If you’re a business writer, then you know that your job isn’t easy. In addition to constantly understanding and synthesizing other people’s complex ideas, which in itself is often no small feat, you also have to find a way to translate those ideas into clear, concise language that your readers will understand. Plus you need to ensure that your writing is engaging, accurate, and above all enjoyable to read. It’s a daunting challenge.
Fortunately, there are a variety of resources available that you can turn to make your job easier. Below we’ve compiled what we consider to be some of the best resources for writers, including style guides, guides to writing, and other related reference tools.
|William Strunk and E.B. White are two of the best-known names in writing. Their classic, The Elements of Style, is a go-to style guide that provides concise advice about how to write clear and correct English.
In it, Strunk and White provide guidance on everything from the most elementary rules of usage (such as the proper use of possessives, commas, and pronouns) to the principles of composition and commonly misused words and expressions. At a mere 105 pages, it’s a small book that packs a surprisingly big punch, and a must-have reference tool that writers need to have at their fingertips.
|Now in its sixteenth edition, The Chicago Manual of Style isn’t just a guide for writers, but for editors and publishers, as well, as it offers definitive advice on style and process. In addition to providing comprehensive guidance on all things grammar, it contains detailed information about the publishing process (including electronic publications such as web-based content and eBooks) and documentation.
Helpfully, the manual is now also available online for an annual subscription fee, giving users on-demand access to its great content with the added benefit of search capabilities to help you navigate its more than 1,000 pages of advice.
|Regular readers of the Acrolinx blog will recognize this next pick (we wrote a full review of it here), which is a modern supplement to the style guides cited above. Ann Handley’s new book Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content provides humorous, yet also extremely useful, advice for writers of all stripes.
Perhaps most valuable of all, the book outlines specific guidance on how to create the types of content that really matter to marketers, such as e-mails, landing pages, and infographics.
|Brought to you by the folks at Copyblogger, this guide to copywriting is all about using the right words to get people to take action. This free eBook provides a 10-step guide to effective copy-writing. It outlines a variety of topics, including how to write great headlines, how to structure persuasive copy, and copywriting tips to implement and mistakes to avoid.
Copyblogger also has a number of other related eBooks on topics such as writing compelling content for SEO that are worth checking out.
OTHER USEFUL REFERENCE TOOLS
5) Purdue OWL
|The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University is full of free writing resources and instructional materials that writers will find useful. What the site lacks in design aesthetic it makes up for in rich resources that include exercises that allow you to practice and develop your skills. It also contains a wealth of information that students and professional writers will find valuable.|
6) Grammar Girl
|Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, provides useful tips about some of the most common language mistakes that writers make, such as the difference between “affect” and “effect,” when to use “who” and when to use “whom,” or when to use a comma before the word “because.” With advice available in the form of articles and podcasts, Grammar Girl provides entertaining and useful tips on how to successfully navigate your way through a variety of grammatical hurdles.|
While there are many other resources available to writers, at Acrolinx we find the ones cited above to be particularly useful. If you’ve got some other favorite resources that we didn’t mention, tell us about them in the comments section below.