Let’s face it. When it comes to your writing, there is always something to be learned, and there is always room to grow. It’s nice to buy craft books and go on writing retreats and take writing classes, but you might not have the resources to do these things. Have no fear! There are tons of ways you can work on your writing for little to no money.
1. Use the library. This may seem a little old school, but there are tons of books about writing and improving your craft for you to check out at the library, and guess what? They’re free! Most of them even have e-books available in many cases so you might not even have to get up and put pants on!
2. Join writing groups online. There are a ton of places online where writers can come together and share stories. I’ve been a member of a group for Young Adult writers for about six months now, and they are so, so helpful to me in my writing and publishing journey. There are groups you can join on Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Yahoo Groups, and more! Have a look around.
3. Join writing groups in person. Check Meetup.com or your local newspaper to find listings of writing groups meeting near you. Most of their events tend to be free or cheap, and you will meet a lot of really cool, like-minded people. No writing group near you? Why not start one?
4. Submit your work. You will never improve your writing if you don’t get it out into the world. Submiting your work to publications, agents, and contests is a great thing to do. Not only do you make it more possible to get published, but you also may get some valuable feedback. There are many opportunities that do require entry fees. However, there are just as many that don’t. You can find more opportunities and calls for submissions on groups like this.
5. Take a free writing class. There are many universities and other organizations that offer free writing classes and workshops. Check your local listings to see if there are any near you or check out this list of online courses: 10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online or 19 Free Online Courses to Improve Your Writing Skills .
6. Check out self-published and independently published e-books about writing for low prices or free. Many of the self-published or independently published e-books on Amazon will have free specials. If not free, you can find many, many titles for $0.99 to $2.99. Make sure you read the reviews and preview the book to see if it’s right for you. (Shameless self-promotion: The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Begin or Enhance Your Daily Writing Habit is only $2.99!)
7. Follow writing blogs and join writing mailing lists. You’re already here reading this writing blog so good job! You’ve already completed this step! There are tons of other great writing blogs out there (check out the Creative Writing Now blog, Morgen Bailey’s writing blog, or Kim’s craft blog to get started) to explore. There are also many great writing and literature related mailing lists you can join (Clarity Works Online has a great mailing list of writing prompts or get a great poem in your inbox every day from the Academy of American Poets). (I will also be starting a new writing tips mailing list in the next month. More details on that soon!)
8. Use the many, many resources available to you online. There are so many writing resources online, it’s not even funny. You can find writing tip videos or interviews with your favorite writers on YouTube. You can search posts that are tagged with “writing tips” on Tumblr. You can find writing-related boards on Pinterest. You can search the hashtag #writing on Twitter and find links to tons of informative blog posts. You can search #writing on Google+ to find thought-provoking posts. You can find great podcasts about writing and literature on iTunes. Or you can just go to the old-fashioned search engine and look for writing exercises, writing prompts, etc.
8. WRITE. This may seem a little obvious. All of the above stuff is great to do, and you can certainly learn a lot about writing that way. But the hands down best way to improve as a writer is to WRITE. Make it a daily habit. Even if you can only write for 15 minutes every day, it will definitely be better than not writing at all. Writing is a skill, and you absolutely have to practice as often as possible to hone your skills.