Cherry Hall 123 and the Commons at Cravens Library, as well as online appointments for students attending WKU’s regional campuses or exclusively taking online courses.

Contrary to some misconceptions, the Writing Center isn’t simply an editing service. Instead, we work with students to help them improve their overall writing abilities, not just a singular paper. We’re there for you at any stage in the writing process, whether you’re brainstorming or looking at a final draft.

This post was originally published on June 9, 2015.

Creative writing

Many students may think that the Writing Center is just for academic papers, and that makes sense. We are part of a university, so we should focus on collegiate work, right?

Well, actually, much of collegiate work is creative, especially for students who are Creative Writing majors or minors. Stories and poems can just as difficult to write–if not more so–as essays and research papers. And it is even more difficult for most people to share their creative works than it is to share academic papers. Creative writing allows us to reveal very intimate parts of ourselves, and when we are unwilling to show those parts to others, it can become very arduous to get any kind of feedback.

But I am here to tell you, writers, that the Writing Center is here to help. A large majority of our tutors are/were Creative Writing majors and minors; we understand the struggles of writing creatively and we have experienced the fear of showing our most private thoughts to entire classrooms through our writing. Any of us would be happy to work with writers on a creative piece with the utmost respect and sensitivity. Plus, it would really be a refresher from our usual onslaught of essays and narratives.

We know how scary it is to have a creative piece reviewed, but we struggle with the same emotions about our creative writing. We love it, we hate it, we swear never to show it to anyone. But getting feedback from an audience is the most effective way to become a better writer. And when your writing is successful, anything is possible. Who knows–maybe you’ll even get a book deal.

So bring in your short stories and your long stories, your poems and your flash fictions, your memoirs and your novels. Let us take a look at your creative writing and help you make it great. We won’t judge, and we won’t laugh (unless it’s a comedy; then, we’ll laugh unreservedly). But we will help, and maybe even give you the confidence you’ve been missing.

All the best in your creative endeavors!


This post was originally published on October 11, 2013